Monthly Archives: May 2014

VETERANS AND PATRIOTS

I was ever in Vietnam.  I was never in the military.  I also never choose to be a veteran’s counselor.  It chose me.  When time came for me to sign up for the draft they told me to go back to college because they were not taking anyone any more.  Later when I was going to sign up for Air Force Psych-ops I was told by a Lt Colonel friend of mine that unless I had everything the recruiter was saying—in writing—that I needed to run and not walk the other direction.  My ability in psychology would be such a threat to those of higher rank and lesser ability.  My father was a Master Stg in World War II with the Army Air Corp and served on Iwo Jima and Guam.  My brother was Special Forces Air Force in Vietnam and was a para rescue.  I have many cousins on the Wall.  My career chose me as a counselor. 

I really get offended by those who say:  you weren’t there you cannot know.  I had one of my Green Berets tell me:  Doc, I don’t care what you say you have been to Nam a hundred times through the eyes of your men.  For some reason I seemed to specialize in veterans from Vietnam.  I had all branches and all sort of trauma.  As a counselor you don’t just share in the experiences of one person but of many.  You walk in the shoes temporarily of the grunt wondering which was going to get him first, the jungle or the enemy.  You experience the terror of the REMF (Rear Echelon Mother F*****) who was supposed to be issued a typewriter and is now being given an antiquated rifle because the Tet Offensive has begun and he is about to fill his drawers. 

Then you get the joy of standing the gap between that veteran and the government as the Department of Veteran Affairs says that since that was not the veteran MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) that what he says happened really did not happen and he therefore is not entitled to benefits.  Or you have a veteran who had a very colorful duty list while in the service and all his records are blacked out and, therefore, records do not exist and benefits are either denied or take years. 

I have found that those who want to hold the opinion:  you weren’t there you cannot know; are invested in their identity as the ‘messed up Nam vet’ and is not open to options.  To those who say that a person who never was in combat cannot have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder I would introduce them to my Technicolor dreams, the ones prior to the present medications.  I would love to share my sleep patterns, the ones with the help of chemicals.  It is possible to care and not have been there.  Vietnam had so many different wars going on within that one war.  It all depended upon when the person served and where and what branch.  Those who were in during the 60’s had a totally different war than those who were in during the 70’s.  An Airman on the flight line had a totally different experience than someone in the jungle.  Neither would trade the other places.  But they all had different experiences. 

Unfortunately, for me I carried my client’s stories.  They were not clients, they were friends.  They were fellow Americans.   Every death they experiences was added to the deaths that the previous person had that I saw.  By the end of the day I tried to place all the death and horror into little boxes and fastened down the lid.  Unfortunately the lids began to leak and all the ooze of each story and account cam over the top of the box.  For those who say I cannot experience Vietnam because I never went to boot camp I say to trade me places. 

I believe it is possible to be a veteran without have a particular branch of service and or not having gone through boot camp.  A veteran is someone who is willing to carry the scars of those in the service and who has signed a check to their country with the amount left open.  I also feel unworthy to have served such an honorable group of people. 

I cannot get things out of my mind.  The images are there permanently.  But I carry them with pride knowing those who served.  Many of them died in their service.  There are some careers that call us.  We do not select them.  We are chosen by some force greater than ourselves because for some reason we are found worthy;  Worthy because we are willing to stand the gap and fight for what is right; Worthy because we care enough to bleed internally or externally; Worthy because we are willing to take the verbal abuse from those who do not understand. 

A veteran or a Patriot is not a status, it is a heart.  The mother or father who walked their son or daughter to the bus that was going to take them to their point of induction or off to boot, not knowing if they would ever see them again, are Patriots.  They signed the bottom of that check with the amount left open. 

AMERICA AND ITS VETERANS

When I was in private practice I thought it was awful when I heard that a survivor of the Bataan Death March FINALLY got his purple heart.  Keep in mind that I was in private practice around 2005.  Now I was reading where a World War II vet finally received his benefits from the VA.  I have heard of things taking time but this is ridiculous.  I know that there are some who receive excellent service from the VA.  I also know that there are some who work for the VA who are wonderful and provide high quality service to our veterans.  I also know that there are those who are idiots.  I do not know why it takes so long for our service men and women to get their benefits.  I have personally worked with hundreds of veterans during the course of my career as a professional counselor.  I have helped many get their benefits.  I have also watched as year after year ticked by and all the veteran received was more paperwork.  One gentleman died before the VA ever got around to recognizing his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a case that was over 10 years in filing.  It took them over 5 years to accept that he was in Vietnam. 

