Sunday, June 1, 2014

What Is to Be Done?

            In my last blog I pointed out that Memorial Day is an annual opportunity for misrepresenting our history. We regularly claim that the very many wars we have fought during our 225 years that the United States existed were intended to defend our freedom. In reality our wars were fought to enhance our power in the world.
Pres. Obama made this very clear when he said in his recent graduation address at West Point that “America must always lead on the world stage.”
While I was writing that, an inner voice criticized: 'all you ever do is complain. Don't you have any ideas of what we should be doing?' That criticism stung because it has some truth to it.
Here is a proposal.
Instead of desperately trying to maintain our position as the most powerful nation on earth, we should put our own house in order.
Recently Congress appropriated $600 billion for the military. That was actually more money than the Pentagon had asked for. The motive behind this generosity for the military was not only a dedication to America's military greatness but also a concern for jobs. A good deal of our economy depends on our saber rattling, our wars, our going around the world as the big bully, arming a series of reprehensible dictators.
If we want to forswear playing that role, we should cut the military budget in half. The $300 million saved would have to be spent putting the people to work who lost their jobs making weapons or giving support in various ways to our bloated military.
Fortunately there is plenty of work to be done. There are roads and bridges to be repaired before they collapse. There are schools to be rebuilt, teachers to be trained and put to work to improve our schools. We need more social workers to keep track of children who live in troubled families. There is a crying need for detox programs for drug addicts. A recent report states that 40,000 houses in Detroit are dilapidated and need to be torn down. Someone needs to do that, and do it soon. The list of pressing domestic needs goes on and on.
How will we pay for that? Well we just happen to have $300 billion saved from military appropriations. That money should go a long way towards creating jobs – decent jobs – for all the people no longer employed in war industries. We should hope that some of that money will also serve to put people to work who have been unable to find employment since the 2008 economic collapse.
In addition that money will not be blown up in ammunition to bring death to people in foreign countries, but it will be used to make a better life better for many people here at home.
Once we give up the bizarre notion that we need to keep going to war in order to keep the peace, we may be able to make ours a better country by making life better for many Americans.
Here is one proposal to satisfy my inner voice.