My first VA trip

It’s been a while coming, but it’s finally time for me to seek help from the VA.  I’ve avoided this for a long time in the hopes that I would just get better.  I haven’t.

I have damage to my lumbar spine and PTSD.  So, my wife is helping me start the process.

First, we have both tried to start the claim with the VA website.  Ummm, that’s not the way to go.  We both ran into nothing but problems and confusion with the website.  Loops to broken pages, links that don’t work, etc.  It’s an unpleasant experience.

So, yesterday we went to the VA hospital by Pensacola NAB.  The first step was to fill out some initial paperwork and then wait.  We filled it out, took a number and then waited.  It took about 30 minutes to an hour for our number to be called.  We then spoke to a gentleman that looked over our paperwork, made copies of my DD-214 and then told us to come back the next morning at 6:30am to put our name on a list to see a VA advocate.

We came back bright and early at 6:30am and put my name on the list.  We then went home for about an hour because nobody is seen before 8am.

We came back by 8am and then waited another couple of hours or so to be seen.  We overheard that Friday’s just happen to be the worst day to come to the VA because all of the counselors, except for a couple, are busy doing paperwork on Friday mornings so that they can get done and get out for the weekend.

Once we got called back to talk to one of the advocates, it was a fairly short process.  She went over our initial paperwork, made sure I was in the computer properly, and gave us the task of gathering my medical records.  We also need to gather any other medical evidence that we can.  From what I could understand from the advocate, this will probably not be a short, easy process.

Here we go.

When do I accept the title of racist?

I’m a middle aged, that’s weird to say, white male.  Growing up, I never considered myself as a racist.  I didn’t see a specific type of person and think anything that covered a whole race of people.  I had friends, or at least acquaintances of all types.

The first time I was accused of being a racist white guy was in Army basic training.  I needed something from a specific drill sergeant, but I didn’t know his name.  I described him as the black drill sergeant.  He was the only african american drill we had.  I then spent at least an hour doing push ups and being accused of being a racist.  Thinking about that now, they never did tell me how I was supposed to describe him.  That was in the 90’s.

It’s now 2015 and I still don’t know what words I can use and which ones I can’t.  From watching the news and other media it appears that it really doesn’t matter what I do or say.  I, and others like me, have been deemed to be the enemy by default.  It’s almost as if there are people that want me to be a racist whether I am or not.  It feels like brainwashing.  If I’m told that I’m racist for long enough, then eventually I’ll accept the title and act accordingly.  Then, I can truly be called an enemy.  Interesting approach.

I’ve only mentioned one incident here, but there are more than I can count.  Both on the job as a police officer, and personally.  So, I’m truly interested.  What do I do?  What am I?  Am I automatically racist because of my skin color?  Do I have a choice?