We have failed our heroes

Today is Memorial, or Decoration Day, a day of pause begun decades ago for decorating the graves of Civil War soldiers.

The long weekend is now dominated by stores holding big sales, high school graduations, blockbuster movie openings, and the unofficial beginning of summer. 

Today media outlets will provide us with beautiful photos of thousands of small flags doting the graves of the heroes buried in Arlington. The President will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown and make some remarks. Local television will update viewers on local ceremonies at 6:00 and 11:00 tonight. 

Before the day ends, our country will have 22 more veterans to mourn, soldiers whose lives where cut short due to their willingness to serve in our armed forces. 

The United States spends billions on waging wars with no exit strategies. Our fighting forces are built on the backs of the poor, officers who tolerate sexual assault and intimidation, and military families who can’t afford to feed their children without food stamps. 

Even worse, when our soldiers return, we fail to provide them with the services they need and deserve. 

Our failure as a country is why 22 veterans will kill themselves before Memorial Day comes to an end. Twenty-two brave volunteers who came forward, and survived, will reach their breaking point today and succeed in ending their pain and agony. Twenty-two families, made up of parents, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters, will begin preparations to bury their soldier.

Because there are war injuries we can’t see with our eyes, we fail to see them with our hearts.

Move over Broun, Price, and Gingrey

The loudest Republican members of the Georgia Congressional Delegation have managed to make our state the laughing-stock with jewels that have included:

  • Paul Broun, MD (Medical College of Georgia) saying to the Baptist Church Sportsman Group over dinner last September, “All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is just lies straight from the pit of Hell.”
  • Phil Gingrey, MD (Medical College of Georgia) defended former Senator Todd Akin
    (R-Missouri) after Akin said that pregnancies only result from “legitimate” rapes. Even Scientific American had to weigh in on exactly how wrong Gingrey’s medical information is.
  • Tom Price, MD (University of Michigan) said in regards to making birth control accessible for low-income women through Obamacare, which he opposes, that he isn’t aware of one woman who can’t afford birth control. Price said, “Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one.” (Price voted to defund Planned Parenthood and eliminate funding for contraceptive three times in 2011. )

And now, Senator Saxby Chambliss, who has decided not to run for a third term in the Senate, showed his true colors on the crime of rape in the military forces during a hearing earlier this week. According to a report issued by the Pentagon, three rapes occur every hour across our military forces. Every hour. Every day. 24/7. The Enemy Within is an eye-opening article on the expanse of rape culture within our armed forces.

Chambliss wants to explain away the criminals who rape by saying the problem is due to a “hormone level created by nature.”

That’s like telling a child things happen “just because.”

Rape occurs for all kinds of reasons, but none of them are acceptable, and all the men who carry out these crimes of violence are criminals. Rape is rape. Plain and simple. It is a crime whether it happens on our streets, in office buildings, parking lots, a woman’s home (Saying No to your husband is ok. Marriage isn’t a license to have sex when your spouse says No. It is called spousal rape, and it is a crime), and in our armed forces.

Chambliss also said, “We’re not doing our job” in regards to military rape. That’s obvious. Attributing the fact that three violent crimes of rape occur every hour in our armed forces as the result of “hormones” is not going to adequately address this problem.

A culture change, among both our civilian and military communities, is required to reduce these stunning crime rates. Suggesting that testosterone pollution is the cause is not going to solve the problem.

And in doing so, Chambliss insults and minimizes every victim of rape.

Rural and Progressive

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