What proud, patriotic American Senator would refuse to sit by idly, when they are, for example, chair of the Committee On Veterans’ Affairs, in order to get to the bottom of the recent Veterans Administration scandal?
Well, there’s one proud Senator who’s been sitting idly by – Vermont’s own Bernie Sanders. As news of the deaths and other scandals at the VA have come out (which is not new news, by the way), our self-proclaimed defenders of veterans’ interests counseled, instead of immediate action, that we should “not rush to judgment“:
On C-SPAN that same day, Sanders, chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, urged calm again, saying, “If we’re going to do our job in a proper and responsible way, we need to get the facts and not rush to judgment. And one of the concerns I have, to be very honest, is there has been a little bit of a rush to judgment.”
I suppose Bernie won’t be scheduling an 8-hour speech on the Senate floor, then, to draw attention to the issues that have occurred under his watch, since he’s been acting in various roles in veterans’ issues for years. Why the 8-hour outrage over tax rates, but no 8-hour outrage over deaths at the VA, especially when his committee has oversight over that administration? The Senator’s busy schedule doesn’t allow 8 hours for veterans? The simple answer is that Sanders is not really interested in doing anything other than grandiose self-promotion and demagoguery, and when the bright lights of reality shine on his “work”, he has been found wanting. His response to this failure is that he does not want to address it. Look for Bernie to delay, discuss, push the issue off, and ask for an investigation, until the fire that’s burning brightly right now dies down, and the status quo is restored.
In fact, he’s already switching his tune, to make himself look better. He’s introducing a VA accountability bill – as if something were wrong with his own committee’s oversight responsibilities. Too late, Bernie. You’re
accountable. This happened on your watch. He’s clearly doing this to recover from his prior statements made just a week before, where he dismissed national concerns over the well-being of its veterans. Here’s Bernie’s call to action – years too late:
“In recent years, as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 1.5 million more veterans have entered the VA health care system,” Sanders said. “Congress must do everything possible to make certain that the VA has the financial resources and administrative accountability to provide the high-quality health care and timely access to care that our veterans earned and deserve.”
“Congress must do everything”? YOU are Congress, Senator – you, and those around you, are entrusted to do the right thing by veterans. When the reality of your failure comes to light, then you state that “Congress must do everything possible”? How about “This Senator must do everything possible”? Or “This Senator has failed to do everything possible?” Because “everything possible” clearly has not happened, and veterans are dying, they are denied access to care, and are forced to queue up in a government-run health care system that you oversee. Secret waiting lists happened on your watch.
Meanwhile, the people who fight and die for our country continue to receive the very best care that this government-run health care system can deliver, and Bernie is OK with that. He actually supports that, through his inaction, until it became no longer possible to do so politically. He is defending a system that leaves deceased veterans’ bodies in county morgues for over a year, with his words and his actions – until it threatened his political viability. Vermont veterans, active duty servicemen and women, and their families, many have voted for and supported Sanders over the years.
Why would anyone ever support Sanders again, given this latest performance? Why would anyone support a man who is actively sneering at the horrific results of his own “oversight”, all for his own political gain? What do the lives and futures of our veterans mean to this Senator, other than as vehicles to help him maintain his political career? Now everyone knows who Sanders really is, if there was ever any doubt. The last question remains: Why would anyone vote for him again?