Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Call to Action

Washington D.C. is riddled with partisanship and inaction. However, the Circle of Friends for American Veterans (COFAV) believes veterans’ issues transcend the left-right paradigm. Founded in 1993, the Circle of Friends for American Veterans continues to serve Americans in uniform.

The Circle of Friends for American Veterans

Initially a veterans' homeless shelter, COFAV transformed into a 501(c)3 educational organization affecting debates in Congress and educating the public about veterans’ issues.

COFAV, provides GIs with timely answers, pushes veterans’ issues to the forefront of Congress’s agenda, reforms the VA, and serves as a voice for our men and women in uniform.

Recent revelations of VA waste, spiking suicide rates among veterans returning home from war, and homelessness burdening military communities illustrate the need for Congress to act.

Despite public outcry, a moral obligation, and repeated “congressional inquires” Washington has done little to resolve issues facing veterans. Fortunately, America’s system of federalism empowers state and local governments to combat such problems.

Purple Legislators, Blue Mayors, and Red States

Over the past few years, purple legislators have drafted reform bills, which were signed into law by blue mayors in deeply red states. Salt Lake City, New Orleans, and Phoenix hold the proud distinction of zero percent homelessness among their city’s veterans community.

Such cooperation demonstrates the power of bipartisanship and the effectiveness of solving problems when party identification is thrust aside. These local governments sent a strong message to Washington i.e., reform will only follow a determined and bipartisan legislature.

A Challenge to Washington

The Circle of Friends for American Veterans challenges the 114th Congress to look towards the laboratories of democracy as an instruction manual to combat homelessness.  Combating ISIS, military intervention in the Middle East, and the Global War on Terror are hot-buttoned issues in today’s Capitol. However, it is unethical and immoral to discuss further military action when current veterans are mistreated by an unaccountable government and an inactive congress.

The legislature must draft bills to aid our nation’s returning soldiers. A vote for war is not merely a vote for the duration of combat; rather, it is a lifelong commitment to those who are sent into harm’s way to defend our freedoms.

While Congress is easily blamed, we must also shift some burden onto ourselves as the American people. Members of the armed forces are not distant troops in foreign lands. They are our parents, siblings, and significant others. Our Representatives work for us, and action will only come when constituents demand it.

To the American people, call your Congressperson and demand change. If change fails to come, hire a new Representative in November. Our constitution creates a government that works for the people, not a citizenry that works for the government!

Drew Becker
Program Coordinator
Circle of Friends for American Veterans

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