Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An Open Letter to President Obama and Congress

An Open Letter to President Obama and Congress:

I have not been under a log...I have not been out of the country...I have simply had too much faith. I shrugged off the idea that the government could actually "shut down" due to your inability to pass a budget....by April. Ridiculous, I thought. They would never let that happen. Well they is you and you have lost the trust of the American people. Even you, Mr. Well-Spoken, Fight-For-Main-Street-Not-Wall-Street Obama. When I think of how many times I went to bat for you, pointing out all of the good you have done, I now find that I am embarrassed. A wolf in sheep's clothing, I believe we would call that.

Please tell me, leaders and lawmakers, have you ever watched someone you loved board a plane, bound for war? Have you ever counted the minutes until the next email/phone call/letter from that person? Have you ever received a message that everyone on base is in lockdown because "something happened"....but you don't know what or who until the family has been notified and lockdown is lifted? We have been through 3 deployments...T-H-R-E-E...I have been through all of that. And yet, every time the orders come and the duffles are packed, I say a prayer, salute the flag, and feel the tears of patriotism sting my eyes.

I don't feel patriotic today.

Today, I am just angry.

I think it must be nice to take a limo to work. My husband takes an uparmored HMMVEE. 

I think it would be lovely to stroll into the office at 8:00 AM. My husband is dressed and starting PT at 0530. Sometimes he is there at 0530 because he has yet to leave from the night before.

It must be delightful to choose from any number of 5-star restaurants in the Washington D.C. area. Neal routinely eats, without complaint, whatever is served in the chow hall. When a day goes crazy and he misses chow, he eats an MRE...which is nothing like tapas or Lunchables.

I can only imagine what it's like to have an assistant (or several) to help keep your calendars straight and your meetings on time. My husband has a small green notebook that fits in the cargo pocket of his pants and a Battle Buddy, who keeps him from becoming a target on the business end of an IED. 

I know it must be hard to leave your families in your districts when you travel to D.C. for business. Although every Soldier of the 352 willingly joined the Army, none of them wanted to kiss their parents, spouses, children goodbye for a year. They will miss births, weddings, funerals, graduations, so many moments that only happen once in a lifetime. 


I realize it's difficult to reach a consensus on critical matters, like the federal budget, when there are 536 of you. Neal and 50,000 other troops must communicate, coordinate, and cooperate or lives are lost and families are changed forever.

My prayer for you tonight is this: that when your driver navigates you home...through streets safe from car bombs, gunfire, tripwires...and you enter your home...which is climate-controlled and smells deliciously of lasagna and chocolate chip cookies...and you kiss your spouse and kids again for the first time since 9 hours ago...when you dry off from a hot shower and put on freshly laundered pajamas...when you lie down in your king size bed and snuggle up to the one who gives meaning to your life and the work you do...that you will think for just a moment about the men and women who are far from home...living in hostile territory, showering when they can, sleeping in a bunk, and kissing a photo of the one who gives meaning to their lives and the work they do. And then ask yourself,

Would I do any of that for free?

Which is what you will be asking, or expecting, of our military if you do not pass a budget by Friday. For me, the red, white, and blue are colors that will never fade and never run. You, leaders and lawmakers, are an embarrassment to the flag, our Constitution (which you should all be familiar with, as you spent an entire work day reading it aloud), and the American public. We are way past annoyed...we are disgusted. And if you ask the military and their families to sacrifice emotionally and financially, we will soon become a country without a competent military.

As a Captain's wife, it is not my place to debate our role in the Middle East...whether we should divide and conquer or run like Hell and try not to get caught in the crossfire. We follow orders and the chain of command. We do what we are told and attempt to keep the opinions and complaints to a minimum. We do this so that you may continue to pass laws, grant freedoms, and set budgets. You are not holding up your end of the bargain. You, clearly, have NOT got this.

