Free Thinking

Well, finally the US is out of Afghanistan! That took a while; a long while and many lives and limbs were lost there. What to do now, with these displaced Service members, other than send them on a really well-earned trip to Disneyland?

Give them new jobs? We have a surplus now, I keep seeing in the news. So many jobs open, just walk on in and get one. Maybe score one of those sweet sign-on bonuses too, and a dollar more than minimum wage, yay!

I don’t think will work somehow.

These former kids have gained adulthood in extremely harsh and particular circumstances, learned singular skills which I guarantee you do not want them to use while working for poverty wages in your local fast-food joint.

They are used to working harder, longer and with better (hopefully) management than they can find Stateside. Someone, please show me a manager somewhere who has not tried to take advantage of this? Sure, former Lance Corporal can do the work of three disgruntled Civilians, but why should LC have to?

This also means two more people unemployed, though obviously they can go next door and scoop up one of these amazing jobs that (and here’s the catch) Just Aren’t There for Everyone. They are usually service jobs, which mostly are not serviceable for former combat Service members.

There is some help for the newly discharged, but amazingly little. For the work they’ve done, and for their important contribution to our country’s safety, we owe them more than a trip to Disneyland (though that really should be included).

We owe them patience. We owe them a place to live and appropriate mental health services with actual doctors, and actual appointments. The VA is a fail on many levels, and nowhere as badly as in mental healthcare quality or availability. You’re having a crisis? Fine, just wait six months to get a provider, then another six for an appointment with someone once, and that’s to distribute sometimes out-of-date depression meds. Follow-up in a year, if you’re lucky. I wish I was exaggerating.

It’s really bad, and I worry that some of these individuals coming back from Afghanistan will be shunted into a system that will not be a good fit for who they are right now.

If you agree, or know a veteran who has had a hard time adjusting to being back, regardless of when they were discharged, please call or write your Congress people, and strongly urge them to arrange better-than-adequate mental health and housing services for our veterans.

It sounds like we might need to be making room for some Afghani people too?

All this said; I am glad our kids are coming back.

Welcome home.

The above is how to write a letter to Congress, if that is daunting, and it might be. The below is who to write to.

Published by kjensenstudio

I'm a lifelong artist living and creating in Eugene, Oregon right now, originally from California, and have lived all up and down the West Coast. Eugene is...interesting.

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