This agency is a severe blight on America’s soul. Most people acknowledge the veteran, but not all veterans are the same. I am a disabled veteran. I am a disabled peacetime veteran. There are others who are peacetime veterans. There are those who made the military their career. These career soldiers served in some war or another, some had more than one combat tour. Some military people were killed serving their country, others wounded, others just served. I am one of those that just served. I had opportunities to be involved in combat but I was fortunate that the enemy never attacked when it was my time to play soldier. I was exposed to Agent Orange and from what I understand now it was pretty nasty stuff. My disability was caused in peacetime. A year ago I was operated for a peacetime injury. I applied for compensation. For over a year I have heard VA say “we are working on it”. Letters to the secretary and the president have not been answered. When I identify myself as a veteran I hear people say thank you for your service. I do not want “thanks,” I want someone to make the VA get off its butt. Is that possible? Where are the elected officials? Why aren’t they doing something about the service from the VA? I also hear, “VA has too much work.” VA is the most urgent matter that the Congress has. Where is the Congress?
Last topic is inclusion. What does the word mean? How is it practiced? I have personal experience with the Democratic Party and inclusion. In my experience it has been more exclusive than inclusive. When I ran for Congress the first time, county chairs took me under their arm and gave me advice about being a politician. One piece of advice that they gave me was to get a hold of Martin Frost, find out his schedule and be at all his events. That was easier said than done. Or as a pundit explained, “Martin has to see Barton every day. They are buddies. Martin is not going to endanger his relationship with Joe to help you”. Then there was the infamous hot check. As I recall the TDP chair removed my name from the ballot because the check did not clear. Well this time the check did clear. However, this time the TDP chair decided that only the anointed one would be the only one welcomed at the county level and all of us were excluded by most county chairs. Funny thing, the TDP did not return anybody’s check. The TDP kept the money. So if we are talking about inclusion, transparency, and accountability we need to play with a full deck. Thus far, the TDP has not played with a full deck. Manipulating elections favoring some candidates over others is not necessarily democratic.
Four years ago I said that what the Democratic Party needed was leadership. Today, I repeat my words of four years ago. What the Democratic Party needs is leadership. I believe that it is wrong to fabricate some great hope, building everybody’s hopes when the party does not realize that the leadership is out of step with Texas politics. Old style closed room, cigar chomping people making decisions as to who was going to represent the party, well those days are over.