May the sound of boots on the ground and Taps ringing out in the dark haunt your dreams tonight. May you wake tomorrow renewed and ready to think about the true American heroes. May you set aside the bickering, the childishness, the self-inflated ego and get down to the business of funding our military so you can continue to ride your limo through bomb-free streets and pass laws granting the freedoms which are protected by our United States Armed Forces.


51 comments:

  1. I laughed, I cried, I got angry. Well said!

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  2. I wish I had a way to get this out to the entire country! I won't get started on how I feel about the government, but this is screwed up and they need to fix it now! Thinking of you as always :)

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  3. Well said. Hopefully, it gets heard.

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  4. Very well said!! I am proud of all military and their families -- neither deserves to do all of that without just compensation while others live it up.

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  5. Feeling angry and unpatriotic right along with you!

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  6. I am right there with you. Well said, and it needed to be said. This government is a disgrace, and leaving the military families stranded financially, after all they do for the country, is disgusting.

    I'll be passing this along on Facebook - the message needs to get out there.

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  7. It gets worse...a lot worse.

    IF our Congress doesn't either pass a budget, or pass a bill to "float" the budget by midnight Friday, we will only be paid one week out of two on April 15th.

    IF our Congress takes more than one calendar week to either pass a budget, or pass a bill to "float" the budget, we will be paid NOTHING on April 29th. That's right - NOTHING!! DFAS is primarily supported by DOD civilians, and if the shut down lasts longer than a week, they will not have enough time to do their jobs to ensure the military gets paid.

    So. That one week of pay may have to last four weeks. Or more.

    IF you are a military family AND reside in the US, you can use your pay at discount stores and have more options of where to shop to stretch those dollars.

    However IF you reside overseas, the place where you buy groceries - the commissary - will be shut down. The place you buy everything else - the post exchange - will be shut down. The shoppettes are shut down as well. So not only will you have limited resources to spend, you will have no options to use those resources except on the economy. With a truly crappy exchange rate. American debit and credit cards are not accepted off post. You'll have cash - and that's it. And when it's gone - it's gone.

    This is a completely AVOIDABLE disaster, whose ripple effects WILL negatively impact our already unstable economy and will be felt by the entire country, and therefore the entire world. All because a relatively small group of wealthy, entitled group of citizens are more concerned about political power plays against their opposing party, than doing the job they pledged to do.

    And are constitutionally guaranteed to get paid for....even if we aren't.

    Pissed? I'm so beyond pissed that they are going to have to invent a new word to describe it!

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  8. Send it to your congressmen. They need to hear it. And everyone who reads it today should send it to theirs!

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  9. I don't know you, but as a military wife as well, I am completely disgusted. I, like you, have supported and defended the president on numerous occasions, and now I'm embarrassed. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Very well written.

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  10. PREACH!!!!!! I wish I had your way with words, you seem to be able to put down in writing what I am thinking in my head and feeling in my heart. But alas, I am but a scientist, and I have the writing and communicaiton skills of a 5th grader (on a good day).....

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  11. I wanted to write something similar this morning, but you said it better than I could have. I agree with every word.

    What amazes me the most is that these politicians all get on TV and point fingers and place blame and they seem to be forgetting a very important fact...this is not a game. It's not a pissing contest. They are screwing with people's lives here and that is just not acceptable.

    As for the president...I was a fan. I believed in him and I thought he would bring change. Well...he did, but the wrong kind. And now I cringe when I think about how much I defended and supported him. Turns out, he's just another fast-talking, slick politician out for his own agenda.

    I was watching Meredith Viera interview Donald Trump this morning and she asked him what he thought the president has done well. His response...get elected, that was the only thing he's done right so far. Love it...because it's so true. I think that's the first time I ever agreed with Donald Trump.

    So to the ladies and gentlemen of congress I say this...cut the shit, start acting like grown ups and get this budget done. If you can't, we're going to have to find some people who can come the next election.

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  12. Well said, friend.
    Unlike you, I never had the faith in the president...OR the congress. But I never thought it would be this bad. It's an embarrassment, really.

