This Veterans Day Americans will honor all of those who served in the armed forces. It is appropriate that we do so, but the day means much more. We should recall that Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day to celebrate the cease fire on the eleventh hour, the eleventh day and the eleventh month when the artillery fell silent along the Western Front which ended the First World War’s slaughter.
Veterans Day has special meaning for me because my grandfather fought in the trenches of France. By some miracle, he survived the horrors including a German gas attack. Needless to say, I’ll carry him in my heart every step of the way as I walk in the Sarasota, Florida, Veterans Day parade. Join with us to honor the memory of your own special friend or relative.
While we will honor our fallen comrades as symbolized by a member marching with a folded American flag, the day has additional significance. War not only kills soldiers and destroys armies, innocent people are also killed and maimed and land laid waste. Over twenty million died in WWI and the survivors were devastated by the conflict. After the war, the world vowed never to see such bloodshed again. Although mankind has failed in this noble objective, the Veterans Day parade and ceremonies remind us that we must rededicate ourselves to find better solutions to our differences than slaughtering our fellow human beings.
Veterans Day comes just after a historical election. Both sides talked of peace, but neither set forth a comprehensive plan to achieve it. In fact just the opposite, both sides used the same stale rhetoric to prove themselves tougher than the other guy. Romney even proposed increasing the defense budget from its already absurdly high levels.
In short, the election leaves America facing huge challenges. Our great country can, and will, overcome them, but it will not be easy. The easy path is to stay the course which will result in bankrupting and weakening our nation. To avoid this result, we must find creative solutions to our problems while always affirming the rule of law based on the Constitution.
Florida Veterans for Common Sense has an important role to play as our country moves forward. From our experience as veterans, we can help guide our fellow citizens away from policies that are counterproductive and wasteful to productive, peaceful ones.
Specifically, here are some issues that must be addressed:
American militarism: Our militaristic footprint continues to grow. The counterproductive Afghanistan war grinds on. We continue to waste billions of dollars every month in a counterproductive endeavor as our comrades continue to be killed and wounded unnecessarily.
Everyday in numerous, unnamed countries, American drones circle overhead. Sometimes they kill people who are threats, or potential threats, but often they obliterate innocent victims.
We must rein in the military, industrial, congressional complex about which President Eisenhower warned us. Far too much of our economy is devoted to defense and war spending that makes us poor.
The rule of law: We are not abiding by the Constitution and our basic principles when the President by unilateral, executive order can kill American citizens, or detain them indefinitely without habeas corpus.
Warrantless surveillance of citizens and data mining of citizen internet use by the National Security Agency continue in violation of the fourth amendment.
Climate change: FLVCS has long called for energy independence and alternative energy sources that don’t despoil our environment. The Pentagon warned us back in 2004 that climate change is a global threat that could result in chaos if not addressed.
Corporations are not People: The Citizens United ruling and other such rulings by the Supreme Court need to be overturned so our elections are not dominated by corporations and superpacs. We demand fair and free elections. In Florida our elections look like those in some third world countries, or worse.
Of course, this list is not all inclusive, yet how we resolve these issues goes to the heart of who we are as a country. As our Founding Father hero, Thomas Paine said, “These are the times that try men’s souls…” But rest assured, Florida Veterans for Common Sense will not step back from the present crisis. We shall continue to focus discussion and agitate for critical change.
Be Active: My challenge to every FLVCS member and friend is to be active with us. We are strongest when we all discuss and debate issues. We cannot inform others if we are not informed ourselves. Once we understand an issue and reach a consensus as an organization, we can recommend policy to our fellow citizens and political leaders.
We ask that you attend, and support, our events. Post comments and articles to our website. Finally, please pay your dues and donate your time and money. We cannot carry our message to the public and help our fellow veterans without funding.
Thank you for your support.
Gene Jones, President FLVCS
If you like what Florida Veterans For Common Sense is doing to support veterans, please donate or Join Now.
Contributions to Florida Veterans for Common Sense Inc., (a 501 (c) 4 not for profit corporation) are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes. If you want to make a tax deductible contribution please go to Florida Veterans for Common Sense Fund Inc., (a 501 (c) 3 not for profit corporation).