Election Day

User FriendlyIt’s Election Day. So don’t go vote if the only reason you have for supporting any given Candidate is the letter after their name. I don’t care what your personal beliefs are or what you call yourself if you haven’t taken the time to study the issue and the candidates, please stay home. If your sole purpose is to support one letter over the other, stay home. If your entire research for the election consisted of what your Union told you to support, stay home. If you’re following a slate mailer’s advise, stay home. If the only thing you can tell me is that the “other side” is “for against” and you are “against for”, stay home.

If, on the other hand, you’ve looked at the issues and the people running, please DO go and vote.

And don’t take any guff from Party Apparatchiks and their “Vote as we tell you to or the Republic will fall!” It won’t.

I mean, it probably will, but not because of your educated and informed vote.

The good news is… the 2016 Presidential Election season starts tomorrow!

Medical panic has moved on from the Ebola for the moment, now SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING. The question is will the government now sue Barcolounger and furniture stores for making and selling couches and chairs?

The woman who survived the Pit Bull attack last month is on the road to recovery, she told the terrifying story of how she and her son WENT TO CONFRONT THE DOGS WHICH HAD GOTTEN INTO HER YARD, when the attack that killed her son began.

Ex-State Senator and now convict Rod Wright finally went to jail for his misdeeds. FOR LESS THAN TWO HOURS. Which just to show those politicians, huh? Good thing that they passed AB 109 and its “Non-Non-Non” accountability law that will go far in deterring similar behavior in the future.

A couple of months back, listener Randy asked me a question about why WWII/Korea Vets seems to handle PTSD issues better than younger Vets. We got away from ever really delving into that question, and I am rather glad that we did. On last weeks trip with CENTRAL VALLEY HONOR FLIGHT, I ad the chance to talk about this very issue with multiple Vets from WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the current conflicts. It was when I brought up the question of adding names to the Vietnam Memorial that a Vet of that era expressed to me that he had no issue with adding what he called “delayed KIA” to the memorial. So many, explained, had suffered the damage that would eventually kill them over there. He told me a story of his best friend, a farm boy like himself from the Central Valley, who left Vietnam a drug addicted shell of the man he had grown up with. Twenty years later, the man had died of all of the associated causes of drug and alcohol abuse and mental illnesses. I asked him why he thought that Vietnam Vets – and even Vets today don’t deal as well with the issues as the WWII/Korea guys. His answer stunned me.

He said, “They had the Legion and VFW Posts.”

After  thought about it for a few minutes, I realized that he was correct. They hadn’t dealt any better with it than the others. Just in a more socially acceptable and yet still private out-of-the-public-eye way.

Quick, don’t think about this, just answer it – what comes to your mind when you think VFW or American Legion Post? What is the main reason that younger Vets give for not wanting to join a Post? There was a time, perhaps when it was most needed, that Vietnam Vets weren’t really accepted in the the Legion and VFW Posts. Today that has changed, of course, but there was a time in this nation when we corporately, abandoned the Vietnam Vet.

Do you know what one WWII Vet told me last week about why he had transferred his membership from one post to another? Answer: Because his old post did not have a bar.

The truth is that WWII Vets didn’t have  medical system that recognized the damage done. So they did what Americans have always done and internalized it and kept it among themselves. They built bars and they drank. Not all of them became alcoholic or dysfunctional, just enough to, as my Vet said, not to remember the pain.

I think of my best friends’ father, a WWII Vet who fought at Anzio and who – in my memory – was always a bit gruff and never spoke of his actions in the war. I wonder now what it was that he kept not just from me, but from his own family?

Today we recognize that NFL players of the times gone past were likely badly injured but it was ignored in a culture of machismo and “tough guy” stories, like Art Donovan playing a game on a broken leg, or a certain little league coach telling a 10 year old halfback, “There’s nothing wrong with your ankle, get out there.” We may have thought they were being “tough” or heroes, but what was really happening was we were ignoring the damage and not dealing with it. Now the NFL is paying out millions of dollars to try and undo some of that damage.

Today’s VA system recognizes the trauma and damage, but my fear is that it is (a) not up to really handling it and (b) has such a bad reputation that Vets will instead seek the more traditional pain killing remedies, such as alcohol and drugs.

So what can we do about it? The truth is that war is hell, and men and women who have been there live with that every day. Nobody can truly experience what another person is going through, nobody can always know the right salve. All we can do it make it known that we know that there is a problem and that we stand ready to assist in whatever way we can that is not self-destructive. Listen, care, support.

And for the Vets who still have the nightmares and still hear the sounds, you are not alone, and there is support and help.

maynard15n-1-webWhich brings me at last to the “Death-with-Dignity” argument stirred by the weekend passing of Twenty-nine year old Brittany Maynard, WHO TOOK HER OWN LIFE WITH A PRESCRIBED BARBITURATE and thus spared herself a painful death from brain cancer. I disagree with her choice, but at the end of the day, it was her choice. My concern is that she is being hailed as some sort of “death-with-dignity” hero when in fact, the people who are battling every day are also heroes. Imagine the message being sent here to the Vets – if it hurts, end it all. n my view, that’s the wrong paradigm. Unfortunately there is no way to know if perhaps she would now reconsider it, or even if she had second thought after taking the prescribed by a Doctor pills. There’s no mulligan on life, you get one, that’s it. I worry that the message of this is one of “taking the painless way out of problems.” Rest assured, it’s not the decision I would make in the same circumstances.


Posted on November 4, 2014, in News & Notes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Looking forward to being on the show show today at 5:01.

    Steve Frank 805-795-1271


  2. Nicely written account of your conversations with the Veterans of the greatest generation.

    As an 8 year wartime veteran who is not a veteran of war (A complicated concept, but a definition that I know you understand), I am always captivated by these accounts. Perhaps envious of the experience yet, at the same time, knowingly blessed to not have these experiences of my very own.

    Thank you for sharing some of these stories.

    I will now continue to look forward to more.


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