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  13. I'm sitting here in my pumping closet reading this on my phone, in here on purpose bc I got about half way down and started to cry. I'm sick for Neal and the hundreds of thousands of servicemen & women this will effect. Truly sickened. How dare they...really. I've been disillusioned by givt for a long time, and this is why. I never liked [bama...I said it....something abt him didn't sit well with me. Now he and all those self righteous assholes are damaging the lives of good hardworking |merican heros. Any schmo can out on a suit & wave to cameras

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  14. Well written. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Neal, your family, and all the servicemen and -women who have chosen to put their lives on the line for my rights, my way of life, and my safety. I'm forwarding this to my senators and representative. If anyone else wants to do the same, here's the links to find/contact your
    Representative: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
    Senators: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

    God bless all our armed forces and their families. And this country, which so needs it right now.

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  15. I wish I could articulate my feelings the way you do. AMEN to the 10th power girl. My thoughts are with you as always and my prayers with Neal and you as well. I am shocked, outraged and disappointed. Thank you for this and for saying it all SO well! oxoxo

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  16. so beautifully written. you are a hero in my eyes, as well as, I'm sure, anyone else who reads this prose. it's 100% the truth and we should all be as fired up as you are.

    kudos to you, and here's to praying that your thought, opinions, and words reach the people at whom they are directed. this needs to be heard and felt.

    xoxo

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  17. Sean works for Fort Knox through his contracting company and as of the end of business yesterday, he has no idea what to do on Friday. Does he go to work on Friday? Does he stay home? Whose reality is this that it's an option to just shut it down?

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  18. This is just infuriating to me! My thoughts are with you, and I hope something changes.

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  19. BEAUTIFULLY written!! i stumbled upon this but think that you have certainly hit the nail on the head. I'm a military wife also...saying a prayer for your family.

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  20. Beautifully said! I have shared with everyone I can think of!

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  21. Awesome post Allyson! Thanks for having our backs or 6's. This whole situation just sickens me.

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  22. Ally, this is a great post, but you need to send it to Congressman Tom Graves, 9th district of GEORGIA. He is willing to shut it all down to avoid funding Planned Parenthood - at least that is what he said not 10 minutes ago live on TV. Even if you hate PP, how can you compare funding that to NOT funding the military. It's time for all the idiots to let go of their pet hates, as well as their pet projects, and look at the big picture.

    And, by the way, the President proposes a budget (done) and the CONGRESS is required to pass one (not done) which the President then signs - or not. At this point, the only thing that the President can do is try to broker a truce. He can't actually DO anything.

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  23. You are AMAZING! I adore you and your way with words...I hope, I pray, that they get this thing done and done right. It's no secret, I'm not a fan of our current leadership but I am and always have been a HUGE fan of our military/families. Heck, I work for the DoD, this effects me too, not on the same scale, mind you. It's just beyond me how 'they' can't get this done yet expect our service men/women to fight for our freedoms for free...how do they support their families??? I'm in disbelief... Thanks Allyson, you rock!

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  24. From one military spouse, one US citizen, one woman, one mother, one american to another... WELL SAID!

    (I've been through 7 deployments in 4 years, its is a life that many of us now have. God Bless!)

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  25. Copy and paste on a social networking site like FB or Twitter- it will get out.. I fell the WORLD needs to read this..

    God Bless our Troops, and their families, for without them we would just be another Iraq..

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  26. I just want to say thank you. I am the wife of a petty officer and his pay is our only source of income. This whole ordeal is terrifying to me and I am not sure what we are going to do if all this really comes to pass.

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  27. You rock my socks girl!! Love you and praying for our troops, our country and the decisions that NEED to be made.

