HAS THE COUNTRY TURNED THE PAGE ON THE SCANDAL AT THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS?
The Veterans Affairs debacle has already slipped from the front page, having been replaced by yet another scandal.
Still, the VA leaves thousands of wounded, infirmed, and dying veterans to languish on long waiting lists. Waiting for the fulfillment of yet another promise delayed. The promise made to the young and the naïve enlistees years ago, and that has come back to disappoint them.
A nation’s anger, outrage, and memory do not extend beyond the lead story on TV or the front page. We have an insatiable appetite for the crisis of the day, but are quick to forget yesterday’s news.
“Leave no man behind,” is the current mantra that excites and gets our swift and undivided attention; yet efforts to relieve the veterans’ health care crisis moves ever so slowly.
Mainstream media controls the focus of our thoughts. Media deflects our attention from one newsworthy item to another, forcing us to prioritize. The extent of deceit and deception experienced by those veterans who, unquestionably, served with honor and distinction, may also be forgotten.
Already forgotten is our outrage about the girls of Chibok; our obligatory outrage shared with Richard Martinez has faded. The shooting in Seattle has been forgotten, replaced today by another school shooting in Oregon. That too will soon be replaced by yet another sensationalized senseless act. Acts that have become part of the fabric that weaves seamlessly into entertainment.
As soon as we hear about another atrocious act we react much as a child reacts to the bell of the ice cream truck. We run to embrace it. Gather in as many of the tiny details as we can so that we may engage in the conversation. To be the first to impress; to express an authoritative, uninformed opinion as to the cause, effect, and remedy for everything evil.
Congressional fact-finding committees are an exercise in redundancy. Many have known about the failures in the VA for years. It only took the effort and courage of one man to bring the truth to the forefront; Dr. Samuel Foote.
Now, veterans must remain involved, informed, and continue to put pressure on those that can make a difference and are committed to doing so.
Evidence is surfacing that the service organizations have done little more than further their own objectives, maintain the current condition, and resist or delay any change.
Watching the news, the Veterans Affairs scandal is no longer the top story. It has been replaced by the health concerns of one service member with questionable credentials and, sadly, the deaths in an Oregon school while the VA continues to mismanage and delay the health care of thousands of veterans.
The VA has demonstrated that it is incapable of self-governing. It will only change through unrelenting efforts of the veterans themselves and independent, critical oversight.
It will change with the persistence of veterans willing to keep it from being just a faded memory.
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