Higgins: Monumental stupidityWritten by Tim Higgins | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It would be impossible to believe that those of you reading this could have so isolated yourself as to be unaware that the federal government is currently experiencing a “shutdown.” Many may not know from the coverage however that the “limited essential personnel” that remain on the job constitute some 75 percent of those employed by the nation’s largest employer. It should be additionally noted of the remaining 25 percent of federal employees sent home, all have had the pay deferred through such shutdowns later recompensed.
A degree of hardship still remains for many federal employees across the country who are living paycheck to paycheck or from federal contractors. In most cases however, these hardships are only temporary and those experiencing them will be made whole in the end.
Strangely however, those who appear to suffer the most under these politically-engineered battles, whether they be a shutdown or sequester, appear to be simple citizens, and not employees of the Feds. This materializes itself especially in the case of those choosing to take advantage of our national parks or monuments.
We’ve all heard the past stories about the cancellation of White House Tours for schoolchildren, tourist trips ruined by locked museums, and vacationing families barred from national parks. This week however, the impregnable barrier was in Washington, D.C., and was faced by war veterans that were barred from monuments in the nation’s capital that celebrated their exploits.
In one of the most monumental cases of poor public relations (pun intended), a group veterans from Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight were barred from crossing barricades set up around the World War II Memorial yesterday. This group of intrepid warriors however, who had faced fiercer fortifications during their time in uniform, stormed these sorry ramparts and soon celebrated a well-deserved victory within the confines of a place dedicated to their previous efforts and that of their brothers-in-arms.
For those who’ve never heard of this worthy organization before, Honor Flight is a group of nonprofit organizations around the country that arranges trips for veterans to be transported to Washington in order to experience the memorials created to celebrate their service to the nation. Along with the chaperons (who pay for their own trip costs in order to volunteer their service), Honor flight otherwise picks up all of the costs involved for the veterans on what is normally a day-trip for this purpose.
Poorly executed political brinksmanship led representatives of the two major political parties to attempt to lay blame for this sorry example of strategy on each other. Those serving in well paying jobs as elected officials attempted to deny access to those whose service to the nation was far greater; for no better reason than simple political advantage. Their blatant failure to perform their duty only added insult to injury by denying access to those whose service to the nation performed honorably for no better reason than trying to win an election 13 months away. The current Commander-in-Chief’s sorry approval ratings could do nothing to turn the tide in the propaganda battle, since they could only be celebrated in comparison to even worse numbers for both parties in the national legislature.
On Wednesday, yet another Honor Flight disembarked in D.C., this one filled with those from the Kansas and Missouri areas. Surprisingly, instead of being met with the breached barriers of yesterday’s successful assault, these troops were greeted instead with open gates as the conquering heroes that they deserve to be. Many of those whose misdeeds had caused this situation by surrendering their responsibilities for the last year now performed a complete about face in the last 24 hours. In a show of political expediency that they seem incapable of achieving within the legislature, some desperately attempted to regain the political high ground through a public reversal of tactics. The performance of such a tawdry displays of strategic showmanship however, only showed many of them as unworthy to polish the boots that these former warriors once wore.
Next week the group visiting is instead expected to be from Northwest Ohio. That Honor Flight Group is currently assessing the strategic objective and the timing of their own assault, since according to the National Park Service “any attempt to access them will result in being arrested for trespassing”, except for Arlington National Cemetery. Assuming that one side or the other has still not shown either the tactical ability or the moral courage to end this conflict honorably; I’m afraid that Congress’s continued pattern of petty politics and false appeasement will do little but illustrate their monumental stupidity.
Tags: Arlington National Cemetery, Commander-in-Chief, Congress, Honor Flight, Honor Flight Group, Kansas, Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight, Missouri, northwest ohio, veterans, Washington D.C., White House Tours, World War II Memorial