LIP-SERVICE: THE FARCE OF THANKING VETERANS

The intention was that I’d move here, the farthest away I could get, to write and discover just how fucked-up I’d become post-Army. In between my virtual travels, my organic life seemed to fall prey to one disaster, then another, causing me to reevaluate my journey, asking in earnest; “was it really the war, or was it just me?” And now, after all these wasted days and sleepless nights, a sharp conclusion struck me square in the face: I’m not alone. Veterans are not alone in suffering. Society en mass seems to have turned on itself? So many people angry and confused. So many good people understanding that so much is wrong, yet unsure or ambivalent to the actual perpetrators? Like fish in the sea who don’t even know that they are wet, we’re turning on each other. Picture the chicken coop full of birds. Just one of them turns up with a speck of blood on the feather and soon, the entire flock is in the midst of a bloody Armageddon to the death.

What I’m trying to say is this: In my struggles, far from home with nowhere else to turn, the systems in place meant to help, even as a veteran, in time, often resembled the chicken coop. The people employed to give a hand, so to speak, often seemed incapable of escaping their own anger. The projection and transference so readily apparent, at times naked, caused me to stumble further. For those in more precarious conditions, the ineptitude and carelessness was, is, and can be inescapable. What now hits me the hardest is the complete indifference of anyone in a position to modify these unprofessional flaws. Anyone taking a rational look from the outside in, beneath the metaphoric carpet, would easily recognize the rot. But here’s the irony: In truth, nobody [very few] gives a flying fuck about homeless veterans…or homeless anybody for that matter. I certainly don’t. I can’t even bring myself to care about me.

This is an obvious point, yet the election of Donald Trump, a truly revolting character and certain disaster as a president, is a reflection of this anger so many feel…and for good reason. The political elite and the institutions they direct, have for 30+ years, stomped on the social security and welfare of nearly everyone else. While they gorged themselves from Wall Street to war profiteering to a zero interest monetary policy, they completely dismissed the victims of that fattening. Turns out there is a limit to this sort of twisted economic principal, or as Bush I put it in a rare moment of truth, “voodoo economics.” The socializing of corporate and financial institutions losses and the free market capitalism of Main Street’s economic pain. That is: we can find the money to save the gambler’s on Wall Street, including massive bonuses and incredible pay packages with taxpayer money, while simultaneously cutting unemployment benefits, food stamps, etc, because, you know, the “deficit.” Turns out, even the ignorant “white working class” and all the other demeaning pejoratives for 99% of the country can understand when they’re being fed bullshit sandwiches.

My point is that this broad anger and frustration seems to be bleeding out and onto fellow 99%er’s. How else can you explain the rank treatment I personally witnessed military veteran’s enduring within programs funded to do the opposite? How else can one justify the lack of compassion for the most in need by those tasked to serve?

I don’t want to share my story, it’s embarrassing. You might think after reading, “you need to tell someone, file a complaint..etc?” I gave up on that. The truth is, it’s a homeless guys word against a group of employees at a private organization who have their own story. The world isn’t fair. They actually made me believe for a while that I was in the wrong. That’s how sick it is, the system. Imagine how those who are really troubled are abused?

Long story short: Far from home, family and friends, I lost my home and nearly everything else to a fire. I entered a local program funded through the VA for homeless vet’s. I worked at this program doing what they call “work therapy” 40 hours a week…no pay of course, I had no discipline reports, no problems, etc. Reluctantly, I began meeting with one of the counselors about my PTSD. The second session, he started holding my hand which I thought was strange and made me uncomfortable. I’m certain he understood this, yet the next week he moved from my hand to my thigh, at which point I got up and left without explanation. The following night at 1AM, the Veteran Case Manager had me come downstairs asking me about a firearm and had I been threatening someone. Of course not. In my things I had a toy pistol which I mentioned. The police were phoned without me knowing. I was escorted to get a few things and told to leave the property. It was -15f. When I was able to return, I was told my property was donated due to policy.

You might think this is a bullshit story? Sure, there are more details but I am not leaving anything out like I was drunk, acting crazy, unliked by any other client, nothing that I can point to regarding my behavior. This was a simple move to get rid of me after a sick advance by a sick employee working in an ultra sick organization. Period. And it worked.

That’s all I say for now. I have made peace with it the best I can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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