What does it mean to be a progressive American veteran?


What does it mean to be progressive American veteran?  We get asked that question a lot here at VT.

by Tom Barnes, Staff Writer 

And it is a good question so lets look at some quotes from the some of the great human minds of the past few centuries. I stole most of these from Quote Garden (http://www.quotegarden.com/civil-disobedience.html). Essentially a progressive protests what he sees loudly, through action and through free speech. He does not conserve. He tears down the impediments to freedom that confront him. He is an actor, not a talker.

This is what we aim for here at VT. Why? Because the system, the government, the D.V.A., the veterans’ organizations, all of them and more, have largely failed us. And they failed us deliberately and with malice. Here are some progressive quotes…it should help anyone who reads this website understand our VT mindset better. We serve our fellow veterans by constantly screaming, "More must be done for them. They have been betrayed."


We just left eight years of an Administration that was perhaps the most insane we have ever had in this country. It appears as if a Silent Coup was taking place. Ongoing investigations are beginning to uncover layer upon layer of parallel governments communicating outside of legal government channels on a routine basis involving the most highly placed government officials possible for reasons still not entirely clear. Basic American rights and freedoms were threatened and abrogated. Is there a better reason for us as veterans to protest? I think not.

We were used, abused and misled for generations by the elites of both parties who used the Armed Forces to protect business interests both here and abroad that often ran counter to the best interests of the American people. We all see that here on this website. Do you begin to get a feeling as to why we say the things we do? Do you understand now why we are not afraid to stand on the margins of the veterans community and constantly scream that the Emporer has no clothes?

Read these quotes and you will get a flavor of what we try and do here, in our own humble way. We do it because we have served. And we still serve. Not by subservience, but by loud and never ending protest that right is right and wrong is wrong and that is just how it is, no matter who commits the evil or what position he may hold. He must be held accountable. It is my personal belief that prison sentences loom for some high placed "wonder kids" of the past Administration, only time will tell if I am right. They betrayed American veterans by willfully engaging in useless wars for secret reasons that had nothing to do with national defense. They must be brought to justice.

Thousands of young Americans have been and continue to be killed, wounded and maimed for reasons that clearly had nothing to do with defending our way of life. Why? This question is still largely unanswered. It was possibly simple tyranny by those in power for dark reasons still unclear and we are not out of the woods yet. Democrats can be just as tyrannical as Republicans. Politicians of all ilks are opportunists. We must be aware of that. Western civilization has never had any place for tyrants. They must be stripped naked in front of the populous for their crimes, no matter how well connected they might be to families involved in political dynasties.

And that is the job of old and wizened veterans. That is where our value is. That is our strength and our duty. We must scream the truth. We are the only ones who have paid the full price for that privilege. We are the truth seekers. We have already lost friends and loved ones. We must not lose our courage.

These are the kinds of thoughts that motivate the old and weathered veterans on this website. This is what we strive to be; ardent, sincere and true protestors of injustice over truth. These quotes were said by others by pour out of our souls.

Dare to do things worthy of imprisonment if you mean to be of consequence. ~Juvenal

Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one. ~Chinese Proverb

Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it. ~Albert Einstein

No radical change on the plane of history is possible without crime. ~Hermann Keyserling

When leaders act contrary to conscience, we must act contrary to leaders. ~Veterans Fast for Life

It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. ~Voltaire

If… the machine of government… is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it. ~Malcolm X

Human history begins with man’s act of disobedience which is at the very same time the beginning of his freedom and development of his reason. ~Erich Fromm, Psychoanalysis and Religion

Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may. ~Mark Twain

Integrity has no need of rules. ~Albert Camus

If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable. ~Louis D. Brandeis

Laws are only words written on paper, words that change on society’s whim and are interpreted differently daily by politicians, lawyers, judges, and policemen. Anyone who believes that all laws should always be obeyed would have made a fine slave catcher. Anyone who believes that all laws are applied equally, despite race, religion, or economic status, is a fool. ~John J. Miller, And Hope to Die

Disobedience, the rarest and most courageous of the virtues, is seldom distinguished from neglect, the laziest and commonest of the vices. ~George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists

And then there are others, like these:

To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men"

Abraham Lincoln


There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."

Elie Wiesel


And here is my favorite quote from my own grandfather, Thomas Carroll Barnes, Sr. He was the head mechanic for the bus company in Philadelphia and he never got past the fourth grade. He was without a doubt the wisest man I have ever known in my lifetime. When I was fourteen, the year that he died (1966), he told me this.

"You must never have a mind so open that your brain slides out."

I always try and keep my brain intact.

CWO3 Tom Barnes, USCG (Ret.)



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