Veterans are not weak if they suffer from PTSD

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Last night I had a dream that I was at a Playboy Mansion party. Not one of the big, star-studded, the entire lawn is a playground affair with models abounding everywhere. This was one of those, “I got there late, the only food left were some jelly beans in a fake silver dish and the only people there were … not what you would expect. George W. and Laura Bush were there and I decided to talk with them because it felt like I had more in common with them than anyone else.

It didn’t feel the least bit real because on exiting the party I found myself in a Seven-11 parking lot looking for my car. There isn’t a convenience store anywhere near Charing Cross Road.

The odd part for me though was bonding with the Bushes. It was disturbing. For years I’ve thought President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are guilty of war crimes for starting the Iraq War. Why were they the people I felt closest to at this party?

Waking up at about 3 am. What were they talking about on MSNBC? But wait, why was MSNBC on when I had fallen asleep to “The Daily Show”? I don’t wake up easy these days.

Vice President Joe Biden speaking at the DNC
Vice President Joe Biden speaking at the DNC

Anyway, the topic of conversation was Donald Trump (of course) and his latest gaffe. And it was a gaffe, not one of his extremely offensive assaults on women or minorities.

Trump was talking to a veterans group about mental health and PTSD issues in the military and among our veterans. Over 20 vets per day commit suicide, which means the military and the Department of Veteran Affairs have to do more outreach and education within the ranks of the military and veteran community to let our men and women who serve (or have served) know it is okay to ask for help and that it isn’t a sign of weakness, nor will it cost those who serve their jobs if they ask for help. The culture of the military and the veteran community has to change.

The government needs to pour a lot more resources into these issues, both on the active service end of it and the veteran community, but the military leaders have to start educating the rank and file that it isn’t a sign of weakness to ask for help.

President Obama spoke eloquently about the issue when he was asked a question by a Gold Star Wife and Blue Star Mother, who lost her husband to suicide.

Vice Presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia — not New Jersey, as Donald Trump said during a press conference.
Vice Presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia — not New Jersey, as Donald Trump
said during a press conference.

What Donald Trump said was that the men and women of the military that develop mental health issues or suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are “weak” and “can’t handle it,” in other words exactly the wrong message we should be sending about these issues.

To be fair to Donald Trump, he said the V.A. and military needed to do more to help those suffering from mental health issues, but his implication that it was weakness to suffer from these problems was detrimental to the cause.

Let’s be honest: Donald Trump isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. He says stupid things, often times because he believes what he is saying, and truly believes it is okay to be a vulgar bully. Other times he says stupid things because he is just plain ignorant — like with the issue of the mental health and PTSD epidemic in our military and veteran communities.

That was the case with his stupid remarks about veterans with PTSD and other mental health issues being weak. Donald Trump is just ignorant and stupid. Like Vice President Joe Biden said, when he reacted to Trump’s words, the GOP nominee wasn’t trying to be mean.

Governor Mike Pence of Indiana. Whatever happened to him?
Governor Mike Pence of Indiana.
Whatever happened to him?

Tonight we will hear from the two vice presidential nominees: Republican Mime Pence, Governor of Indiana, and Democrat Tim Kaine, Senator from Virginia.

Pence is a far right ideologue meant to bolster Trump’s support with the base. Kaine is a middle of the road Democrat who tied the campaign and platform, to the moderates on the left. The Democrats have the most progressive platform in the party’s history. Interesting how the Democrats have two moderates at the top of their ticket and the Republicans have an uninformed bully and a hyper conservative on their ticket.

Progressives like Senator Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have to rally support from their base to vote for Clinton-Kaine next month and then hold the Democratic Party accountable for that platform.

Time for the debate.