I am from a family with a very long military history. My people do as far back in this country as the American Revolution and then back to the Magna Carta in England.  So we have been standing out ground for right for centuries.  But I am at the place where I no longer encourage young men and women to enter the military.  This change is not because of any change in love for my country, it is a change in how I see my country treat its veterans.  I see our country use and abuse and then abandon our military.  It is hard to believe that people are sent into combat zones without weapon or ammunitions.  But this happens routinely.  It is also hard to imaging people expecting our military to ‘zero’ their weapon, or to have no round nor magazine in their weapon in areas due to political correctness.  You would have thought that our government would have learned from Vietnam that you cannot have a war ran from D.C. 

This is one issue that can really get my blood to boil if permitted because our service men and women deserve better.  When our people sign up to defend this country there needs to be a reason where there is a threat to the country before they are sent out to fight.  Likewise, they need to be given the tools and permission to do their jobs.  Then if they are harmed in doing their jobs they need to be compensated for that harm. 

Post-traumatic stress is more than just emotions.  I was appalled when I read where our service men and women were being sent into combat with Prozac.  This show such a ignorance to PTSD by those our young people are supposed to follow.  As a therapist I did not have one female who was not sexually assaulted by their own fellow soldiers.  I also had a number of men who had been sexually assaulted by their superiors.  It is my understanding that the government made the statement that sexual assault in the military is a ‘occupational hazard’.  Then when a some of those men went to file for benefits for being assaulted so much of their papers were blacked out.  I also found that many of those who had more than ‘interesting’ duties also had much of their papers blacked out then they filed for benefits.  Is this how little we care about our veterans?  Use, abuse and abandon seems to be the call of the day.  Personally, I dare our fat butt (see I’m trying to be nice) stupid Congress people to get off out of their overstuffed chairs and take their overstuffed butts and put on a uniform.  I would even be glad if they would go into the same places our young men and women live on a daily basis and leave their high priced security guards behind and live like our service people with the same fears and hope to live through the night. 

My Forefathers are embarrassed at our country.  I am embarrassed at our country.  I love my country but I am embarrassed as to what our trusted leaders have done to it.  May God have mercy on America…I doubt that our leaders will. 

WHEN I WAS A PUP

Things are a bit different from when I was a pup.  I remember the worst thing that could happen was that if you were out after curfew and the police brought you home.  I could easily bemoan the days of yore and think back upon all the good things that once were and all the reasons things are the way they are presently.  I could rant on all the things that has been changed and why the changes are the results of the world going to Hell in a hand basket. But that actually accomplishes nothing.  I prefer not to waste my time on the things I cannot change.  Ten minutes watching the news would be enough for anyone to see that there are things happening on a daily basis that would not have been permitted when I was young.  I regularly carry a concealed weapon.  It used to be that people asked me why I carried.  Now the question is rather why they do not carry a weapon.  In Florida scores of young people were arrested not for being rowdy on a beach but because they were walking, rather actually marching, down a main street jumping on cars and terrorizing people. 

One thing that I do believe contributes to this behavior is that society has become too soft on those who do these things.  People are not afraid of the consequences.  By the time a police officer is finished with his or her paperwork the bad guy has had his slimy attorney or civil rights advocate get them released.  Lady Liberty has a blindfold because she is supposed to be blinded to the color, creed, nationality or religion of a person and weighs justice equally.  Now she is blindfolded because she does not want to see what is coming her way. 

We can sit and moan about how bad things are or we can be active.  I choose the latter.  When it gets to local elections I want to vote for a sheriff that is not afraid of people.  I want someone who is willing to stand up to politics and rule according to law.  I want someone who will tell civil rights advocates to make sure they tell the little delinquents they want to protect not to break the law and the law will not arrest them.  I want an Attorney General that will support the law and not bow to race, creed, or religion.  I want a Federal Attorney General who will enforce the law equally and not just to those guilty of crimes that he or she does not fine desirable.  The Attorney General Holder passed on the crimes committed by the Black Panthers at the voting location where it was clear intimidation there was a problem.  Whistleblowers have been coming exposing how Holder’s department has made a distinction between crimes done against white people as being not as important as those done against black people.  We have a President that openly defends people such as the statement made against the law enforcement officer who questioned the black college professor.  Obama knew nothing about the situation yet blamed the officer.  Obama comes out to defend Martin as ‘if he had a son’ while knowing nothing about the case.  America is worse off racially than ever in our past.  America is so far off where civil rights and racial equality is concerned that a sane person must ask the question:  why. 

