Dear Service Member: A Letter From Congress
Dear Service Member,
Your voice doesn’t matter to me. Your service doesn’t matter to me. The promise made with your oath doesn’t matter to me. You don’t matter.
You are expendable.
Your physical and mental wounds of war do not matter. Your marriages lost, do not matter. Your childhoods missed, do not matter.
You cannot organize and protest so your voices will remain small. You cannot lobby and pull favors so there is nothing you can give to make me see your way.
This nation is tired of you. Tired of the decade of war that they don’t understand and that we decided for you.
You are subpar. You are below. You are the easiest cut.
To take away twenty percent of a retirement that you have worked and bled for and entered into your service (and retired from) being promised, is easier than giving up my own full pension that I receive after serving just a day in my seat. My work matters more than yours. It is my job to demand where you go, when you leave, if your life will be put on the line each day. That is such difficult work. To decide to send fathers and sons, mothers and daughters to a war zone is far more trying than to actually live through war.
To have to decide to reduce the Cost-of-Living-Allowance of a Soldier who has lost his limbs because I am too scared and too selfish to rethink the corruption and abuse existing in every single entitlement program in this nation, well … surely that must be as difficult as having a propelled grenade blow off my lower extremities, if not more. I’ve earned my full pension. I’ve earned my full pension by deciding what we take from you. I’ve earned my full pension by sending you into two wars, by sending you on that mission, by putting you in the place of that explosion. Voting for that was worthy of my benefits, following that order was not worthy of yours.
I’ve earned my money.
It’s hard work. Hard choices. I’ve earned my four-week paid vacation while you prepare for your fourth twelve-month tour. Legislating is tiring work.
Your one percent vote won’t pull me from this seat. Your one percent vote won’t change my mind. Because you are expendable and the easiest section to take from. It’s simple politics.
You have chosen to take an oath and to follow a code that restricts you from speaking against me. Even with that, you are the quality of people that it is easy to take advantage of. You give beyond self. You serve in a way that most people cannot fathom. It’s easiest to take from that selflessness. Your voice does not matter. The promise I made to you – any promise I make to you – is nothing more than words that sound good, that will rally anyone belonging to the ninety-nine percent that does matter. My promises hold as much value as I hold for you.
You cannot refuse to show up for work tomorrow while you picket outside the building, the FOB, the secret location in the mountains of Afghanistan. You cannot negotiate and demand and hold up this nation’s current war while we try to see eye to eye.
You don’t matter. We don’t care. “Embrace the suck” and get back to work.
The United States Congress