Monday, November 11, 2013

Honoring veterans: Deeds, not words, come to mind

Posted By on Mon, Nov 11, 2013 at 11:47 AM

As politicians everywhere rush to show how much more appreciative they are of veterans than politicians in the other party, twomore  thoughts on honor for military service:

* THANKS TO THE MIKE BEEBE ADMINISTRATION: It was a pleasure to NOT see Arkansas among the states that refuse to acknowledge the constitutional doctrine of federal supremacy. Arkansas was not among the six states refusing to honor a Defense Department directive that gay spouses of National Guard members be given the same benefits as heterosexual married spouses. This creates a burden for many Guard members, who must drive miles to a federal installation to get equal treamtnet.. Simple message: You're a second-class citizen. The dishonor roll, according to the Pentagon: Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia. They cite state laws that do not recognize same sex marriage. Arkansas, however, takes this view, as expressed by Matt DeCample of the govenror's staff:

The Arkansas National Guard's stance has been that they are tasked with processing federal benefits to take care of our troops. They are not in a position to stand in judgment of which men and women in uniform receive which federal benefits. There are no state benefits involved in that processing.

There was no directive from the governor or the governor's office on this issue but we agree that our National Guard's actions are, as always, in the best interests of our troops.

Any day now, I expect Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson, Jerry Cox of the Family Council or similarly like-minded to file a lawsuit against Arkansas's National Guard obedience to federal policy. Our Constitution, after all, declares marriage to be only union of man and woman and that "Legal status for unmarried persons which is identical or substantially similar to marital status shall not be valid or recognized in Arkansas."

* THANKS TO THE VA: I drove down Main Street the other day and noticed the busy parking lot of the day center for veterans. I haven't heard any ill effects from the operation since it opened last year. Have you? I can remember when outcries arose against providing a service center for veterans on Main Street, including from a Republican congressman and Army reservist who's tweeting today about honoring veterans. He eventually stood down on his opposition to the center, much as he stood down from initial warm words for the good intentions of Exxon after it plastered Mayflower with tar sands. 

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