Montana VA: Flying a Flag

Aaron Flint over at Montana’s leading conservative blog “The Flint Report” posted a column last week titled, “Vets Outraged as VA Flies LGBT Flag at Fort Harrison.” The column was about a LGBT (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender) pride flag being flown at the Fort Harrison Veterans Regional Office and Medical Center near Helena, Montana.

You can read Flint’s column HERE.

Flint was able to interview the VA Montana Health Care System director Johnny Ginnity who told him a “diversity committee installed the new flagpole” where the flag was being flown. He also said it was a mandate. As far as I can tell from the interview, the LGBT flag was not flown in place of the American flag, Montana flag, or the POW/MIA flag.

I don’t think any animals were harmed in constructing the flagpole, either.

Flint also wrote that Ginnity said the flagpole may also be used to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander month, black history month, breast cancer awareness, etc. By the way, Ginnity said that June was LGBT Pride Month.

Some veterans were outraged and Flint reported that the Montana Disabled American Veterans (DAV) commander Joe Parsetich wrote a letter saying, “A federal flagpole is not the place to make a political statement about a subset of veterans or special interest groups.”

The DAV is one of several Veterans’ Service Organizations (VSO) that supports veterans. It would be good if VSOs kept their eye on their primary mission.

I’m a veteran and I don’t really care if VA facilities have a flagpole to fly flags like the LGBT flag. In fact they can fly a pirate flag for all I care. Just do your damned jobs better.

People who are outraged are missing the big picture. Things to get “outraged” about are things like shoddy scheduling of appointments, claims being lost and delayed, treating veterans like second-class citizens, not enough mental health professionals, etc.

But, flying a flag/banner at the Fort Harrison VA got me thinking about some flags/banners that will probably never be flown anywhere on the Fort Harrison VA Center grounds:

  • First place for the shortest waiting time for new patient appointments
  • First place for smallest disability claims backlog
  • First place for the shortest time in adjudicating appeals

I’m sure my readers can think of others.

The Montana VA is not performing well. The whole VA system is not performing well. Although Ginnity is new at his job, I’ve not seen or heard of any substantial improvements. He should have cleaned house by now. The new Secretary of the VA should have cleaned house by now.

There are things to be outraged about, but the LGBT flag being flown on a special flagpole at Fort Harrison, Montana, is certainly not one of those things.

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