I must warn you, what follows in this post may be considered to be too opinionated at times. Please understand that Tom and I respect your right to disagree. This is just our take.
But first’ a quick update. Tom and I are about 60 or 70 miles shy of making it to Nebraska. We have walked almost 500 miles on our journey. Despite achy feet, our spirits are high and we are just as convicted as ever. We have been blessed. That is not a term I ever use. Ask people who know me. For us to meet so many great people who share their stories and perspectives is a wonderful thing. Additionally, to have so many welcome us into their towns and homes has been touching. Tom and I are so grateful for the generosity we’ve experienced.
We spent the last week trekking from Marshall town to near Atlantic. We’ve done this on a few trails and along roads. Here is an experience demonstrating how unsexy this walk can be at times:
2 days ago, Tom and I found ourselves walking from Stuart, IA to Anita. We walked a country road for the duration. Temps were around the mid 80s. The road was loose, white, dusty gravel. Tom has a blister on his toe. I have a head cold resulting in total congestion and my head feels 100 pounds. Slight, occasional breeze. Semis driving down the road. Regularly dusting us. The semis were being filled with beans the farmers were chopping and making trips up and down the road- constantly- all day. For those Vets who served in units with tracked vehicles, the dust was like the ground of a tracked vehicle motor pool- rocks, ground to powder mixing with dirt. Tom can testify to the anger I unleash. Unheard by the drivers, my verbal tirades show no mercy and omit no vulgarity.
Now, you may be wondering why we just don’t choose another road. You may wonder why we don’t find paved roads. To answer this you have to understand the nature of Iowa. Iowa is a beautiful state. Where we are now looks a lot like Wisconsin. But, previous stretches of our walk here in Iowa were days where the ENTIRE day is sandwiched between corn and/or soybean fields. Nothing else. Many of the roads are farm roads. It seems many farm roads in Iowa are unpaved. Also, the land is sectioned in large squares of farm fields. There aren’t a lot of roads that run at angles. Simply moving to the next road may add many miles to the day as they are less direct or they’re illegal for us to walk on.
So, that whole day was spent walking through clouds of gravel dust. All day. Oh. One other thing. There was a stone quarry with semis going in and out of that place like a McDonalds drive through at the height of the lunch rush hour. Just uncomfortable. But we did it and we got a few more miles down the road.
Things really are going well right now.
Now, to the opinion portion. We know about the shutdown status of out government. We also heard about the Veterans who went to memorials in D.C. and they were shutdown. Yes, the Vets still went in. Some of those Vets were assisted by politicians on site who made certain the Vets would get their time at the memorials.
We’ve seen a few news articles in which the current shutdown is discussed in the scope of how it’s influencing Veterans or current military. We’ve even heard some politicians discussing how wrong it was for those Veterans trying to get in the memorials to even wonder if they could gain admittance and those questions were a direct result of the other side’s unwillingness to work out a compromise. Regardless, both sides are jumping at the opportunity to make sure Vets can go to the memorials. These leaders are resolute in their commitment to making sure we can get into memorials during the shut down.
Shut up. Shut the hell up.
Fix our VA system. That’s part of the job of our Congress. They have oversight and investigation committees. Our VA system is overseen by a Secretary who has a cabinet level position and could, presumably, request an audience with the President fairly easily. Our politicians are sure as shit concerned about getting their faces on TV to say how abhorrent it was that the Veterans almost didn’t get let on to the memorials, but they wilt like the weeds they are at the opportunity to actually stand up and demand the VA unfuck itself and then make sure they do. Our government should get going again not only so Veterans can get into memorials without issues, but to get started and really using the weight they carry to fix a bullshit system.
It will not happen. Even when they’re not working, they’re exploiting Veterans.The end of this shutdown does nothing more than bring us one day closer to the next one.