The U.S. House of Misrepresentatives on Tuesday voted 324 to 93 (with 13 not voting) to defeat a proposal to move a mere 10% of military spending to human, environmental, and health needs. The 324 people who voted the wrong way on this really should never show their faces in public again. Our society ought to shame them so deeply that they pick up and move to a country with healthcare and retirement and clean energy and a decent education system where they can discover what they've been depriving the United States of, as well as discover what they've been inflicting on the world. Certainly, nobody should ever vote to elect any of them again.
Data For Progress, for quite a while, seemed like it would be a progressive-except-for-peace (PEP) group, but to its enormous credit, it finally did a poll on military spending. And guess what it found? By 56% to 27% U.S. voters favored what the House just voted down. If told that some of the money would go to the Centers for Disease Control, the public support was 57% to 25%. These were predictable numbers, in line with similar polls for decades. In fact, support for moving funds out of the military has often been stronger. And these results were not achieved by progressive wording of the question asked. The polling question called the aggressive, counterproductive military machine "defense" and claimed that we were living in a time of "relative peace." (Maybe they meant you're not likely to be fighting your relatives?)
If you're wondering how your so-called Representative voted, check out the roll call. Or use this cheat sheet:
0 Republicans voted yes, 185 voted no, and 13 didn't vote.
1 Independent voted yes.
92 Democrats voted yes, while 139 voted no.
We need to thank the 93 people who got the easiest question in the history of the Congress correct, and we need to spank the others. RootsAction.org is setting up a page to allow you to do whichever is merited based on your address.
We also need to recognize two things.
1) The Republican Party is a disaster.
2) The Democratic Party is a disaster.
You're unlikely to hear this news from Republican-aligned media outlets, or Democratic-aligned media outlets, or any corporate media outlets striving to align with both of those parties even while pretending that the two parties are severely at odds with each other.
A significant majority of federal discretionary spending goes to militarism. This is most of what Congress does. And the two parties are aligned on the question of dumping endless funds into the war machine.
Among voters who identify as Democrats you get 70% wanting to defund the Pentagon, whereas among Republicans you get 50%. But among elected officials who identify as Democrats you get 40% voting to defund the Pentagon and among Republicans 0%. This would seem to suggest that in relative terms of misrepresenting constituents, the Democrats are not as awful as the Republicans. Actually I don't think that can be disputed, but I also think it can very easily be overstated.
The 40% of Democrats in the House who voted the right way were allowed to do so without great pressure from their party bosses precisely because the vote was expected to easily fail. The fraction of that group that would have stood by their vote had it been the single decisive vote and cast against the wishes of the "leader," is probably extremely small. The number of Congress Members publicly advocating for urging their colleagues to vote the right way was small. The number of House Democrats signed onto a resolution in support of moving a really significant amount of funding out of the military is not 92. It's 20.
We should especially thank those 20, even while building an independent movement to transform most of the Congress.