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One Nation, Under Served

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In one of his many explanations for the Iraq War, President Bush said that "we need to fight them (terrorists) there so we won't have to fight them over here." Little did Bush realize at the time he made that statement that his domestic policies are setting the stage for homegrown terrorists in his own back yard. One thing that terrorism experts agree on is the conditions that predict terrorism. The first is a growing poverty rate among the people. The second is ignorance, and the third is a complete lack of hope. There are many non-partisan studies that show a decrease in affluence in America, mostly among the middle class. Over a million families have slipped from the middle class into poverty since George W. Bush became president. That number will steadily increase as more middle management jobs are awarded to foreign workers being recruited to take those jobs for half the pay Americans are receiving now. Millions more have traded lucrative manufacturing jobs for low paying service sector jobs because of American industry flight to cheaper labor markets. As for ignorance, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment 2003, American high school sophomores ranked 24th of 38 in math, 19th of 38 in science, 12th of 38 in reading, and 26th of 38 in problem solving. These statistics only reflect teenagers in public, private and charter schools- they don't include the home schooled. As hackneyed as it sounds, the kids studied in this assessment are the future of our country. It was recently announced that my home state of Arizona has descended the ranks to dead last for education funding. In a state where the gun lobby holds a lot of sway, this is troublesome news. While I cannot say there's a loss of hope among the under served above, there is certainly a growing frustration. Working Americans no longer can access the avenues towards civil change because they're so busy trying to put food on the family table. Constant frustration leads to a loss of hope though. While many Americans find comfort from the church, there will come a time when even God will fail them and leave them ripe to fanatical messages about the extremes of government, similar to what would-be terrorists are exposed to now in the Near East. What Bush and his neo-con cohorts have created is a dystopian autocracy which has left not only children, but millions of tax paying, once proud adults behind. This is fodder for future terrorism. Obviously, we need to find ways to repair the damage Bush and Co. have done to the nation's internal infrastructure. However, such a mission will take many years. This is easier said than done. Presently, we don't have a base of young people educated well enough to proceed towards reconstructing our domestic economic structure, so it's likely that our great ship of state will be listing in an ocean of contempt for at least one more generation. It would be horribly ironic if, in the process of trying to defeat terrorism from one part of the world, we end up creating future terrorists on our own soil. It would be the greatest gift George W. Bush could give to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.
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Larry Sakin is a former non-profit medical organization executive and music producer. His writing can be found on Mytown.ca, Blogcritics, OpEd News, The People's Voice, Craig's List and The Progressive magazine. He also advocates for literacy and (more...)

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