One declared, “Foley found opportunities to usurp the dignity of a warrior, and to impute Foley’s own warped political views onto the blameless hero.”
“Foley claims that Pvt. Parman would be upset by conservatives who make their voices heard,” huffed another, “who resist what they see as government tyranny equal to or worse than that with which King George oppressed the Colonies.”
“How arrogant of you to presume a man who fought and died for his country nearly 70 years ago even shares your liberal view …” a third scolded.
These comments are interesting in light of the protest at the World War II memorial this week. I don’t mean the phony one where Sen. Ted Cruz showed up to cynically blame President Obama for the chaos Cruz and his tea party allies engineered.
I’m talking about the one Tuesday at which Iraq, Afghanistan and veterans from other wars demanded their benefits not be cut off. The protest came after the Department of Veterans Affairs warned more than five million vets and their families wouldn’t receive their checks if the shutdown wasn’t ended.
“This is a huge slap in the face,” retired Marine Jesse Bier told USA Today.
“We all stuck together when we were in combat. We put the mission first. We put our country first,” added Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “Put the country first and end this shutdown.”
“For many, these payments may be the only, or primary, source of income,” Garry Augustine, executive director of Disabled American Veterans, explained. “Posturing and playing politics with veterans is unacceptable.”
I’m pretty sure Pvt. Parman, who gave his life in early 1945 during the Battle of the Bulge, would agree with these comments and others like them condemning tea party extremists seeking to bring the nation to its knees.
They failed, of course. President Obama stood his ground, refusing to let them use the good faith and credit of the United States as a bargaining chip. The veterans will get their checks and federal employees will return to work and receive their back pay.
Those three weeks on the shutdown bridge to nowhere cost taxpayers $24 billion, according to Standard & Poor’s.
The letter writers fail to understand the battle raging in Washington isn’t between progressives and conservatives. It’s between corporate interests that back the Republican establishment and want the government to function normally and a small number of billionaires like David and Charles Koch who’d rather see the government just go away.
“The current budget brinkmanship is just the latest development in a well-financed, broad-based assault on the health law, Mr. Obama’s signature legislative initiative,” reported the New York Times on Oct. 5. “Groups like Tea Party Patriots, Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks are all immersed in the fight …
“The billionaire Koch brothers … have been deeply involved with financing the overall effort. A group linked to the Kochs, Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, disbursed more than $200 million last year to nonprofit organizations involved in the fight.”
The dysfunction and infighting inside the party, according to former GOP Rep. Joe Scarborough, has left “the Republican brand … shattered.”
With the help of Cruz, the conservative media, and ill-informed tea partiers, the Kochs nearly realized their vision: no government at all; a nation in which the wealthiest get wealthier, the middle class struggles to survive, and the desperate poor grow in ever-increasing numbers.
Pvt. Parman died to preserve one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all — not one nation, divided, for a few soulless billionaires.
Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.