PROBLEMS IN SEARCH OF A SOLUTION

By Thomas D. Segel tomsegel@joimail.com

Harlingen, Texas, February 17, 2004: - The United States boasts a combined military community of active duty personnel, reservists, retirees, veterans and their families. Though the exact number of people making up this community is unknown, it is agreed the total would surpass 40 million voters. Unified they could be considered a powerful political force that any political party would eagerly court.

Other political action groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the AARP and even the loosely affiliated Moral Majority have all united in a quest for a common group and advancing their particular public concerns.

This has never been the case within our military community. They differ on more things than the branches of the armed forces which they served, or the military occupational specialties that allowed them to ply their crafts. If the antidotal messages I have received by the hundreds are indicative of the national problem, our military family community has failed to unite because individually, their specific problems were not on the top of the political issue pile.

Those who are concerned about improving military and veteran health care see that matter as paramount. Those who worry over lack of attention to reserve and National Guard matters have a different agenda. Widows who feel discrimination over reduced survivors benefits want that flag flying the highest. And disabled military retirees see the primary issue as being a removal of the 100% tax on the disability compensation.

Military members whose lives were disrupted by divorce want to see fairness applied to the distribution of their retired pay, while those who feel they should be able to seek court action in many disputed cases feel wronged by the rules of the Feres Doctrine.

Atomic veterans who served as national guinea pigs want true recognition and fair treatment, while many veterans feel maters such as hospital access; medications, training and education have languished in limbo forever. Added to this maze of concerns is the undisputed fact that every group feels his or her issue should be first out of the starting block.

Attempts to bring these many concerns to the national stage have met with limited success. In most cases those seeking public office, regardless of party affiliation, were concerned about veterans and the military during the course of their campaigns. When the votes had been given a final tally and the politicians were sworn into office, the concern vanished faster than kids scatter at the final school bell.

A variety of grass roots Internet groups have formed in an attempt to give supporters some degree of political clout. Class Action lawsuits have been filed, only to be crushed by those in the seats of power. Other actions in the form of the Veterans Voting Bloc and a number of Veterans Party organizations have formed for the same purposes. None have obtained enough strength or meaningful direction to be of concern to the two major political parties.

Retired Army officer and Texas attorney Philip E. Jones Jones philipejones@earthlink.net has developed a fresh idea. He has been deeply involved in most of the movements already mentioned and sees in them an inability to attract the majority of the military community. He is now floating a plan he calls The Patriots Coalition.

In formulating his idea, both major political parties were examined and it was determined the anti-war, anti-military positions projected by Democrats did not leave that organization much room to support the many issues important to military related groups. It was felt the objectives of the Patriots Coalition could best be reached by affiliation with the Republican Party.

Said Jones, The goals of the Patriots Coalition are to work within the established Republican Party to accomplish three things:

First, to alter the party platform over a period of five years to reflect the actual will of the people in company with conservative platform proposals. He suggests this can be accomplished by electing coalition members to the party hierarchy by having them become active members of that political base.

His next objective is to expose the organized socialist movement in this country through the Progressive Caucus in Congress. He wants to bring public awareness to the problem by highlighting the support, affiliation and actions taken by members of Congress who have aligned themselves with the Socialist Democratic Party of America.

Finally, he wants to use the Patriots Coalition to educate the public regarding numerous inequities perpetuated on the veterans of this country in order to gain their support and affect needed changes to correct these problems.

Philip Jones hopes to use the Internet, talk radio and all interested conservative media to grow the organization throughout the country. His mission is to motivate members to go beyond simply voting for candidates and get them to take active roles within the Party. As our members get elected to key positions throughout the country,” he says, “they will propose platform changes to reflect our positions on various national topics.”

The most ambitious of his ideas is to wage a concerted attack on the liberal media by creating a Patriots Coalition Mutual Fund; with the goal of buying controlling or major interest in liberal media outlets and converting slanted news coverage to non-biased presentations. “The presumption here is the American people will be able to discern the truth as presented in a non-biased manner, and make the right choice regarding whom to vote for. In essence, we intend on making the Republican Party what it should have been all along,” he concludes.

In the United States today there are many veterans' problems in search of a solution. Time and time again those who gave the most for their country have tried to place their concerns on the national stage, only to find everyone had forgot them. Another attempt is being made with the Patriots Coalition. Well it works? The only people who can answer that question are the veterans.