Maybe someone can explain to me how we all went from being optimistic and so hopeful about the 2008 election, to being so disappointed about what has happened over the past few years. OK, you’re right, it is likely that I wouldn’t listen. But that’s not the point.
When I awoke to the news that we were sending 100 troops to Uganda, it was like a bad dream. It’s not 100 troops, it’s a hundred people… probably young people. People we know, maybe even love. And what for? It has to be more than the Pentagon needed somewhere to send those people who were hanging around in the halls. Or maybe not. It’s clear that the Pentagon is making those decisions. The White House never does.
Yesterday at a NFL game the announcer stopped to salute the men and women who are serving in 175 countries around the world. I was appalled. Not because they wanted to salute the military personnel serving around the world. I was on the USO National Board and I love the troops. Why the Pentagon doesn’t take care of those who have served, (as well as their families) is an issue that is indefensible. We all agree that there is a need for much more than a free ticket for a football game, and a salute, but that’s not what upset me.
We are in 175 (now with Uganda 176) countries? What are we doing in all those places? Maybe they count includes Marine guards at Embassies, but where is our common sense? Martin Luther King had a dream. We can give lip service to how important peace in our nation and the world should be. And then we look around the world and we see there is not much peace anywhere. If we discount the police fighting with protestors, and we disassociate poverty and violence as part of a worldwide problem, we might find the dream. It is, however, unlikely.
We have spent billions of dollars on technology, developing weapons, and sending people and resources to people in other countries. Not all of those countries welcome our so called “support,” but we don’t even ask anymore. Well, maybe we ask corrupt leaders, but we certainly don’t ask the people. We eliminated our public diplomacy mechanism to do this. Let’s say we asked all the people in the world to raise their hands if they applauded an American presence. Then we asked all the people in the U.S. if they would rather send aide abroad or concentrate on fixing the problems we have here. Just think about the number of hands that would suggest we take care of our own infra structure, education, jobs, and health concerns. (We know no bankers or Wall Street Titans would lift their arms – but that’s a given.) As well as the number that hope we will just leave them alone and mind our own business.
It is extremely depressing to think about the consequences of our haphazard foreign and domestic policies, but think we must. And maybe even demonstrate our displeasure. And maybe even send a dollar to those brave and frustrated citizens, who have taken over Wall Street to express concerns, not only about wealth and greed, but about injustice and corporations breaking the law. Maybe we should bring all our troops home and send them to Wall Street to bond with other people who care about this country. We’re just sayin’… Iris