If you are a regular reader of this space you know that I do not like to write in the first person. There are a number of reasons for this quirk; one being that writing in the third person helps me to keep my personal feelings and emotions from interfering with the facts.
Today I will make an exception.
Today I witnessed American politics at its very worst.
Honor Flight is a non-profit organization “created solely to honor America’s veterans for all of their sacrifices.” Honor Flight transports veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials that were dedicated to their service.
Today Honor Flight brought several bus loads of WW II veterans to DC to visit the WWII Memorial. When they arrived the found the entrance barricaded; closed as a result of the government shutdown.
Never fear…the Tea Party Republicans came to the rescue.
Republican Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, along with Republican Representatives, Michelle Bachman, Louie Ghomert, Steve King and a handful of their colleagues, showed up…with TV cameras in tow…and removed the barriers, allowing the veterans to tour the magnificent memorial that had been dedicated in their honor. It was a truly moving scene as these octogenarians, many aided by walking canes and wheelchairs, openly wept as they reflected on those difficult days of the past. Afterward the congressmen shook hands and posed for photos with our nation’s heroes. Ms. Bachman was seen bussing several of the blushing G.I.s on the cheek.
Representative Bachman then took the opportunity to berate the president for shutting down the government and depriving the veterans of the opportunity to visit the memorial. Chairman Priebus, proudly waving a check, announced that the Republican National Committee had raised enough money to pay for security guards to patrol the memorial and assure that it would remain open in the future.
This makes me sick!
Today the self proclaimed “Tea Party Patriots” shamelessly used the country’s true patriots as a political prop!
I wonder if any of these gentlemen knew that the very politicians who were shaking their hands and bussing their cheeks were the same politicians that had voted time and time and time again to cut veterans health benefits, job programs, and education assistance initiatives.
I wonder if any of these gentlemen knew that these very same politicians were the ones who refused to fund the government… which caused the shutdown…which caused the memorial to be closed.
I wonder if any of these gentlemen knew that the woman kissing their cheek when asked earlier how she felt about the shutdown said: “I’m happy! We are finally right where we want to be.”
If these “Tea Party Patriots” really cared about these veterans they could have opened the memorial without all the fanfare…without the TV cameras…without all the political gamesmanship. But they didn’t show up here with a TV crew because they believed it was the right thing to do. They did it to gain a political advantage…and they used these selfless gentlemen as window dressing.
Words cannot describe how truly vile I find this despicable, shameful act.
Bachman and her crew owe these veterans an apology.