When you enter into an agreement, when you sign a contract, when you make a vow… when you make a promise… most people would agree that you should honor your commitments. Oh, now we all know that in today’s world a handshake is just not what it used to be. But it doesn’t make it any less offensive when someone breaks faith with someone they enter into an agreement with.
A recent article took a different approach in discussing the entire “Congress voting to reduce Veterans retirement benefits” issue so many of us have been riled up about over the past week. The author starts out by telling a story of a military member who was unfaithful and one service member’s remarks about how military personnel should be held to a different standard than the rest of the world.
Hey. I don’t disagree with that. But here is where my blood starts to boil: The author then goes on to say that perhaps with this entire budget thing, military families have a chance to show those higher standards to the rest of the country. A “turn the other cheek” message.
Even as I write this I am incensed at the suggestion that upon learning that their retirement benefits will be reduced, military families should tighten their belts and make the best of it. That because we are good at adapting and changing this should be no big deal for us. That somehow because they are military, they are expected to take one for the team… with a smile on their faces.
Well, you can’t have it both ways. A popular argument for reforming military benefits is that they are so much better than anything a civilian can earn. They say that most Veterans can still work for many years after “retirement” so it shouldn’t matter if we lower what they get. That civilian pensions are adjusted all the time because a company has to adjust their sails. That military members shouldn’t get a sweet deal… after all, they are just doing a job that they volunteered to do.
Woah. Wait a minute… I thought that military members needed to be held to a higher standard than everyone else? That their job is so honorable and noble that they should behave in a different way than civilians. If that is the case… then can you really compare anything in their lives to a civilian? Including their compensation?
Should military benefits be reformed? Perhaps. Anyone who has been around the military community for two minutes knows there are hundreds of other ways to cut the defense budget. Everyone who has been an American for one minute ought to know that there are thousands of ways to reduce our nation’s debt problem. But still, perhaps the healthcare and pensions need to be addressed…but it should only apply to future generations.
The men and women who dedicated their lives to military service have already served. They have already missed birthdays, holidays and milestones. They already have PTSD, TBI and may be missing limbs. You can’t take any of that back and change it. The sacrifices have already been made.
So we, as a nation, MUST honor our commitment to them. Period. Find the savings elsewhere. We don’t break a promise to heroes who have given so much to all of us.
It’s funny that the author started that article with a story about infidelity. Because what Congress did to our Veterans this week is very much a story of breaking a vow. Breaking a promise to be faithful. Breaking your word to stand with our Veterans through better or worse. What Congress did this week, to be frank, was to quite literally screw them over.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be suggesting that they just suck it up and take it.
Note: We elected not to plug the story referenced within the text of the article because we prefer to focus on Congress keeping its word. To find out what you can do to hold Congress accountable join the facebook group and twitter movement today. #KeepYourPromise