A group of World War II veterans did what most Americans are struggling to do. They protested the U.S. government shutdown in a peaceful but forceful way.
And now House Republicans are trying to use the veterans’ show of solidarity as an opportunity to convince Americans they feel their pain.
It is sickening.
Republicans need to let the veterans speak for themselves. Their actions were more effective than any of the hot air coming from Congress.
It all began Tuesday, just hours after the government shut down. A group of Mississippi World War II veterans were part of an honor flight group — a project to get every veteran to D.C. to see the war memorial. The veterans found that the memorial had been barricaded as part of the closing of all national parks.
As one person noted, World War II veterans stormed the beaches of Normandy. Did the government really expect a silly wooden barricade would prevent the veterans from seeing the memorial that honors their service?
The vets pushed past the barricades and viewed the site that they had traveled to see. That simple act of defiance should have been enough.
But the Mississippi veterans found a way to underscore their disgust with government, and that revulsion goes way beyond access to a national park.
Unfortunately, conservative congressional members failed to realize they were the targets of veterans’ and most Americans’ ire. Instead, the politicians decided to cash in on the national headlines the veterans’ incident drew. They opted to pick and choose what they wanted reopened — such as the national parks and restoring some money for the National Health Institute — while still fighting the Affordable Care Act.
Never mind that Obamacare went into effect this week and its website had a million hits the first day. Never mind that a single mom who previously had to choose between health insurance and an expensive dug now can afford both under the ACA. Never mind that President Barack Obama was re-elected with Obamacare under his belt and that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the ACA settled law.
No, instead a misguided faction of the U.S. House wants to play on Americans’ emotions and suddenly wants to reopen national parks. Of course this was not an original thought on the part of this faction — 80-year-old World War II veterans had to plant the seed.
House Speaker John Boehner today could call a vote on a clean spending bill — no strings attached -and it probably would pass. Rational Republicans are waiting. The U.S. Senate is waiting. The president is waiting. Americans are waiting.
And, lastly, World War II veterans are waiting, so that they do not have to storm barricades in their own country as they did nearly 70 years ago in Normandy, France.