As a part-time cashier working at a local grocery store, I earn $7.50 an hour. So, when the president mentioned in his speech that we will spend $30 billion this year to fight this ongoing war in Afghanistan, I felt the 'tea bagger' spirit rise within me. Do not worry, I refuse to turn to Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh since both are idiots.
I am sorry, Mr. President, I do not want my tax money going to fight this war. If the Afghans want peace it is up to them period to solve their own problems. Problems like a corrupt government, a fraudulent election and more importantly, the Taliban. Wait? Wasn't it Al Qaeda and not the Taliban who attacked us? Are we fighting the wrong enemy again? We already did so in our invasion into Iraq.
At this point, we have enough problems to solve right within our borders which are far more important to we the people, than what is happening a world away in Afghanistan. The terror Americans are facing are those who get sick and have no healthcare to speak of or jobs to support their families.
10.2 percent of Americans are out of work and in states such as Michigan, the rate is at a staggering 15 percent. Mr. President, address this issue before the American people and not what you wish to do in Afghanistan.
Millions who are unemployed or underemployed do not fear Al Qaeda. What they fear is the next bill coming to their homes which they cannot afford to pay. They most of all fear an eviction notice where many have worked tireless hours in search of their American dream. A dream turning into a nightmare before their eyes. Mr. President, you want to nation-build in Iraq and Afghanistan? Well how about we start to nation-build right here at home first as our citizens suffer so?
You have folks going to work sick in fear if they call up sick for work, they will lose that job. I battled a cold for weeks going to work with a temperature of 101 because I need this job. Thankfully, I am over it, but there are countless more who must do so in order to keep food on the family table and many and I mean many do not have any healthcare to speak of.
Each week, the union I belong to through my job sends out pertinent articles for its members to read and one really caught my attention. It is a column written for the Wall Street Journal by Jeanne Dugan titled: Working Two Jobs and Still Underemployed.
In reading this portion of the article the anger rose within: "Mr. Crane's electricity was shut off, he says. He paid the bill and had it restored. But he didn't pay the gas, which is about $175 per month. Instead, all summer, they cooked on the grill outside. Mr. Crane bought an electric hot water heater for baths and laundry. They lived that way for three months before finally turning the gas back on." Mr. Crane according to this column looked for work such as a "sanitation worker, bridge painter, tree cutter and transit worker. There were some factory openings, he says, but they pay less than Lowe's."
Before landing the job at Lowes selling lawn mowers, Mr. Crane was laid off from a job at a battery plant which paid $28 dollars per-hour before overtime.
Dugan also reported where Robert Reich expressed: "For decades, workers have been watching their salaries and benefits erode," He too, "took a pay cut of 8 percent along with the rest of the Berkeley faculty"
With the erosion of pay by countless Americans, why on Earth is our government fighting these wars on the backs of so many especially our soldiers who will continue to come home in flag-draped coffins? It is time to close up the war shop and bring our troops home.
On Thanksgiving Day, a family member of mine expressed her support for these wars because of 9/11 and does not wish another attack here on our soil. But, how long war? Is what I thought. We are fast approaching December 7th which is the anniversary where Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Are we forever at war with the Japanese? No, we just bombed them with nuclear weapons and called it a day and they soon surrendered. Everyone tends to invoke 9/11 while forgetting 12/07.
Speaking of nuclear weapons, while worrying about other countries having a nuclear capability, let history speak the truth where we were the only country to use two in war-time.
As millions of Americans sink into an economic and health quagmire, they are being forgotten as the defense industry makes out like bandits. As people's electricity is being turned off, defense contractors keep their war machines humming and at tax payer's expense.
Mr. President, you betrayed my trust in not putting an end to these wars. As I watched the Democratic presidential primaries, the true leader and one with conviction was Senator Mike Gravel. In an exchange with then Senator Barack Obama, then Senator Hillary Clinton and the rest of the candidates, he answered a question from the late Tim Russert, who asked if these candidates should suspend their campaigns to end these wars by stating: "If it stops the killing, then do it!" Meaning they should vote on cloture to end these wars.
Let us not forget that it was Senator Mike Gravel who ended the draft in Viet Nam by filibuster. Let us not forget it was Senator Mike Gravel who exposed the Pentagon Papers which proved the criminality of that war.