I am all about Christmas and the holidays. I love everything about it. But even the jolliest, kindest most holiday-spirited girl needs a moment, or perhaps a day, to just unload. That day is today. It's just days before Christmas, which can only mean one thing: Happy Festivus 2016, friends.
A Festivus for the rest of us!
In keeping with what has become tradition, December 23 is the day we join Frank Costanza in airing our grievances. In case you’re not sure who Frank is and what Festivus could possibly be, I’ll spare you FOMO (fear of missing out) and help get you up to speed.
I’ll let you decide if you want to participate in the Feats of Strength. Besides, we kind of live out Feats of Strength daily. (Hello, Murphy’s Law that always visits one week after your spouse deploys.)
It should be noted, in years past Editor in Chief Amy Bushatz led the charge in celebrating Festivus. I have it on good authority that her grievances remain relatively unchanged. Let’s take her list and raise it a few, shall we?
Festivus 2016: A Festivus Airing of GrievancesRepayment of Signing Bonuses. Over 10,000 National Guardsmen were recently alerted they must repay the enlistment bonus they received, after the US Department of Defense found evidence the California Guard mismanaged the program. We’re not talking chump change either, many were responsible for paying back upwards of $15,000 that they received several years ago because of someone else’s mistake. It should not have taken a media firestorm and a literal act of Congress to fix this. This should never have happened to start with.
We can say “they should’ve known their bonus was wrong” or give a myriad of ways to place blame at the soldier’s feet. However, when it comes down to it we all know nothing is black and white with military paperwork. In this case, families’ finances were being altered in unimaginable ways and the best idea they could come up with was to stick it to the troops. If there was ever a time DoD needed to suck it up and say “My bad,” that was it. These shenanigans get top Festivus 2016 billing.
The word “dependa” and any variation thereof. Listen, some of you have gotten so caught up in trying to identify military spouse stereotypes that you’ve become one yourself. I’ve witnessed some of the harshest, mean-spirited vitriol toward the military community come from the military community. It’s like some military spouses sit at home behind their computers waiting for the chance to jump down some unsuspecting spouse’s throat about something that, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t really matter. What is that about? As hard as you might try, no one knows another family’s situation. You don’t know what that person’s been through or going through. People may not always get things right, they may over share or need help. But they’re still sending their spouse off to war. They still have the same stresses that you do. Here’s a thought: if you have nothing better to do than argue with, point out and laugh at other people, perhaps you need a new hobby. Keyboard thugging is not a good one.
Appointments. Why does scheduling an appointment for my kids have to be so hard? I mean seriously. If I call you because my 10 year old is sick today, how is an appointment in six business days helpful? Why even bother? I dream of the day where military families aren’t forced to go to Tricare Standard and pay out of pocket just to get seen. At this point, I don’t even know if you have a great level of care because we can’t ever get an appointment to find out. I know I’m not the only person who has watched the clock strike 0730 so I could dial in for an appointment, only to be told no appointments are available.
And while we’re at it…
VA Hospitals. Things have been very quiet since we’ve found out about the practices of long wait times and other problems plaguing VA Hospitals across the board. A bit of communication could restore faith in VA Healthcare, knowing that moving forward you’re making our veterans' care a priority. Keep yourself on the list for Festivus 2016 only and raise the bar for next year, please?
Pay raises. The 2017 Pay Charts were recently released and, um, meh. While it’s always pointed out that we should be “happy” that we’re getting anything at all, when you’ve sent your service member to war for the last 13 years and consistently they’re “rewarded” (that’s sarcasm) with 1 percent pay raise many years running, followed by a "high" pay raise of 2.6 percent (more sarcasm there, thanks), virtually no movement in BAH (or lower in the case of many) and literally no change to BAS even though the cost of living is steadily rising, "MEH" is the best I can come up with. Especially knowing the people who approve the defense budget have no problem giving themselves raises and excellent benefits, including healthcare. I seriously doubt Congress is waiting 31 days to be seen by a doctor.
I could go on with my list, but I want you to get in on the fun. What good would it be to celebrate Festivus 2016 if I leave no room for you to air your grievances? Share your list in the comments!