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  28. very well said... I am a USAF wife and overseas right now and all this crap will actually affect first the commissaries around us ... so we'll have to pay 2-3 times more for food,plus many of us have to live in the economy, because base housing it is not enough for all of us,and with no pay how we supposed to pay our rent and utilities?
    My husband's pay it's the only income we have.
    Funny enough I just sent my papers to become an American citizen,and for me not being an "American" going trough deployments,TDYs,16hours shifts and more I think I am doing GREAT.
    Just like me there are many many others,there are even military personal there are not Americans and they are willing to day for this GREAT country and now may happened to be for free as well...
    NOT FARE .....

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  29. Wow... thank you for writing this. I totally agree!

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  30. Deffinately well said. ty! My husband is also deployed. This has pur me in such high stress because I have a 2 and 1 yr old girl and am due in sept with baby number 3 and im high risk as it is. The stress alone is not good for my unborn child. Not only do I have to deal with mommy where's daddy,daddy missing us and the babies, Nd of course the stress and heartache of missing my husband and doing it all on my own, but now this. Its rediculous. I hope they get ehat is coming to them. So does this mean they don't get paid either . hmmm I wonder.

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  31. Frustrated, at a loss for words, heart broken, stressed, and just plain lost!.... These are just a few of my emotions right now. We just posed to Germany from the states stilly living in tlf. All I know and have to comfort me is sitting in this room. I don't have a car, I don't know the language, I don't know where to go, and to top off the FML list my husband is working 12's this weekend for free to catch and fix jets that our genius of a president ordered us to use to drop 14 $1.5 million bombs on a country that we have no business in especially when we are in a recession, fighting another war where we actually have business, and putting another country back together after a devastating tsunami... And you can't even get my pay check to us on time so I can find a house and get my family settled? Cause god forbid their was actually enough housing on base!

    I liked your words much better then mine but I really needed to get that out!

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  32. Thank you from an Air Force wife!!!

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  33. A friend of mine posted a link to this on fb with the caption "She says what we're all thinking" and my friend was right. You have said what every military spouse is thinking this morning - get your act together and you've said it well. Thank you.

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  34. I forward it to my congress men. Thank you for sharing your way of life with us. I'll pray for you and other family members that are in your shoes.

    Candace, your letters are on the way to Congress!
    Your email to Sen. Jon Kyl (R AZ) sent!
    Your email to Sen. John McCain (R AZ) sent!
    Your email to Rep. Jeff Flake (R AZ-6) sent!

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  35. The budget not being approved is extremely frustrating but I don't feel that it is necessarily Obama's fault. Apparently the democrats have compromised 70% to 75% of their own budget in favor or the Republican budget and the Republicans are all still voting against it based on a single clause. That seems to me like stubborn obnoxiousness. :( That being said our military men and women deserve the best.

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  36. Amazing, well said! I'm with the above poster. I'd love to e-mail this to my state congressmen!

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  37. There is nothing I can say to fix this.

    Your post was a terrific testament.

    It makes me feel sick that this shutdown could happen.

    I hate it.

    that is all

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  38. Brava - Nuff said - tweeting you.

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  39. Well said! I hope something is done about the budget.

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  40. Very well said, thank you for sharing this!

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  41. Thank you for sharing so eloquently what so many of us military wives are feeling!

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  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  43. This is beautifully written because this what so many Americans feel and can understand. Freedom is NOT free, unfortunately my family knows that all too well; RIP to my dear cousin KIA in Iraq.

    Thank you to your husband for his brave service and to you for standing by him.

    Thank you for writing this!

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  44. VERY well said. I intend on linking this post to my blog, because I want others to read it too!
    Janet @ http://wefourexplorers.blogspot.com/

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  45. This was a fabulous post, and I think it sums up what everyone was/is feeling.

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  46. wow. i found you through we four explorers. hi, i'm laura by the way. i am also a military wife. army to be exact. everything you wrote totally hit home and fits us to a T! my husband was shot in the arm during an afghanistan patrol in september, and re-enlisted less than 24 hours after being wounded while in his hospital bed. and as you said, it's a shame we have men and women willing to sacrifice everything. pay should not have to be one of them.

    wonderful words and such an awesome post. i would love to link this to my blog. i hope you don't mind :)

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