This is a troubling story of what is happening to America; what we, as a nation and a society, have now become. It shows how the twisted and misguided priorities that our government has adopted put the pursuit of war above all else, certainly above the welfare of our citizens. This story and many others like it clearly illustrate the depth to which morality in America has descended; a dark time in our history.
The PhilipJ. Rock Center, located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois (President Obama's home state), is the state's sole facility dedicated to providing services for children who are both deaf and blind. The Center houses 14 children between the ages of 6 and 21 that are currently classified as legally blind and deaf, with some being disabled. The Center also provides badly needed services to some 428 deaf and blind children around the state; children who live at home and are enrolled at local schools or special education facilities.
For the second time in three months, this facility is threatened with closing because the normal funding that it receives from the State of Illinois is not being allocated. Their operating costs are about $1.3 million per quarter. If the needed funds are not received in early August the facility will likely be closed. In another tragic twist to this story the officials of RockCenter have been attempting to obtain another line of credit from banks to keep the center running. But the banks are not at all receptive to loaning money to any institution that receives funding from the State of Illinois because of its dire financial condition. And, if you think that the banks would make any exception to this rule because of deaf and blind children, then guess again.
The fact that a state-funded agency, whose sole function is providing essential services to deaf-blind children, is threatened with closing due to a lack of funds while at the same time our government is allocating over $1 trillion annually for the Pentagon war chest is morally repugnant and unconscionable. Under these conditions, this agency and many others will eventually have to close their doors forever. And that's a sad comment on the state of this society.
These are America's children; they desperately need help, they depend on others around them for specialized care; they should be a first priority but our government in D.C, which continually approves billions upon billions of supplemental appropriations for our wars, refuses to help out our states and gives no priority to these children.
While this nation and the states have numerous problems, this article will concentrate on our children, those whose future is now threatened by the militaristic course that our current government inherited from the Bush administration; but one that our current president is pursuing even more aggressively. What priority can be of greater importance than the safety and welfare of our children? None, but our leaders in Washington don't think that way. Their greatest priority lies with their "resource wars" in foreign nations.
Nearly every state government in America is now mired down in massive debt and many are nearing financial insolvency so they are, naturally, looking to the Obama administration to help them restore stability just as was done to bail out the corrupt Wall Street financial sector. Talk about a complete mix-up in priorities; listen to this account of what is going on in our Congress as related to the issues of war funding versus needed funding for the states. This part of our story exposes our government in Washington for what it is; a cesspool of favoritism and corruption in which our elected representatives shamelessly grovel and feed at the trough of tainted campaign contributions from Corporate America while refusing to address the critical problems facing the American people.
President Obama, who had vowed to end the former Bush policy of requesting supplemental appropriations for the war, reneged on this promise (what else is new?) and recently requested additional war funding of $33 billion. The U.S. House, which doesn't like supplementals, went ahead and initiated legislation, but added $20 billion to the bill for state programs and services, for school districts to avoid teacher layoffs, for Pell grants to low-income college students, and summer jobs programs. It then was sent to the Senate.
The U.S. Senate proved that it is morally corrupted beyond repair; after minimal discussion, it returned the legislation to the House. However, in doing so, these so-called representatives of our democracy, led by the GOP but also aided and abetted by a group of spineless democrats, stripped all aid to the states but retained the entire $33 billion for the war funding.
At that very point, if he had the courage and conviction, our president should have sent this message to Congress: "We need the war funding to carry out our military objectives in Afghanistan, but we must also think of the plight of our states and their responsibilities to those in need; so I strongly urge you to pass the entire bill, including aid to the states." But, he did not! He will take the funds for war; he refuses to stand up for the states and the children.
The House, upon receiving the stripped-down bill, could and should have, with the majority control of the Democrats, voted it down and insisted that the grants to the states be restored. But it, like the Senate, once again took the easy way out, passed the legislation and granted President Obama (you will remember him as the Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2009) yet another supplemental appropriation to carry out his illegal, immoral war in Afghanistan.
Did our elected representatives agonize over these issues when making their decisions? What do you think? Well, they know exactly what they are doing. They fully realize that these billions for war will result in the deaths and wounding of more and more U.S. troops; they know that innocent men, women and children in Afghanistan and Pakistan will needlessly die; and they know that, with their decisions, they are bringing great harm to the children of America. And, with that knowledge, they still raise their blood-stained hands, say, "aye" and vote for more war.
That says it all: forget the social services for children, forget the teachers that school our children; while you're at it, senators and representatives, forget the police and firefighters who protect our children, and just let the children fend for themselves. Only craven cowards behave in such a manner.
Have they no shame, no sense of decency? What else can we conclude, given this unethical, immoral, and callous indifference to the welfare of our children?
Just this: we have now reached a very low point in our nation's history where, in the highest levels of our government, ethics, morals and empathy for those in need are no longer relevant.