On the day after the 2006 elections, I wrote about my cousin Stephen, a captain who had left the Air Force because of the toll frequent wartime deployments took on him and his family.
When I spoke to Stephen and his wife, both conservative Christians, they were clearly weary and demoralized, but happy to be out of the service and starting the next chapter of their life.
But things have gone poorly since then.
Stephen was unable to find work that allowed him to support his family and still be the involved dad that he wants to be; as I understand it, the best job he could get was as a commercial pilot, which took him away from his wife and two children for long periods of time. Even that job apparently disappeared, though I don't know the details.
Earlier this week, my mother told me that Stephen has decided to rejoin the Air Force; as she describes it, he had no choice. He was a jobless father and vet in an economy that is in the process of falling apart. The Air Force, which he seemed to hate by the end, is apparently the only option he has left.
And that, to me, is our country's crisis in a nutshell. It's heartbreaking.
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