All the times I've met U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, he's seemed like a reasonable man. Sure, he's always been solidly Republican and we don't see eye-to-eye on a lot of issues, but I never thought of him as one of the various crazies flitting furiously around the reactionary belfry.
So I can't fully express how disappointed I am in Sen. Portman's failure to stand up to the radical anti-government wing of his party and vote to give our military veterans the benefits and assistance they deserve.
I consider his "no" vote on the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014 particularly shameful in light of the fact that he voted in favor of sending these men and women to war when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
So Portman supported wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that both turned out to be decade-long engagements put on the credit card of the American people (still two of the largest drivers of current U.S. Debt), and ten years later he won't support giving the veterans of those wars the support they need here at home? The word, "shameful," refuses to leave my mind.
I have to echo the sentiment of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont: "If you can't afford to take care of your veterans, then don't go to war."
Typically, as regulars at this shebeen know, I'm given to flippancy and sarcasm. I can't bring myself to that on this issue. I know too many people who fought those wars, whose lives have been changed forever, and, often, in very sad and frustrating ways.
I know these people deserve this country, our government, of, by and for the people, to give them the support they've earned and to honor their dignity and recognize their hardship.
Sen. Portman apparently believes in ordering the Filet Mignon and then slipping off to the bathroom when the check comes.
This is what Portman has to say about veterans on his website: "Our country is indebted to the men and women who have served in our military to defend our Nation and preserve its freedoms. I am humbled by their service and am honored to advocate for our Veterans. I will continue to promote legislation that assists our Veterans as they transition from the military, and once a part of the civilian sector affords them the benefits they have earned."
If you want to support veterans, Sen. Portman, they don't need your platitudes, they need your vote. Stand up and show the courage that they did when they went to war for this country. Go to war for them in U.S. Congress. Vote to give them the benefits and assistance they've earned and that we all know they deserve.