Veterans retire the colors at the conclusion of the mid-year session of the National Congress of American Indians at Mohegan Sun on the Mohegan Reservation in Connecticut on June 15, 2017. Photo: NCAI

Steve Russell: The GI Bill changed the United States for the better

The GI Bill ushered in a new middle class by offering education, housing and business benefits to returning U.S. soldiers. While the historic law did not break race barriers, Steve Russell, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, believes it provides a lesson for modern-day politicians like President Donald Trump:
The GI Bill changed everything.

When I was younger, I did not understand how controversial the WWII GI Bill had been in Congress. The Republican Party took on stopping what they called “the dole”—referring to the education benefits.

We went through a lower profile fight over the Gulf War GI Bill, with Republicans throwing up procedural obstacles. The heavy lifting was done by Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), but when it passed all the opponents were at the signing ceremony throwing elbows to take credit for Webb’s work.

Opposition toned down because speaking ill of the care and feeding of “our troops” is no longer politically correct. In the original GI Bill fight, the win could probably be attributed to the bonus marchers of WWI. While they were cleared out of Washington by force, the attack on the bonus marchers was a sorry history few politicians cared to repeat.

Read More on the Story:
Steve Russell: The Color of Affirmative Action Could Have Been Olive Drab (Indian Country Media Network 6/20)