One of the most visible groups of people that have been affected by the government shutdown are veterans.
Despite promises from Congress that their benefits would be protected, the US Department of Veterans Affairs is warning that issuing those benefits is going to become harder and harder as the shutdown continues, according to USA Today. This delay will affect payments on the GI Bill, which student veterans in particular need to pay tuition. A delay will also affect other veteran benefits that they and their families depend upon, as they use them for everything from rent to groceries.
Curiously, however, many members of Congress are still receiving their benefits. Given that only 19 percent of the 535 members of Congress are actually veterans, and that the primary reason why veterans are sent into combat zones in the first place, this seems grossly unfair.
Our men and women in uniform volunteer for combat service; service that often leaves them with both physical and mental handicaps. Whether the wars that they are sent to fight are just or unjust is beside the point, because regardless they walk into fire for us.
It is the duty of the civilian population to provide for the needs of veterans when they return home. As Congress, and by extension us, are failing to adequately provide for them, we are all doing a disservice for the people of the armed services.
This should change.