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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What's Missing from the Presidential Campaign?

I have been listening to the news, public radio and the debates since the beginning of the Republican primaries.  I love politics and truly care about the future of our nation.  The economy has been at the fore front of my mind since I have young children and want the best for them now and in the future.  But another issue has come to surface in just the past week when I heard a news headline about the staggering suicide rate amongst recent war veterans.

I have a friend who is a father, husband and military veteran of the most recent war in Afghanistan.  He is still currently in the reserves and struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  He claimed he is thankful to be receiving some emotional support through a free-church based therapy group, but the VA will not pay for professional counseling due to laws passed by Congress in 2010.  When I heard this, I was outraged.

Being a Veteran myself, this issue struck a nerve.  I am very thankful for the benefits I received from the VA including the GI Bill and fortunately I never served in a war zone.  But these men and women have risked their lives for their country and yet the Government thinks that money for a college degree will help them get the job they need.  Well, I'm sorry to disappoint the Congressmen and women and the U.S. taxpayers, but the most recently passed VA disability requirements for servicemen suffering with PTSD and education benefits are just not enough.  The VA will not even pay for counseling.

So, back to my friend, when he arrived back home after serving in Afghanistan, he decided to take the VA up on their offer and attend college.  Unfortunately he had to drop out due to stress and lack of sleep from his PTSD.  He also struggles to find a job and has a baby daughter and wife to support.

As we have determined in the last few years, throwing money at a problem isn't always the answer.  Thinking and proper planning may be a better solution.  And why are the news media, moderators and presidential candidates just talking about bringing the vets home?  Maybe they should also be talking about how to help the veterans once they are home, because honestly the war Vets have a greater risk of being killed by their own gun than the gun of their enemies.

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