Forgive my rants for a moment.  But the question needs to be asked if this might not the purpose for the open disregard for the laws by this administration?  If there is civil unrest then the government imposes FEMA regulations and all Constitutional rights stop.  For those who are snickering right now I would encourage you to do a simply computer search regarding FEMA executive orders and just see how much your rights get put on hold during this period.  I do not know the answers but I do feel it is beyond time to be heard.  Vote people out and vote the right people in.  Be heard in civil affairs.  Have a simple plan what to do in case of an emergency.  You do not have be build a bomb shelter to have a simple plan.  Something even as basic as how would you eat if the markets closed for a month?  Do you have extra canned food?  Can you get water?  In some areas of the nation that is no problem because of all the rain but in other areas it is a major concern.  Do you have forms of communication or transportation?  Are you around family in case you need to pull together?  Do you have basic knowledge on how to plant a garden?  Do you have an alternative heat source?  These are not radical thoughts or questions.  The question is no longer why are you preparing to take care of things in case of an emergency but rather, why are you not preparing to take care of things in case of an emergency.

MEMORIAL DAY

I never really had any special feelings about Memorial Day for many years.  Later on in life with my kids it became a weekend for camping and admiring all the flags.  After my divorce I began an outreach program for veterans in conjunction with a local American Legion.  Fourteen years later I have a totally different perspective.  If it is a weekend of beers with your friends it would be in order to forget.  If it is a time for camping it is a time to lay there trying to imagine what those who went to war might have experienced.  If it is a weekend for hunting it is a time to try and picture having the enemy out there hunting for you.  I am not here to put a downer on the celebrations of Memorial Day.  Those who have gone on before us did so in order that we might have those families and friends gathering freely together.  I just want us to remember the deeper meaning of Memorial Day.

I come from a long line of military people.  It is my honor to finally have all the paperwork together to be submitted for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution.  My ancestors have fought in every conflict since the Revolution.  My father was World War II and my brother was Vietnam.  To say that I am proud of my ancestors and family is a major understatement.  Periodically I come across those who hold the view that all war is evil and that those who are in them are wrong.  I normally just shake my head at their clueless position but my ancestors also fought so that those people could express their opinions regardless as to how naïve it might be.  But, try to imagine a world in which no one ever went to war; not a world without evil people, just those who never were willing to go to war.  Looking at Great Britain today it is hard to imagine the atrocities permitted under King George within the colonies.  What if World War I was never opposed?  What would a world in which Hitler was not stopped or one in which Tojo Yamamoto was allowed to invade the West coast of the  United States.   Or what if there were no soldiers available to have kept leaders of the USSR in check from the days of Stalin through Khrushchev.  Khrushchev’s goal was to bury the United States.  Iran’s goal is to turn the US and Israel into piles of ash.  It is almost impossible to image a world where evil would be permitted to run unhindered but because our soldiers were willing to stand the gap. 

Our returning veterans from Vietnam were met with people throwing rotten fruit at them, spitting at them, and even throwing balloons filled with urine at them.  These actions must never be forgotten because they must never be repeated.  I challenge you this weekend whenever you see a veteran you thank them.  I challenge you to go out of your way to say something nice to those who gave you the opportunity to hold your opinions regardless whether they support the military.  Keep in mind that it is the military that makes it possible for you to be free to oppose the military.   

POLITICAL STUPIDITY

I remember hearing a story of an old Southern gentleman who had been extremely patient with a son who had been doing everything possible to abandon his upbringing.  Finally the father looked at the son and told him:  Son, either change your behavior or change you name.  I know there must be some good Democrats who want to do well for America.  I know there must be some who believe in their roots of wanting to take care of the poor and overlooked.  But there has been an increasing amount who evidently has forgotten their purpose.  I believe that those good well intended Democrats should be screaming to those types to either change their behaviors or change their name.  Congress men and women are supposed to be intelligent and have commonsense.  But I heard statements coming out of various Democrat leaders that I truly wonder if they actually stop and listen to themselves.  I was listening to the news the other day and heard, not clips but actual statements, of two Congressmen who made the comment that the reason people do not like President Obama is because he is black and, therefore, they are racists.  Or the reason a person does not like Obamacare is because he is black and, therefore, they are racists.  I did not know that it was a despicable act to disagree with the President.  I do not remember anyone saying that if a particular group of people disagree with George Bush it was because he was white. 

