I was raised by my grandmother and grandfather, both members of what we have respectfully come to know as "The Greatest" Generation," so what I have to say about that generation is not easy for me to do . . .
Our "Greatest Generation" fought foreign wars in Europe and Asia, fought for workers' rights, fought for womens' liberation, and fought against social justice and equality in our own country. This generation gave their lives and their livelihoods for the American dream, and in return, when they retire they receive pensions from their employers, financial help from their government known as social security and medical coverage and treatment from their government, either through Medicare, Medicaid or the VA. But now, this "Greatest Generation," who was so willing to sacrifice for the greater good of their generation so many years ago has turned a selfish blind eye to future generations as we let so many of those things they fought for slip away.
Depending on which polls you look at on which day, seniors prefer Mitt Romney over President Obama by between 4% and 20%, so there no doubt that our "Greatest Generation" heavily favors the GOP ticket, a ticket that is telling America that we need to do away with the very programs and social safety nets that the Greatest Generation fought so hard for. If Mitt Romney wins in November, it will be in large part to the votes of senior citizens voicing their opinion that the programs their generation is living off of right now are too good for their children and grandchildren.
The Greatest Generation fought foreign wars in Germany, Japan and Korea. Our involvement in WWII lasted five years, and when our men and women were released from serving their country overseas, they were greeted with the GI Bill, which gave vets low-cost mortgages and paid college tuition.
My generation has served in foreign wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iraq (again). Our second war in Iraq lasted almost twice as long as our involvement in WWII, but when congress convened to pass a second GI Bill to the vets of that war, GOP hawks who never served a day of military service in their life like Paul Ryan voted against legislation that provided critical funding for veterans health care, including funds to enhance medical services for active duty forces, mobilized personnel and their family members and $1.7 billion for veterans’ health care priorities including maintenance at VA health care facilities like Walter Reed.
Now Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's budget is calling for a 20% cut in VA spending, but a $2 trillion increase in active military spending and is rattling the sabre in the face of Iran, Syria, North Korea and Russia. The last thing we need is to send young men and women to another foreign war and then dump on them when the come home -And yet the retired military and VFW members across the country are going in droves for the Romney/Ryan ticket. That is not reflective of the "Greatest Generation" that I know.
When our men went overseas to fight in WWII our women stepped up and did the hard jobs in factories and ship yards that kept our nation afloat. When the men came home and used their GI Bill to go to college, land good-paying jobs with benefits and pensions and then buy housing, those women stepped aside and returned home to raise families, but just a short walk down the road they were instrumental in paving the way for womens' liberation in the workplace and in social issues.
The women of the Greatest Generation led the fight for the right for a woman to choose and to have autonomy over her own body. They led the fight for a woman to receive equal pay for equal work in their place of employment - But now our Greatest Generation is willing to throw those hard-earned rights into the trash and move womens' lib back 50 years by voting in Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, who believe that old men in Washington should make personal family planning choices for the women of today while allowing them to earn less pay for equal work. The Greatest Generation is helping to move us backward.
Social Safety Nets
Social security was designed to be part of a three-legged stool for retirees to stand on when they reach that age. The first part was their personal savings, the second; their pension, the third; social security. It also provided benefits to the survivors of an untimely death. Now the Republican ticket, heavily backed by seniors who are collecting social security (62 million) relying on Medicare benefits (39 million) and who attend the VA for treatment (6 million) are willing to vote in Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan who believe that social security is a Ponzi scheme and should be privatized, that Medicare should be voucherized and capped and who want to cut spending to the VA by 20%.
The "Greatest Generation" is willing to put their faith in a man who made his fortune buying struggling businesses, suffocating them with debt, then forcing them to first cut benefits and pensions and finally to unload employees so that he and is company could make millions.
Greedy, selfish people like Mitt Romney are precisely the reason why employers no longer offer pensions, but rather risky, low-reward 401K programs instead. If we had taken Paul Ryan's advice during the Bush years and privatized Social Security, every senior would have lost their ass and they would be living in their grandkids' basements right now.
If the "Greatest Generation" is willing throw out the social safety nets they so heavily rely on for their own children and grandchildren, we will be left with a one-legged stool made up entirely of our savings - no social security, no pensions, and limited, if not depleted Medicare coverage.
With the cost of college unattainable for most middle class families without affordable loans and government grants, today's generation their will enter adulthood saddled with personal debt that the Greatest Generation never knew.
Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney want to cut Pell Grants to middle-class and low-income families and think that if a child wants to go to college, they should simply "borrow from their parents" like Mitt did. Mitt's father was a multi-millionaire and Paul Ryan paid for college with his father's Social Security death benefit.
Barack Obama has increases the amount of financial aide available to more than 7 million more college students and his party has lowered the interest rate on student loans by eliminating private parties making hand over fist profits.
The Greatest Generation used the GI Bill to attend college virtually free because they rid the world of Nazis, but my generation, and the next generation who is trying desperately to rid the world of Al Qaeda and police terrorists across the globe are faced with rising tuition and employers who refuse to offer pensions and are willing to ship the jobs of our vets to China if they even smell the hint of a bigger profit - And this is precisely how Mitt Romney made his millions.
The Greatest Generation proudly wears their VFW hats and displays their American flags high in their front yards, but they are all too willing to vote in Mitt Romney, who has shipped more jobs to China than UPS will ship Christmas presents this year. The Greatest Generation is willing to vote in Mitt Romney because they perceive the GOP as being "tougher" on immigration and a truer patriot compared to Barack Obama - despite the fact that President Obama has deported more illegal immigrants than any other President in American history - And let's not ignore the fact that Mitt Romney is NO patriot, keeping millions of dollars in the Cayman Islands in order to avoid American taxes (this makes sense though, since his family emigrated here from Mexico). That's right, the Romney's fled America about 100 years ago so they could practice polygamy in Mexico without persecution, and only crawled back into America when the civil war in Mexico became too dangerous for Romney's grandfather and his five wives.
I know for a fact that the members of the "Greatest Generation" in my own family are having a difficult time on a month-to-month basis despite the fact that they have a three-legged stool made up of Social Security, personal savings and a pension to stand on. If we vote Romney/Ryan in 2012, future generations will have to do with two of the three legs on that stool missing and a heavily-depleted third leg trying to hold us up.
I respect what you did for your generation, but if the "Greatest Generation" doesn't start looking out for future generations, the history books of tomorrow may have to rename you the "Greediest Generation."