In World War I, members of the military were given a vague promise of a cash bonus that would be distributed in the future. When the Depression came along, many of the cash strapped vets thought that would be a good time to collect their money. They flocked to Washington D. C. to present their idea that the time had arrived to collect the I.O.U. They set up camp but were soon run off at gunpoint by troops led by a distinguished West Point graduate who was slated for greatness. Douglas McArthur, who was known by the nickname "dugout Dug," seemed to show more valor when facing unarmed Americans than he did in France during WWI or later in his bunker in Australia during WWII.
According to local lore, soldiers from the North camped out in San Francisco after the Civil War. These days tourists flock to shop in the neighborhood and most remain blissfully unaware of how Union Square got its name.
In the late seventies, American Vets injured in Vietnam, congregated at the Westwood Military Hospital in Los Angeles and occupied the lobby for some time. Early one morning, they were hustled out by the police. There were numerous TV crews on hand, but only two still photographers. They were both working for the Santa Monica Independent Journal Newspapers and their story might be the subject for a future column, but for now this event provided a career boost for one college photojournalism student and a confirmation of a cynical point of view for the other.
Except for a small number of curmudgeonly skeptics, most Americans will believe the promises American politicians repeatedly make to the members of the military and remain unquestioning when the politicians explain their shoddy performances regarding their delivery on those solemn promises.
How many times would your disreputable brother-in-law sell you a decrepit automobile before you start to doubt his sales pitches?
America trusted George W. Bush and only a few ultra Liberal pundits question his judgment in retrospect.
Why haven't American troops been sent to Libya, Yemen, and/or Syria?
American politicians seem to be having a difficult time selling the voters on the idea that social and medical services for America's veterans are being forced to be reduced because of austerity budgets while simultaneously building them up for new military adventures in faraway countries.
Buying a shot and a beer at the local tavern for a young Marine who will soon be aboard an LCP approaching Tarawa is one thing, but cheating him out of the medical care he requires when he comes home without his legs, is something very different.
Recently when San Francisco mayor Ed Lee announced that he planned to have all local homeless military veterans in housing by the end of the year, local political activist Mike Zint, who posts political information on the "first they came for the homeless" page on Facebook, responded by saying that it was probably a gambit to provide cover for a program that would sweep the homeless out of sight before the tourists arrive in the Bay Area for Superbowl Fifty.
In an age when the numbers for wounded and homeless women warriors are becoming a major factor in the continuing effort to live up to the promises made to the members of the military, we have noticed one (potential) flaw in the political logic being expressed.
It seems that every effort to provide mass housing for young men are based on the concept of providing each and every one of the cases with a living space that includes space for a TV set, a refrigerator, and room to do some cooking.
If the World's Laziest Journalist can offer up an opinion
that might offend some puritsts: most
young men don't need or want that much space.
Since many young men are used to a military dorm, a ccllege dorm, and in some cases a hostel bunk, perhaps Mayor Ed Lee should consider the idea that one very large facility with a bunk and communal cooking and entertainment facilities would be an austerity budget era way to approach the problem.
What percentage of male homeless veterans require more than a bunk? What percent could exist on the basis of a hostel environment with a dormitory bunk and communal entertainment, bathroom, and cooking facilities?
Isn't it obvious that a fellow who is sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag in a hobo jungle environment and scrounging meals on the run would have a great improvement in his comfort level rating if he had access to a bunk and locker each night?