I have found myself in an uncomfortable position. I find myself getting angry at others for not being angry at what has been going on with the VA. I mostly believe that my anger is misplaced, but I cannot help it.
There has been a laundry list of malfeasance on the VA's behalf, and every indication that little to nothing will be done to punish the malefactors, nor to hold the leadership of the VA or its hospitals accountable. Good men and women are dead because of the bureaucratic game playing that may not be explicitly rewarded from the top, but certainly is not punished. Shinseki has stated unequivocally that he will not resign, and mouths excuses that these problems existed before he took over. He has been in charge of the VA for a half-decade. If he is unable to affect change after five years, then it seems to me that he will never be able to. It is past time for him to go.
Now, that's all well and good, but my specific problem comes in when I point this out to my friends and relatives. I've been met with all but silence. I do not feel that I can properly attribute this silence to partisanship or a lack of interest, but it is increasingly hard not to; especially when they get worked up about issues where it is their ox being gored. I understand that less than 1% of Americans have served, and many of them never retired and will not ever step inside of a VA hospital. This is true for me as well. And while my family contains an abnormally high number of veterans (half of my immediate family, half of my aunts and uncles, a quarter of my grandparents, a few of my cousins, etc), only one of them (my father) is eligible for treatment at the VA, and he has better health insurance so he can seek better treatment from better healthcare systems. So ultimately, it's not even my ox being gored. And yet I am infuriated at the treatment of our veterans at the hands of the very government they served. Why is this something that I feel, but no one else seems to care about?
Is it a feeling of "what can I do?" Is it general apathy? Is it because they don't really care since it doesn't affect them personally? I'm especially cognizant of the fact that "raising awareness" is about as meaningful as shouting into your closet because of recent events. But at a certain point, once I've written my Representatives and Senators, what else can I personally do other than tell everyone I know why they should be outraged? Is that perhaps what is making me so angry? That I am helpless beyond what I've done? I'm not sure.