Monday, May 12, 2014

"American Exceptionalism!"

“American Exceptionalism!”

You are no doubt familiar with this phrase. It is a phrase that we use frequently to make us feel good about ourselves. We use it when we talk about our society, our way of life, our entrepreneurial spirit. We use it when we talk about our freedoms, our rights and our historic achievements.

Sometimes we use it in reference to aspects of our society that in reality are not quite so exceptional…like our education, our health care, our legal system, our economic inequality and our exalted status as the world’s lone superpower.

“American Exceptionalism!” We are Americans and therefore we ARE exceptional.

If we are in fact an “exceptional” nation one would think that we would look out for those who allow us to live our exceptional lives in peace. We are referring to the American military.

There are those who feel that we spend too much time and effort “glorifying” members of the armed forces. It is true that in a country without conscription these men and women volunteered to serve. They knew what they were signing up for. Nobody made them do it. There is a great deal of truth to that point of view.

It is also true that they volunteered to do something that most of us do not have the courage to do…risk their lives for their fellowman. They are in fact the only thing standing between our ability to live our “exceptional” lives in peace and a regular replay of the horrors of 9/11. Whether or not they deserve the reverence that we send their way is subject matter for another rant. What they most certainly deserve is the care and benefits they were promised when they signed up.

There are new reports that the VA continues to fail to provide military veterans the care they were promised. Reports out of a VA hospital in Cheyenne, Wyoming tell the story of systematic efforts being undertaken to conceal the fact that military personnel have to wait 3-6 months to receive care.

A veteran seeking a medical appointment is supposed to be seen within a 14 day window. Schedulers in Cheyenne report that they are being taught by their supervisors how to adjust the records to make it appear that veterans are being seen on a timely basis when in fact it takes 3-6 months to get in to see a doctor. This report comes on the heels of a scandal at the Phoenix VA where as many as 40 veterans have died while waiting for the care they were promised

There is a systemic failure on the part of the VA to care for returning veterans. It seems like every six months we hear reports of another scandal within the VA. People will cry out in outrage...congress will hold hearings…and nothing will be done.

“American Exceptionalism.!”

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