He said this country has thrown him in the garbage. I worry that he will give up his fight before next Memorial Day and become another military statistic.

According to a recent study released by political scientists from Princeton and Northwestern universities, in the past five years alone the 200 most politically active companies in the United States spent $5.8 billion in lobbying and campaign contributions.

Their return? No less than 750 times their investment or $4.4 trillion in taxpayer support in the form of subsidies and tax breaks. In 2014, to remain competitive, Senate candidates had to raise more than $14,000 a day. Only .05 percent of Americans donate more than $10,000 in any election. So you can see who has the power to bend our representatives’ ears and who doesn’t.

This study was going to be the entirety of this week’s column. But I realized that it’s a little too late to do anything about our hijacked democracy.

Hopefully it’s not too late to do something about this:

Last week a Vietnam veteran from Beauregard Parish called the Southwest Daily News. He was in physical and mental anguish and he reached out to us with his story in the hopes of shedding some light on the abject failure of the United States of America when it comes to taking care of its warriors. This man wants us to know that 22 veterans a day in this nation kill themselves. That’s far more than lose their lives on the field of battle. This is a man who was drafted. He did not choose to go to Vietnam. But he went and did his duty with the understanding that his government would take care of him.

It hasn’t and it continues to fail him and thousands of others every day. On Memorial Day, I thought of this veteran who has written to and called his local, state and federal representatives and has written countless letters to the editor, all to no avail. He cannot get the medical equipment he needs. He has been misdiagnosed and ignored by the hospital that’s sole mission is to treat our veterans.

He feels abandoned.

He said this country has thrown him in the garbage. I worry that he will give up his fight before next Memorial Day and become another military statistic.

There is no defense for this treatment or lack thereof. A veteran should not have to call a newspaper to get his health needs addressed. And his story is just one of thousands. Our veterans should not have to drive hours to get health care. They shouldn’t be put on waiting lists for medical equipment they need.

For some of these men and women, the real war starts when they land safely on American soil. They are forced to navigate a disorganized and indifferent VA system.

They are unable to find jobs and those elected to represent them offer suggestions like “maybe veterans could sell cookies like the girl scouts.”

At last year’s end, the number of first-time VA benefits claims, unresolved for four months, sat at 250,000. That’s just plain ridiculous.

Though we don’t have the money those corporations do to lobby our representatives, we do have our voices and social media. We must all make it very clear to anyone who wants a vote from us for any public office, that we will not tolerate this any longer. Every chance you get, email your representative.

Post on their Facebook page and write letters to the editor. While I haven’t agreed with every military decision made by any administration, I know that I am obligated to those who serve under the orders given. And I want to them to come home and live.

If you want to chat, share a story idea with me or even holler (yell at me in all capital letters), drop me a line at hrwhite@sulphurdailynews.