Updated on October 5, 2016
It’s no secret that I’m not a Trump fan. In fact, this will be the first election in my memory where I refuse to check a box for president. I’m a #NeverHillary guy, but Trump may change my mind about him after his first term (yes, I think he will ultimately win the election). No candidate has my vote. It is earned, not expected, so don’t even bother me with that social brainwashing line that “not voting for Trump is a vote for Hillary” nonsense. Not voting for Hillary is not voting for Hillary and not voting for Trump is not voting for Trump. To assume otherwise is to assume than any candidate automatically has my vote before they even run for office just because they have a certain letter behind their name come election time. I’m a small government guy and neither candidate in my mind represents small government. They simply represent big government right or big government left. I’ve also stayed quite objective, praising Trump when due and criticizing likewise.
That said, all this media hype about Trump’s remarks on PTSD are completely out in left field, baseless and dishonest. I think Trump was right in the totality of what he said and when taken in context. As someone who has fought his own demons associated with PTSD as well helped other troops afflicted, I understand what he meant and he was spot on.
Let’s first hear what Trump said in his own words (and man was it difficult to find the full context without the media’s creative editing):
Here’s what Trump said: “When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come from war and combat, and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over, and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it. And they see horror stories and they see events that you couldn’t see in a movie; nobody would believe it.”
Anyone able to think critically and possesses an understanding of PTSD – without the prism of media and Hollywood bias – would see what Trump was saying here. Let me break it down.
The fact of the matter is that PTSD is a response to stress, specifically a traumatic event or set of events. It is no different than a rape or car crash victim who suffers from the disorder. Everyone that survives these ordeals, including combat, are very strong. Trump isn’t saying that just because some people can’t handle that they aren’t strong. He’s saying that some people can’t handle it. And he’s right.
Winston Churchill’s personal physician during World War II analyzed where “shell shock,” or PTSD, comes from: “a man’s will power was his capital and he was always spending, so that wise and thrifty company officers watched the expenditure of every penny lest their men went bankrupt. When their capital was done, they were finished.” Obviously, will power is different in every person. Some are more richly blessed than others.
Think about it. If everyone could handle the events that lead to a diagnosis of PTSD, would there even be PTSD? If everyone could handle PTSD, would we need counselors, programs, and mentors? Now, that’s not to say that no one with PTSD is capable of dealing with life without those things. They all have some sort of help, be it family, friends or meaningful distractions. They are seeking treatment and finding people that help them “handle it.” Unfortunately, there are a lot of people – at least 22 veterans per day – who can’t handle it. There are those that deal with their demons with alcohol, engaging in risky and adrenaline charged activities, or taking part in other reckless, criminality. Those are the guys that can’t handle it. But, Trump isn’t calling these people weak.
And Hillary has the unmitigated gall to go out and feign outrage while suggesting that Trump doesn’t support veterans or that he thinks they are weak. She seized the opportunity to also take Trump out of context.
“Donald Trump’s comments are not just ignorant, they’re harmful,” she said, raising concerns that such remarks increase the stigma surrounding mental health.
“Every one of our troops matter. Their wounds could be visible, or they could be invisible,” Clinton said.
I wonder how many of the survivors in Benghazi are afflicted with PTSD because Hillary and Obama refused to send backup. How many survivors of those brave men that died think that Hillary truly believes “every one of our troops matter?” If her boss, Leader Obama, cared about veterans, why is the VA worse off today than any time in decades? Do you know how a Hillary presidency would affect veterans? One only needs to look at how an Obama presidency HAS affected veterans.
A 76-year-old veteran committed suicide on Sunday in the parking lot of the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Long Island, where he had been a patient, according to the Suffolk County Police Department.
Peter A. Kaisen, of Islip, was pronounced dead after he shot himself outside Building 92, the nursing home at the medical center.
Why Mr. Kaisen decided to end his life was not immediately known, but two people connected to the hospital who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss his death said that he had been frustrated that he was unable to see an emergency-room physician for reasons related to his mental health. “He went to the E.R. and was denied service,” one of the people, who currently works at the hospital, said. “And then he went to his car and shot himself.“
What the media refuses to cover is that Trump understands the pain of troops with PTSD and has a plan. Whoever the new president is will have to undo the damage that Obama has done over the past eight years, including restoring funding to PTSD treatment programs. One such program with a phenomenal success rate in graduates at Fort Hood, the Warrior Combat Stress Reset Program, was cut over 60%!! I know, because I’m a graduate. I haven’t spoken about this publicly, but this program literally saved my life. I had tried to commit suicide in late 2013 prior to being admitted (no, not with a gun either). I had a major relapse and needed help. After graduating from the program, I’m in a better position than I’ve ever been before.
Trump is saying he is going to restore what Obama has broken and he said as much when he followed up, saying, “we are going to have a very, very robust level of performance having to do with mental health. We are losing so many great people that could be taken care of if they have the proper care…When you hear the 22 suicides every day, that should never be. So, we’re going to be addressing that very strongly and the whole mental health issue. It’s going to be a very important issue when I take over and the VA is going to be fixed in so many ways…In many respects, that’s going to be the #1 thing we do.”
If those with PTSD could “handle it,” we wouldn’t need mental health in the VA. I realize that it’s a difficult truth to admit, but it is the truth.
War is hell and inhuman. I’ve written and talked about this often on this blog. Having to kill another human being is a difficult thing to overcome. For some, killing people is easy. For other, it isn’t. That in no way makes either category of person bad. When in combat, killing should be easy or you die, but it’s not for everyone. Susan Mendus, a political philosopher, talks in her book Politics and Morality about how some people attribute virtue and integrity to their very identity. To some, not killing another man is just that virtue, but when they are forced to do so, they feel as if they have given up a part of who they; that they have lost a part of their soul. This is what can lead some to experience PTSD and it’s something they can’t handle. Trump was 100% right and anyone who objectively listens – whether they support him or not – will understand that.