TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — If You Didn’t Vote, YOU Are The Problem

We gave up our finest in the many wars we’ve been involved in. Men and women gave their lives so that we can live in a free and open society — a safe society, one where each individual should be able to live and work and raise their families in a loving environment.

Our military has done the job. When called upon, it was up to the task, notwithstanding the so called “popularity” of the war. I use that term war loosely, because we haven’t had any declared wars since World War II and possibly the Korean War.

I lived through the Vietnam Conflict, where our men and women fought courageously. In the end, they came home to a divided country where those who defended our flag were spit upon, abused and condemned for simply honoring their pledge when they enlisted.

I have never personally witnessed disrespect to our returning veterans. If I had, I probably wouldn’t be here to write this article because one of many things I can’t stand is disrespect to our troops. I probably would have had the crap kicked out of me, but I will say if I had witnessed that, I’d have been on those people like fleas on a dog.

In Fargo, we have (by all accounts of the veterans who are served there) a Veterans Hospital that should be a model for the country. It has great employees who provide the services many veterans both need and deserve.

What mystifies me — in the very worst sense — is all the political candidates who have diarrhea of the mouth when it comes to veterans affairs. Presidential and congressional candidates mouth their “love for our veterans” and that “the veterans must be taken care of” and so on.

Well, our brilliant U.S. House and Senate members from both parties have been playing table tennis with veteran benefits. They propose benefits, health, facilities and a new push on mental health issues. They present these ideas in proposed bills and brag about how they support our veterans … and then screw them like they don’t care by attaching items that have nothing to do with veterans to those bills. Those attachments ensure they will not get the necessary votes to pass.

Why can’t Congress enact a bill that limits legislation to its stated content? Why not specify and limit bills for their intended purpose? No more adding on, for example, a measure that would defund or fund Planned Parenthood with a bill to provide mental health services to veterans? Does it make sense to add a provision to ban gay marriage to a bill that provides for new local facilities for veterans?

We have allowed our elected representatives to do nothing for the last eight years, and now we’re having conversations about doing the same for the next four years. When did we lose track of the fact that our senators and congressional leaders were sent to Washington to work the will of the people — not to give them some damned political platform to crow about and accomplish nothing?

To blame a president, any president, for the failure to enact meaningful legislation (not only for our veterans, but for the rest of the country) is a case of not seeing the forest through the trees. If Congress wants to pass meaningful legislation, it has to take off the partisan D and R glasses and put on the P (for “people”) glasses. Then get to work.

All of the hysteria about which candidate won the presidency is not justified, in my simple opinion. We have three branches of government: judicial, executive and legislative. The executive (president) alone cannot take many actions without legislative support. Congress cannot pass laws without the president’s signature (though in rare cases they can override his veto). The judicial branch keeps both of the others in line when called upon to do so.

How about some good veterans legislation? Instead of stupid last-minute, add-on provisions to keep the public in the dark, let them just vote up or down, and let both nonveterans and veterans see who supports or opposes each law. This should apply to all laws. But that would require common sense and a new, but correct, way of running our country.

On another subject Post-election hysteria has set in. We all need to sit back and take a breath. No sense complaining over who won and crying over who lost! This is a time to pray for our country and hope for the best. Already the president-elect has said he won’t push for mass deportation but will concentrate on those with criminal records. He has said that gay marriage is the law of the land, which it is. He has said he likes Hillary Clinton and has no immediate plans to ask that she be prosecuted. He has said that while he would try to appoint pro-life judges, the decision on Roe v Wade is the law of the land.

Some call his new positions flip-flops. I call them a common-sense realization of real-world politics. True, he can flip back and forth and, until he’s in office, we won’t know which of the many faces of Trump we have elected.

This election has once again brought out the worst in America. The beatings, the shootings, the violent protests are not who we are! Now is the time for all Americans to rise and act as one. We don’t ever have to like our elected leaders — and we can never give up the fight for what we each believe in.

All decent citizens of this country can recognize the right to peaceful assembly and protest, but no one should stand silent when violence takes place. That includes unnecessary police violence. I remind our Fargo-Moorhead area residents that we are fortunate in the level of education and training our local law enforcement agencies provide.

We as a nation must let the likes of the KKK know their bigotry and hate are not welcome. We must let those who judge others by their color and or religion know that their views are not “our” views. We must let religious authorities and figureheads who preach condemnation and hate of those who don’t share their views know that their views are not “our” views.

I use the term “our” to describe the average individual in this country. We can agree to disagree without being disrespectful, although if your only source of information is social media, disrespect is alive and well.

Bobby Kennedy spoke eloquently at the time Martin Luther King was murdered. His courage in going right into a black community saved countless lives and property — because if ever there was a reason to raise unholy hell, that would have been it.

If one man or woman can make a difference, think what a majority of citizens with like views can do. We are one, but we can be many!

Finally, Governor-Elect Burgum would be well advised to do two things.

(1) Take a leadership position and go to the Dakota Access Pipeline area to keep a lid on the confrontation. Attempt negotiation with the tribes. It’s a cop-out to say, as you’ve been quoted in the media, that you won’t do anything while our current governor hides in his office.

(2) Don’t ever disrespect and ignore my friend Don Haney of KFGO Radio, as you did when you waved off his questions last week. Don is one of the most decent men you will ever meet — but also one of the best newsmen in the community. Waving him off like one of your fawning minions was not a good idea. If you can do that to him, you could do that to all media. Amen.

Leave a Reply