Buried beneath all of the political ploys and nearly 14 trillion dollars of debt are members of the United States military and their families, all deeply concerned for their futures.
For us, half pay on the 15th would have meant dipping into the savings account to pay our bills. For others, it could have been not having the money to feed four growing children or to pay the electric bill. Even now that the situation has been — here, I hesitate to say fixed — bandaged, the very idea that military pay could be cut so immediately has families questioning the supposed consistency of the military. Justly.
Unsurprisingly, I find it offensive that stopping military pay while still expecting our guys to show up to work is even a possibility of consideration in the heads of the movers and shakers of our nation. I find it even more offensive that the men and women currently deployed in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan would be expected to daily risk their lives knowing their families are going without the income the military promised. It’s unacceptable, and it’s a sad show of the United States’ current condition.
It’s possible that soon this will all blow over. Now that Congress has reached an agreement, just hours before government shutdown, it’s possible that a budget will pass and that the debt cap will be extended, allowing the U.S. to borrow even more money.
But people don’t forget. Even if this all blows over, and the pay goes back to the normal, twice-a-month schedule we’re accustomed to, soldiers and their families will not soon forget that their pay was the first to go. The trust we once held in our government has been wounded, and it’s a wound that will take some time to heal.
To the U.S. government, I suggest you take a look at your priorities. Your defenders ought to be considered before any petty political pursuits. As a strong supporter of our government and our system, I expect more. So does the rest of America.
To the soldiers and their families, keep your heads up. You know your value, even when your government does not. Some of us are still quite proud of you.