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Friday, November 5, 2021

Battle for Survival Doesn’t Stop at Home for Veterans

051013-N-6106R-117Some weeks are spent spinning wheels, reading documents and APOC reports, listening to terrible talk radio recordings, trying to make sense of candidates who just don’t add up. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out the hinky nature of a South Anchorage Senate candidate, Natasha von Imhof. Why is the governor’s office being so super secret about the tax settlement with her business and why was it announced the day after the primary? Why does her story keep changing? I have a table full of flowcharts, and none of it makes a lick of sense. I first came into contact with her a few years ago when she tried to get one of the Veco bagmen on the school board, and I wrote a column about why that was a bad idea. He withdrew his name. She and another board member, Don Smith, whined that I was bullying the school board by insisting a known crook not be placed. It was all pretty pathetic.

Another letter on my desk is from mid-Anchorage candidate, Mike Gordon, written years ago on behalf of the convicted sexual predator Joe Boehm, saying he was a “good guy.” I try not to characterize too many people as good or bad, but this one is pretty easy. Joe Boehm is dead. He hurt a lot of women. That’s not “good” in my book, but I’m different than Mr. Gordon. He is part of the good ol’ boy Republican club who defended the character of Boehm, who fed crack cocaine to young girls in exchange for sex. Dan Coffey, then an assemblyman, who now chairs a spanking new PAC ironically named “The Truth Alaska,” was also a defender of Boehm. He went so far as calling Boehm’s victims “vultures.” Gordon and Coffey think a man who gives drugs to abuse women can still be a good guy — but Democrats or anyone not running from their club are bad. Um. That’s pretty rich.

Piles of emails from different folks around Alaska, worried that different people who hadn’t treated them or their families properly may get elected to our government or judgeships come in daily.

So, I’m trying to figure out which ones of these matter to the rest of us. We don’t all get along with everyone all the time, and maybe lots of them don’t. I haven’t had internet for a month here and the phone coverage is not as good as the carrier’s map implies, so I was surprised when my phone buzzed late the other night.

“I need your input here,” was the message. There was a picture of a pistol with the hammer cocked back.

Years ago, a friend of mine in the military promised me if his PTSD ever got so bad he couldn’t see out, he had to tell me goodbye first. I lost track of how many deployments he was on. He would write from Iraq and Afghanistan and listen to the radio podcasts from the front of the wars. He kept his promise and reached out from a very dark place.

I gave my input. I asked my friend not to kill himself. I had to be that plain about it. I asked if he was talking to professional counselors through the VA. The counselor he’d been working with quit. New appointments are slow going. He suffers with survivor’s guilt, and the trauma of war that people like me know nothing about.

This election season has been particularly nasty — and America loves to hate how much they long for every bit of drama and bad behavior. On a state level we’re seeing all sorts of shenanigans, and there are really not enough people following along to hold the ugly accountable. Oh, lots of it’s ugly and true — but good luck having enough room on your desk to keep up.

In the three presidential debates, not one question was asked of the candidates about veterans. There’s lots of posturing about who is going to kick the crap out of ISIS — using the backs of our military — but nothing about how our veterans are suffering — watching all this from some pretty quiet and lonely places. Nothing getting better. No hope.

I’ve seen posts on Facebook of folks doing pushups every day — 22 of them — to bring awareness to the 22 veterans who kill themselves every day in our country. It made me think to write a few postcards to the vets I know.

My darling reader, I’m sorry I don’t have a big, hairy expose on one of the crop of hinky characters running for our Juneau seats. I’ve been busy trying to help a veteran who fell through the cracks. There are so many more I don’t know, but maybe you do. There are 17 days left until this election. For our hurting veterans — that’s 374 suicides at 22 a day. In the midst of all the political nuttery, I ask us all, to reach out to our brothers and sisters who are left behind in this election. They have fought for our right to vote — and we need to reach out and help them.



One Response to “Battle for Survival Doesn’t Stop at Home for Veterans”
  1. The presidential debates never mentioned anthropogenic climate change, either.

    If Adlai Stevenson was right and we get the government we deserve, we must have done something really, really bad.

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