Those Pesky Veterans

You are probably as concerned as I am about those food carts out in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (Cart before the Art). When life gets in the way of art it is almost as frustrating as when life gets in the way of doing business. That’s the problem they are having in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. And you won’t believe who is leading the charge against our aesthetics and our commerce: veterans! These are the people we have given the privilege of fighting for us. We let them lose limb, sanity – why, we even let them give their lives for us, and this is how they show their gratitude? They get their own holiday and honored presence in parades and this is how they thank us?

Let’s start with the Met. They weren’t thinking ahead back in the 19th century when somebody up in Albany thought it would be a good idea for disabled veterans to be able to scrounge together a living as entrepreneurs. I guess you can’t blame folks for not wanting to hire some guy (back then, it was pretty much all guys; the times are changin’…) who can’t stand behind a counter all day because of pain in their leg – or because they don’t have any legs. Even worse, what if they go crazy for no obviously explainable reason and start busting things up? That won’t do. But hey, even crazy people have to eat; so let’s have them open up food carts. Maybe they can make up in people feeling sorry for them what they lack in business savvy. Buy a hot dog and help a vet. Everybody’s a winner.

But geez … what if they get so “entrepreneurial” – and successful – that the disabled vet hires somebody else to run their food cart for them? That violates the spirit of the law and we shouldn’t allow it – not in New York, not anywhere! Museum patrons and the public should not have to bushwhack their way through a jungle of weary and wounded hero-has-beens in order to see the Kimono: A Modern History exhibit.

If things are bad in New York, they are intolerable in Fort Lauderdale, thanks to that wily won’t-go-away 90 year-old vet, Arnold Abbott. What is it going to take to make him stop feeding the Homeless and Hungry in Florida? You can certainly understand the perspective of local businesses and the chambers of commerce, both of which “would like the homeless population to be less visible.” Where does old-man Abbott get off with his “There is no rug big enough to sweep them (the homeless) under”? Abbott is a 90 year-old wimp! Maybe somebody should “sweep him under the rug”! That darn “Greatest Generation” just can’t die off soon enough.

We are better off when military folk have guns in their hands and can go fight somewhere. The last thing we need in this country are a bunch of old, broken, out-of-work homeless ex-soldiers acting like the conscience of the country. We’ve got our own morals; we don’t need theirs. (Besides … I thought we had ‘trained’ the morals out of them?)

Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.