Trae Crowder, the Tennessee comedian behind the Liberal Redneck character, posted a new video last week about supporting the troops — but not in the way you'd expect from a guy wearing a sleeveless tee in the middle of the woods.
Crowder's video was spurred by the 22 push-up challenge, an online campaign to raise awareness of the approximately 22 military veterans who die from suicide every day. Though the number may actually be closer to 20, according to CNN, there's no denying the prevalence of suicide among veterans is tremendous — and that's what Crowder talks about.
"For a country that makes such a damn show outta supporting the troops, we are pretty demonstrably doing a piss-poor job of it," Crowder says in the YouTube video.
From there, Crowder goes in about how it can take months for a vet to get in to see a veteran affairs doctor, "yet we can fly a robot rocket ship up a camel's asshole from the other side of the goddamn planet in a matter of minutes."
He also points out the massive disparity between how much the U.S. spends on acts of war versus how much is spent on returning vets — and how veterans who joined the service right out of high school don't always learn the skills to find work at the end of their deployment and campaign.
"I think it comes back to how we treat mental health in this country," Crowder says. "A vet comes home missing a hand and the whole community'll rally together to buy him a cyborg replacement where the middle finger rotates and plays Lee Greenwood and that's awesome. But when his buddy goes to his family reunion with psychological wounds, well now all anybody wants to talk about is how Aunt Deb really killed it with the deviled eggs this year."
The problem, Crowder points out, is that we as a nation are doing a poor job of addressing the deep psychological trauma that comes from military service. And if we can get better at helping our returning veterans, we'll be able to better address mental health as a whole.