Don’t let veterans’ issues fade into background after election
November 8, 2016
The presidential election, which took place later than usual this year, has dominated a week that is normally spent honoring the men and women who have served in the country's Armed Forces.
Friday is Veterans Day and they deserve our full attention.
As of this writing, the results of the presidential race and many key U.S. Senate and House contests are still unknown. That uncertainty has enormous implications for soldiers who have already served, and those who will serve in the future.
Both political parties included veterans' issues in their platforms and worked mightily to earn their votes. As they traveled the country shaking hands and kissing babies, they heard from veterans who have waited months to see health care specialists, and from families struggling to cope with lost income and daunting medical bills.
In response, the candidates have universally railed against the declining state of the Veterans Health Administration that has failed to keep pace with the growing number of patients in need of treatment for both physical and mental injuries.
But once the politicians' offices are secured, will they continue to push for adequate funding? It takes legislation, funding and follow through to ensure the promises they made were not just lip service.
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The vitriolic campaign rhetoric of this election, which has shaken our democratic system to its roots must also be deeply troubling to those who have served in the military. The divisiveness and the accusations of ineptitude revealed through the email leaks have probably made them wonder whether their patriotism has been misplaced, whether the lives lost were in vain.
This Veterans Day, our country needs to do some serious soul searching. We can start by pledging to live up to the ideals our soldiers fought for, then keeping our promises to care for them when they return.