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Get You Head Out of the Sand

We often become so disconnected that we forget about those things that are truly important. We make assumptions that we know what is best for other people. These assumptions are usually based on personal experiences. It is rarely the case that many of the people who are making the decisions for others have talked directly to those people or understand their plight.

It is hard for someone to understand what it is like to be a homeless veteran if they have never lived on the streets or are going home to a house with a gate around it in a secure neighborhood. They cannot imagine what it is like to be afraid to go to sleep because someone may take all their belongings. They do not understand what it is like to sleep outside when it is raining, and the temperature is dropping. They have never had to coverup with a cardboard box or put Walmart bags on their feet to try to keep them warm and dry.

It is hard for someone to understand how a single parent struggles with feeding their children because there is no money, if they have their meals delivered. They have never had to explain to their child that one package of noodles is all they have left and that they are sorry that they must eat that again. They have never had to be the one who gets scared when school is going to be out for the summer or when the schools closed due to COVID because their children would not have another hot meal.

It is hard for someone, who has never served in the military or loved someone who has, to even begin to imagine what living with PTSD is like. They cannot begin to try to close their eyes and see death or hear fireworks and go back to a time and place that reminds them of mortar fire and their buddies being blown up. When one of their friends or colleagues die their bodies are taken to the Capitol to lay in State while when a service member dies their body is brought home in the back of a plane. When a politician dies the flags are lowered to half staff. When a Veteran dies their family is handed a flag. It is hard for them to see the reality of 22 veterans committing suicide because it is not 22 of their fellow co-workers.

It is hard for them to understand that good and effective counseling is not available when their shrink is on speed dial. It is hard for them to comprehend what it is like to watch your family member need and reach out for help only to have to wait weeks or months for mental health services, because they can get an appointment in hours.

It is hard for them to understand that affordable healthcare may be affordable to them on their six figure a year income, when most working families are barely above the poverty level. It is impossible to comprehend what it is like to have to put off live saving medical treatment or not be able to get it at all because some people require a specialist and cannot see one because ACA does not cover it, when they have the best insurance in the world.

It is hard for them to understand that the real problems with guns are not the guns themselves but the people who use them because they have never been put in the situation where they have had to defend themselves.

It is hard for them to understand that the burn pits and agent orange were real. They were toxins that the “enemy” used against our troops. It is hard for them to understand that there even was an enemy because they were not real wars. The smoke from the burn pits was only on TV and looked like fires. They were fires, fires that were filled with toxic chemicals that may have caused a little irritation and watery eyes initially, but today are causing “unexplained” health problems. They just do not understand.

It is so easy to look at numbers and make them say what you want them to say. It is easy to look at numbers to make decisions because they are just numbers on a piece of paper. The numbers have no names. The numbers have no faces. The numbers are not their family. The numbers are just numbers.

The truth is the numbers are real. They do have faces. They are the faces of our veterans. The ones that signed up to protect their freedom. The ones who lost so much so that those who do not understand can run for office. The numbers are the faces of American’s who are homeless and living on the street. The ones you do not see because you do not look for them or you turn your head. The numbers are the children in this country who go to bed hungry because feeding someone else in a far-off land is more important and you do not have to hear your child cry. The numbers are the faces of the countless number of Americans who cannot get the healthcare they deserve. They are someone’s child, someone’s spouse or someone’s parent.

To truly understand maybe you should take a fieldtrip. Maybe instead of having dinner with benefactors who pay hundreds or thousands of dollars a plate, you should take that money and buy food for those who cannot afford it. Maybe instead of using your health insurance you should try to use the health insurance that you voted on for the American people to use. You know that insurance that has deductibles in the thousands of dollars that do not cover specialist. Maybe you should give up your appointment with your therapist and let a Veteran, who has not had a good night’s sleep in years due to the nightmares that haunt them take your place. Maybe instead of pointing fingers at the members of the other party you should sit down and talk to the people you represent. Maybe you should listen to what they have to say. I assure you that they do not care what your party affiliation is. They care about making sure that they have food, medical care that they can actually use and afford, a roof over their head, the right to own a gun to protect themselves and their family, a little dignity and respect. Maybe then and only then will you come up with a platform that represents America, you know the one that has always believed "United We Stand, Divided We Fall".


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