I have learned over the years that you can tell how weak a person’s point is that they are trying to defend by how ridiculous their arguments become and when they begin personal attacks.  Remember in the early years of school when one child starts getting the upper hand there would be the old:  Well, your mother is ugly.  I am seeing our politicians result to the same level of argument.  If they cannot defend and issue they go on personal attacks.  I am so tired of hearing the race accusation.  I have done extensive research into my family line.  I have so many different races, not nationalities but races, in my family that I am my own United Nations meeting.  Personally I think that Obamacare has maybe 10% workable good and 90% nightmare, but that is a blog for a different time. 

Then there is what I refer as the ultimate stupid remark from a Congressional leader.  I remember Nancy Pelosi making here infamous statement of:  We must pass the bill in order to know what is in the bill.  That is equal to saying:  We must sign the contract in order to know what is in the contract.  I imagine every corporate attorney right now is having near cardiac arrest with that idea.  But this is the mentality of the elected leaders.  Our elected leaders have caucuses that they must pass through in order to be elected.  I wish there could be a commonsense meter that they also have to pass. 

Now before anyone gets a burr in their saddle thinking that I am just picking on the Democrats I can assure that when the Republicans do stupid things that I will harass them as well.  But right now it is the Democrats who are the engineers of the stupid train.  America will never change people who wish to believe things like what has been discussed here.  America will never change those who want to blame everything on racism.  America will never change those who really seem to not want to do their jobs and merely want to support a Party.  But America can remove them from their jobs at the next election.  If these people remain in their position it is America who deserves to be told:  Either change your behavior or change your name.

EDUCATION

There are a few questions that keep running around in my little head.  First, when did commonsense die and what why did it die?  Second, when did intelligence and education become enemies instead of necessary allies?  Third, when did our school system become an arm of the political system?  As I watch various activities in today’s school system these questions keep arising.  I am no stranger to the academic system with two Master degrees and minus a dissertation for a second Doctorate degree I believe I know my way within that setting.  It used to be that you had to have at least a couple neuron to rub together and a little ‘horse sense’ in order to excel in that system.  But lately that does not seem to be the order of the day. 

I remember back in the Stone Age we started every day with the Pledge of Allegiance, we prayed before lunch, if we had a crush on someone during recess and gave them a hug we were not expelled, we carried pocket knives and were not whisked away to deprogramming sessions with some counselor, we even got into fist fights when five minutes later were playing together in the school yard.  We could get paddled by the Principal and knew we would be paddled at home for acting up at school.  And, the biggest problem was talking in line and chewing gum. No one got shot.  No one got stabbed.  No one seemed to complain.  There may be those who would say that back then people were not as educated about the ‘issues’.  Well today I see kids carrying guns in school, people being stabbed and murdered in the hallways, people being rapped, gangs being so bad that there are now armed police officers hired by the schools, teachers are not able to discipline the students in any way without a law suit from mommy or daddy, the Pledge is removed, prayer is considered unconstitutional, and the biggest problem is whether the teacher will live through another day.  If this is an idea of ‘enlightenment’ I think we need to go back to the Stone Age. 

I believe that as the school system has become more closely entwined with politics that people have become increasingly stupid.  Commonsense has been removed and image has become the rule of law.  Instead of teaching responsibility in firearms you have kids being expelled from all grades if they so much as tear paper in the form of a gun.  Last I knew that also means that if the student draws a picture of Texas, Idaho, Florida, Nebraska, and a few other states that they can also be expelled because they can be made to look like a gun.  At times I think the administrators of the schools would fail a Rorschach test because everything would look like a gun and the psychologist would have their license removed because they showed too many pictures of guns.  If a kindergarten student brings brownies to school to share with the class, and has a plastic knife to cut them, with that student can and has been expelled.   Gideon’s are barred from handing out New Testaments on school grounds while it is fine for the Koran to be taught.  Christmas carols are considered unconstitutional but Halloween is fun.  The list can go on but I get tired if I type that long. 

