The politics of perception is a political maelstrom

Derek Joy
Derek Joy

The politics of perception is a political maelstrom

By Derek Joy

Interesting how perception takes different twists across the spectrum of human endeavors.

It hit me with a flash as I watched Congress-man Alcee L. Hastings(Dem., District 20, Miramar) engage in a political sparring match with Michael Putney, host of WPLG/Local 10’s This Week In South Florida.

“The world is on fire, there’re serial crises,” Hastings said, when asked about the military strikes between Israel and Hamas fighters in the Gaza. “It’s not just there. Look at Afghanistan, Iran, Libya.

“Israel has an unequivocal right to defend itself,” adding while citing the immigration problems and the lack of effort Republicans have exerted on reform measures.

For sure, immigration reform is not a priority in Congress. They just don’t care that the immigration process as it is looms as nothing short of scandalous. That is intensified my times over with disastrous impacts of illegal immigrants.

Yep. Hastings took it in stride when Putney chided him about being 77 and still running for re-election.

“I am running for re-election and I likely will run again. I look at some of those before me like Claude Pepper and Dante Fascell,” Hastings said in fond recollections of the former long time Congressmen.

Perception takes flight.

Sure. The “serial crises,” as Hastings called the repeated acts of terrorism against Israel and the ongoing strife in other countries of the Middle East represent fire in the hole.

Diplomacy seems conspicuously absent. Instead, there is an atmosphere where the violence of terrorism reigns in the absence of common respect for human rights. No doubt about it.

Ironically, such transgressions abroad can be perceived as having a metaphoric equal at home with Veterans Administration. General Eric Shinseki ousted as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Interim Secretary Sloan Gibson is keeping the seat warm until the Senate confirms nominee Robert McDonald, or someone else. The seat got extra torrid with the recent scandals at VA Medical Facilities around the country.

The whole mess got the attention of POGO (Project on Government Oversight). They received complaints from nearly 800 current and former VA employees and veterans in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

Widespread allegations of a culture of corruption in the VA was cited in complaints of retaliation against employees who, as they say, blow the whistle on irregular, unjust and intimidation practices within the VA.

Trouble is, neither POGO, nor Congress, consider the ill effects that same conduct has on veterans who suffer worse retaliatory acts for complaining. In short, their claims for service connected disability compensation get shuffled in mounds and mounds of lost files.

Some are even told, “We’re the federal government. We do what we want. And we don’t have to do anything for you.”

Now, if Hastings and every Member in both Houses of Congressman would work promptly to remedy such tortuous acts within the VA, like they attend to “Serial Crises” around the world, then military service veterans would benefit as the public servants were.



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    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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