I just came back from dropping off a petition from the folks in Greenville, SC sponsored by Move-On.Org, for Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) to stand against Bush and his plans to attack Iran. The people in the office were very pleasant and promised that they would forward the petition to the staff in Washington. They thanked us for delivering the petition and said that Rep. Inglis would see it. Now what he will do with it remains to be seen. I doubt that it will influence Rep. Inglis to vote against any bill that authorizes the use of military force, no doubt he will cite the threat that Iran poses to our “national security”, whatever that means.
Seems like everything that happens in the world affects our “national security”, come to think of it, wasn’t that the line that Adolf Hitler used a while back? Meanwhile, while the United States spends all of it’s wealth putting “boots on the ground” in all of the different countries that are affecting our “national security”, China continues to fund our wars (at interest) and beats us at our own game (capitalism). While the United States spends 50% of our budget on the military, China is subsidizing the shipping containers to send us “stuff” that we can sell at Wal-Mart to keep our people so involved with materialism that they don’t notice that our nation is practically bankrupt.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is a far better thing to see the American people busy with the latest Blue-ray DVD player than in the street protesting about American jobs being outsourced all over the world. Just because the American worker is averaging 60 hours a week to maintain an existence from paycheck to paycheck doesn’t mean that they should be suffering while they do it. At one time American families used to sit down together at the dinner table. Could you imagine how difficult that would be today? Besides, who wants to sit down with the whole family and hear them bitching about things? Isn’t a better life when you can just come home later on, after the kids are in bed, and eat a Big Mac and watch the football game on TIVO than to deal with all that nonsense? Just because Mom is working a swing shift so that the family can pay their credit card bills, that doesn’t mean life is bad. After all, isn’t it your fault that you spent all that money in the first place? That’s why Dad is working 20 hours weekly in overtime; he deserves to relax instead of dealing with “family problems”. The kids are doing just fine without Dad and Mom in their hair all the time, besides. It makes them “more independent”.
So when the President tells the nation that we have to do this or that for “national security” we have to believe him, right? Besides, who has time to keep up with all of the things on the news? How can anyone know what the hell is going on when you’re spending 60 hours at work and two hours on the road getting back and forth? You listen to some of the talk shows in the car. Don’t they tell you what’s going on? You know that you are lucky to be working, some guys you know just got canned from the “downsizing” that went on last month. You have better things to worry about, right?
Wrong. The trouble with the above scenario is that we have plenty to worry about. The middle class of America is quickly becoming extinct. The fact is that 10% of the population owns 90% of the wealth in this country. The sad part of this is that they are not investing it back into the American economy. The stocks that make up the portfolios of the rich are filled with multi-national corporations that are investing in companies in China and India. The companies that make up the petroleum industries are multi-national companies. The richest people in America are making money from the boom in manufacturing that has come out of China and India and other countries that have cheap labor. This isn’t benefiting the working-class section of our economy that is seeing job prospects dwindle while as the old saying goes; “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer”. Never has this been truer than in today’s America. Deregulation has caused mergers of companies and they in turn have squeezed out competition. No longer will you see start-ups than can effectively compete.
We need a government that is concerned with the needs of the people. These wars that we are fighting globally aren’t benefiting anyone except the oil companies and the defense contractors’. Bush gives huge tax cuts to the rich and most Americans walk away with a $250.00 check and their local taxes skyrocket. Young men and women that can’t afford college because their families make too much to qualify for educational grants, but make too little to afford tuition are faced with going to work at the local fast-food joint or joining the military to pay for their education. Meanwhile on a three-year hitch in the service they see two tours in combat zones and if they happen to make it out in one piece, they either get hit with extensions on their contracts because of a new “stop-loss” and another hitch in Iraq, or by this time they have a family or they are just too burnt-out to go back to school. Maybe some have the fortitude to continue, but too many do not. Those that elect to borrow on student loans end up with debt totaling tens of thousands of dollars. This is the world we are raising our children to face.
I hear many people say that the “old people” are the ones raising hell about the wars and the Republican right-wing. I can see why that is true. I met a retired Marine and a retired Army Warrant Officer in the last two days. Being retired from the Army myself, we had a lot to talk about. All three of us were against the war. All three of us considered ourselves “progressives”. That might open a few eyes. The majority of soldiers are supporting anti-war candidates according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The question I would like to ask all of these “arm-chair warriors” in Washington is why? Why are older folks protesting the policies of Bush and Company?
Maybe it’s because we have more time to read about what’s happening to this country. Maybe it’s because the people that are busy trying to raise families and survive in this country are just too damn tired and stressed-out to delve into the internet to get unbiased opinion as to what is happening to our world. When the only news people get is off of the corporate-controlled mainstream media or from conservative talk show hosts, it is no wonder that some people don’t understand what the truth really lies. I live in South Carolina, and when John Edwards speaks about the mills closing down and jobs leaving the country, there is no better example than here, where almost every town has a closed down textile mill.
I hate to kick a dead horse but I don’t believe the horse is really dead yet. Bush is still a dangerous man. The Republicans have learned nothing from his two nation-damaging tours in office. It appears that most of the Democrats have learned less. Hillary Clinton is still hunting with that “old dog”. The problem with this nation isn’t our “national security”, the problem with this nation is our “national identity”. We need to re-make America to be a competitor in this “global community”, not to re-make everyone into our image of how things should be. Our future, whether it is Global Warming or creation of new jobs, or finding ways to bring back America’s promise should be a greater priority than fighting a “Global War on Terrorism”. We will always face terrorists and terrorism, but we would face them better with a stronger, more prosperous America than constantly running around the world trying to stomp out brush fires.
This nation needs more freedom within its borders, not more government surveillance and control. We need new economic opportunities, not new bills to build bigger and better weapons. The time for change is now and it starts with us. Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, this nations standing in the world will not be upheld by waging war, our standing in the world will be determined by how well we plan for the future. Republicans are still mired in 9/11 and fear. We should be about taking part in out nation’s future because when all is said and done, we still have to live here.
That’s the way I see it.