Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans' Day 2013

Today being Veterans' Day, I have to note that there is some good news in New York State for veterans- a measure was passed giving additional credits on civil service exams to disabled veterans. On a downer of a note, the unemployment rate among veterans is all too high. On another horrid note, military survivors of sexual assault often find trouble when they seek disability benefits while a bill which would reform the handling of sexual assaults in the military may face a filibuster.

In the midst of all the parades, platitudes and pablum offered up on Veterans' Day, it must be remembered that veterans face many challenges, while their needs aren't met. The veterans aren't cartoon heroes or cardboard cutouts to be trundled out for photo ops- they are parents, spouses, siblings, children... humans who face genuine problems which are being ignored by those who should be serving them. It's time for this callous attitude to change.

How about a melancholy song about a disabled Irish veteran of the English war of imperialism in Ceylon? You'll recognize the tune of the song, which was "repurposed" into a triumphant Union fight song during the American Civil War:

Perhaps the best known version of the song was that performed by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem... here's a version of it introduced by an American narrator who just doesn't get the point of the song:


mikey said...

Yeah, I suppose. But there is certainly another way to look at it. Veterans, both diabled and fully abled, get better treatment and better benefits than any of their peers who didn't join up. It's hard for me to work up a good give-a-fuck for veterans when they have all these organizations, services, benefits and programs while their civilian counterparts, the working poor, single moms, people of color, mentally disabled, convicted felons and so many others are left utterly on their own. It doesn't speak well of us as a people that whatever meager help we're willing to offer it's to our praetorian class, those who we were able to bamboozle into acting as the cannon fodder for a dwindling, desperate empire.

Should we take care of them? Yeah, but primarily by using them much more judiciously, not throwing them into every tiny, pointless rat-hole for opaque political and economic reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with defending our national interests.

We should do away completely with the distinction - we're the richest fucking nation in the history of history - if an American needs help with food, or education, or health care, it should just fucking be available to them.

Here's to a future with fewer veterans...

OBS said...

Here's to a future with fewer veterans...

I'll drink to that.

I didn't know the history of the song -- I loved the first version of it above, and also loved the Dropkick Murphy's version that was suggested after that one finished.