Americans understand waiting in line. There are a lot of us who have many interests resulting in our congregation at various “choke points” through which we pass after waiting in line. I suspect we do not have the market cornered, internationally, on this phenomenon. So please excuse me if I take exception to the commentary by the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs relative to the wait at VA Hospitals for medical care by our veterans. My contempt for the opinion of Mr. Bob McDonald, the aforementioned Secretary has not been tempered by a day or two wait to frame these issues. Mr. McDonald, a West Point graduate and five year Army veteran, is a horse’s ass.
The quote. “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line, or what is important. What’s important is what is your satisfaction with the experience?” This in response to veterans who have extraordinary waits in VA facilities for medical care……an issue I have written about before. This from an individual charged with improving the timeliness and thoroughness of care to our veterans.
Wait lines, Mr. McDonald, can be characterized in several broad ways. There are lines you “want” to be in, such as a concert or a ride at Disney. There are lines you “need” to be in, such as applying for unemployment or obtaining a license for your vehicle. Finally there are lines you try to “avoid”, such as a line at Auschwitz where you were graded for extermination……or laying on the floor of a VA facility too sick to finally hear your name called for care. Mr. McDonald’s attempt at blurring these distinctions, relative to the life and death care of our veterans reaches new heights of callousness and flippancy. Again, from a man who was specifically selected to reduce these waits, improve care and send a message of genuine concern for his responsibilities.
A last point. Veterans are all honorary Missourians in that promises are viewed with skepticism. They are, deep down, conditioned with a strong “show me” attitude, believing it when they see it. In our history, well over one million veterans have required no follow up medical care as they died protecting this country. Many more, in numbers, carry the physical and emotional scarring that accompanies this deadly business of protecting America. Mr. McDonald’s remarks should earn him a one way trip back to Procter and Gamble, selling soap. There are very few lines in the soap peddling business.