The Cost of Playing Politics

The Cost of Playing Politics

An open letter to the leaders and lawmakers of this land:

Rumor has it that those who serve in our military will continue to work if the government shuts down at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, but they won’t be paid.  Apparently all “nonessential” government employees will be sent home until Congress passes the budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2011.

So, are the jobs which our military personnel perform essential or nonessential?  If the troops aren’t going to get paid, I will translate that as “nonessential” work.

If military jobs are considered “nonessential”, and our deployed troops are not going to get paid, doesn’t that mean we need to bring them home now?

There is only one answer to that question and I don’t think I need to spell it out for you.

There was a time when I bought into the idea that the good old USA was the strongest nation in the world.  I bought into the idea that, as the mightiest force, we could go into other countries to eliminate the bad guys and bring peace and good will to mankind.

I bought into the package with pride when my 17 year old son joined the United States Marine Corps and went on to serve three combat tours.  I held my head high because my son was willing to sacrifice his life for the rest of us.  I was proud to be a part of the nation that eliminated evil and restored the poor and less fortunate.

But that was a long time ago.

Now I sit amidst the cold, hard truth where many of my friends have buried their sons and daughters.  Thousands of our troops have made the ultimate sacrifice and left their families with a gaping hole that can never be filled.

The number of wounded is at least ten times higher, and our hospitals are filled with many who will live a drastically different quality of life because they willingly signed up to serve our nation.

Tens of thousands more suffer with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.    Do you have even the slightest idea what it is like for these poor souls and their family members to make it through each day?  And what about the hundreds of families who wake up to the fact that their warrior committed suicide because it was the only way to escape the reality of life after combat?

Have you heard about the difficulties our veterans have when it comes to getting health care?  There are simply not enough employees at the VA to handle the number of disabled veterans who need care.

Have you heard about the epidemic of homelessness amongst our veterans?

Take a look around you.  The magnitude of these problems is being caused by work that is now considered “nonessential”.  I don’t know how you feel about it, but I’m angry.  I can’t bear to think of all the families down on their knees right now begging God to bring their soldier home safely from a deployment which is “nonessential”.

I can’t bear to think of the lives lost to another “nonessential” war on more “nonessential” soil.

I can’t bear to think of the families that are falling apart because their veteran has returned from “nonessential” combat shattered physically and mentally.

It’s time for us to take care of what IS essential.  You can find all that is vital right here in our own backyards.  We need to take care of our own and let everybody else take care of their own.  We don’t need to spend $8 billion a day, and sacrifice a generation of families, for “nonessential” and ungrateful people who will never change their ways.

I don’t care why we first entered into any of this.  I don’t care who is at fault.  I could care less about weapons of mass destruction and whether or not they ever existed. The past is gone and there is nothing we can do to change it.  I’m tired of everyone pointing fingers of blame and doing nothing to make a difference for our future which is right before us.

To each of you whom we have elected to represent us, you need to listen to WE THE PEOPLE!

Bring our troops home now so they can do work that is essential.  They need to be here protecting US, not over there protecting the other guys.  For anyone who votes to keep these wars going, you need to be willing to pay the same price that many of us have already paid.

I have given one son.  What have you given?

Originally published on 


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