Veterans Before Refugees. The Narrative Hurts Us All.

I proudly support the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces and I’m honored to have served my country. I love the United States of America and am thankful for the freedoms I enjoy. But I’m disappointed with our country right now, as well as some Veterans in the military community.

Veterans Before Refugees

Veterans Before Refugees.

The past two days I’ve seen social media posts cropping up about how we should take care of our Veterans before taking care of people from other countries. Many of the comments I’ve read relating to #VeteransBeforeRefugees are horrific. Americans have widely become apathetic to the atrocities committed to people outside our borders and this is sad.

Have you ever seen people skinned alive?

I certainly haven’t but I know a man who did, my grandfather. He and my grandmother endured the evil unleashed by Adolph Hitler in World War II. Surviving the atrocities of Nazi-occupied Holland was no easy task. Seeing people skinned alive and hanged from telephone poles or being viciously murdered by the SS was a part of their lives for four years. Thousands of Dutch people wanted to escape. Thousands died trying.

The same types of evil still exists today.

People all over the world encounter that same situations my grandparents endured. Men are shot, women are raped, children are forced to see and do things no child should ever have to experience. Yet most of us turn a blind eye because it’s not us, but them. You know, those refugees.

Better them than us. Our country must be safe.

Let me ask you this. If it were your husband or wife or child suffering, would you want to escape? How long would you suffer at the hands of evil dictators or radicals whose only purpose is ethnic cleansing or genocide?

I’m all for protecting our country. I took an oath to defend it against enemies foreign and domestic and even though I don’t wear the Army uniform today, my commitment still remains. Having experienced the Oklahoma bombing and watching the attacks of 9/11, I believe we should strive for safety of our people.

There’s nothing wrong with controlling refugees coming into our country or doing due diligence to ensure we don’t harbor terrorists. It pays to be smart because some of those people might want to kill us. We just can’t stop caring about humanity. 

We must remember not all Muslims are terrorists and not every refugee is seeking to harm our country. Not every person seeking to escape war or persecution is trying to live off our government or take a home from a Veteran. Most simply want to survive, like you and I would want to.

Open your hearts and your minds for once. Don’t show the world Americans don’t care about anyone but ourselves.

But Veteran lives matter.

There’s no doubt that Veterans and our Service Members are a special community of people. They have answered the call to defend our nation and protect our freedom. We enjoy so much because of them. However, the idea that their lives are more important than others is wrong. Unless you're an evil turd from hell, all life is precious. Click To Tweet

Wearing a uniform doesn’t mean we deserve special treatment. Respect and gratitude is always appreciated, but it’s not required. We aren’t owed anything from the civilian world. Those seeking public gratitude, enlisted for the wrong reasons.

It’s true that the government needs to take care of our Veterans and fulfill the promises they made to them. It’s sickening to see Veterans dying at home because a lack of medical care or support services they should be receiving. These appalling situations is why Happy Joe started.

More efforts need to be done for Veterans, but it doesn’t mean we should let other people die either. Remember, some of you said ALL lives matter.

The Call to Serve Others

The Greatest Generation, whom have been referenced in some of the Veterans Before Refugees conversations, went to war to stand against the tyranny of the world. These WWII heroes gave their lives to protect us AND them. They didn’t fight to keep the refugees out, but to eliminate the evil. If they were willing to step up for the greater good of humanity, shouldn’t we all do the same?

The real story is many Veterans served to help others, not for their own self-preservation. Many in our military gave their lives for people who don’t live in this country. Think about that.

Blind Patriotism

Blind patriotism helps no one.

It’s awesome so many civilians in this country want to show their support for our Veterans, military and the USA, but somehow it doesn’t feel right. I attribute this to blind patriotism.

Just because you shout ‘Merica like a redneck (which by the way is ‘A’merica) and like Veteran memes on Facebook, doesn’t make you a real supporter of our military or country. Blind patriotism is rampant and getting out of hand as evidenced by the arrogant and ignorant remarks on every social media platform.

It's important for you to know WHY you believe what you believe ... and then live it. Click To Tweet

It’s a bad decision to jump on every bandwagon because others are doing it. Don’t worship a flag or an ideal that you don’t truly know about.

Finally, let’s be honest. Sharing silly memes and doing 22 pushups isn’t helping our Veterans at all. If more people truly cared about Veteran homelessness or suicides, they would be doing more to make a real contribution. The enemy isn’t the refugees but the people who play social media commandos.

The narrative will only improve if we all contribute in a positive, meaningful way and understand why we are doing it.

Veterans should avoid being stupid.

What really pisses me off is seeing two Veteran Owned Businesses trying to profit off the suffering of refugees and the blind patriotism of America. Selling coffee and t-shirts using Veterans Before Refugees slogans and images of terrorists shooting Starbucks cups is a real dick move. Does this really benefit anything other than your bottom line? People must come before profits.

The negative stories and stereotypes surrounding the military community are plentiful. So many amazing organizations and non-profits have worked tirelessly to convince the civilian world that Veterans are great people. When Veterans do stupid things like this, it adds more gasoline to an already burning fire. It damages the Veteran brand.

Veterans should be better than this!

We’re taught to adhere to a higher standard in the military. We serve so that others might live and people are protected. The values we learned shouldn’t leave when we take the uniform off.

Not all Veterans are created equal.  We have exemplary people to the scum of the earth. There’s a broad range of beliefs in the military community too. Despite that, I believe that Veterans as a whole should strive to be change agents in our world and to set the best example possible. The world looks at us differently and it’s up to us to create a new story that’s positive and right.

What’s the best solution?

Honestly I don’t know if there is a best solution for handling the needs of both the Veterans and the refugees. It’s going to take time and patience to sort it out. There are life altering consequences regardless of the decisions on how to handle this problem. I do know this, Loving others and being better than the vermin of the earth is better than hate and racism. Click To Tweet

Try to really understand the Veterans Before Refugees ideal. Look at the whole picture and gather the facts before making a decision either way. Take greater care to not cause more division in an already sharply divided country. It will benefit the narrative for all of us.

And who knows. Some day it might be us facing atrocities and not them. Would you want their compassion?