It appears that many within the education system have become educated fools.  They may have degrees but no wisdom. It used to be that wisdom was what made intelligence practically workable.  Wisdom without some form of intelligence is simply good guessing.  Intelligence without some form of wisdom is educated folly.  The two need each other.  But it appears that many within the leadership of the education system have surrendered wisdom to be politically led.  Now you have some nebulous minds in government telling the schools nationwide what is the best way to educate the masses.  These great government minds then proceed to explain how the students in New York cities need the same education as those in Arkansas.  It does not mean that the students are any smarter in either place, or have less need for education, but the students are different.  They learn different and will learn with different illustrations.  Culture, philosophy, values, morals, and social expectations are going to be different.  Education must incorporate these items if it is to be practical.  Education that is not practical is useless and makes nothing more than educated fools and America has too many of them already in the wings awaiting their turn to lead this country.      

AMERICA

I remember growing up when there was someone really gullible I would tell them that I had some riverfront property in Iowa to sell them cheap.  Of course there is no riverfront property in Iowa and most people realized that fact.  But we are being told things today from Washington D.C. that is equally as absurd.  I am beginning to wonder why there are so many highly paid specialists surrounding the President for briefings and information.   When the present issues regarding the Veteran Affairs Administration broke into the media the President stated that he was shocked and just heard about it that morning from the news.  When the IRS issue broke the President also stated that he learned about it from the morning news.  I am coming to the conclusion that we do not need high paid aids around the President and that all we truly need is cable news. 

Before readers start saying I hold this position simply because I must belong to a particular political party.  I do not ‘belong’ to any party.  I am an American and that is where my loyalty rests.  My ancestors fought to found this nation.  I have people who came here on the Mayflower and I have other ancestors who were the ‘welcome wagon’ for them when they arrived. I love my country.  I fear for my country.  Personally I am not a young pup.  I am beginning to get ‘long in the tooth’ and am proud of that fact.  But never have I seen politicians being so bold in their outright corruption and misuse of power.  Last I knew the two parts of Congress were supposed to work together.  One part would pass a bill and it be sent over to the other side which would then vote upon that bill.  But today if the leader of one side or the other does not like the bill it simply does not make it to the floor.  Our political leaders are signing contracts for the American people who are responsible for the payments.  It is like if you owned a business and you had someone willy nilly signing contracts for you without you being told what those contract fully contain or even if the person actually read the contact before signing.  Then we are being told that they ‘had to sign it’ in order to know that was in it.  As a business owner I would fire this person. 

It has been shown that the IRS was used as a hit squad to deal with groups who might prove to be politically dangerous.  It has been shown that no repercussions have come to those who killed four Americans in Benghazi.  We have a veteran’s medical system where people have received bonuses after ‘cooking the books’ regarding wait times where people have died.  I have personally worked with veterans and have watched in some cases 5 years before their disability benefits claim be won.  In some cases the veteran died before their service was recognized.  We have government gun running to Mexico which resulted in some of those guns being used against our own people and no one has been held accountable.  Never before do I remember a time where the Constitution, the cornerstone of our nation, being so disregarded and even threatened as it is today. 

When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor the Admiral made his famous quote:  I am afraid we have awoken a sleeping giant.  Are we still a giant?  Are we just sleeping or are we comatose?   It was stated that the reason why Japan (and nothing against the Japanese) did not attack American on our soil was because they were afraid that ‘behind every blade of grass would be an American with a gun’.  Never before has the Second Amendment been under such attack as today.  It seems as if the general citizen is being disarmed.  Why are we being disarmed?  What will or even might be the result if we are disarmed? 

I believe we still are that sleeping giant.  But medical professionals can concur that even sleep can be dangerous.  If someone begins to sleep too much, first of all, it tends to be a sign of clinical depression.  Secondly, too much sleep without movement can result in the buildup of toxins within the body which have the potential to be deadly.  Specialists refer to this as the difference between oxygenation and respiration.  Some of our Forefathers woke up their nation with a quill pen.  I am hoping to do so with a laptop.  America must start asking questions and demanding answers.  We must demand answers from our media centers.  We must demand that they start doing their jobs and not simply condone political behavior because it might be financially advantageous.  We must demand that America not be bought or sold.  This is MY America.  This is YOUR America.  This is the ONLY America we have and we must protect it.