Friday, October 8, 2010
Thank You Abby!
Waterville Morning Sentinel, October 7, 2010
‘Bring war dollars home’ instead of closing schools
There is so much political chatter these days about reducing the size of government, about cutting back on spending in order not to have to raise taxes. That seems to be the main agenda of both mainstream and “tea party” Republicans. It is a message that has many Democrats running scared.
In the name of this thrift, we close down schools. We cut essential programs in the surviving schools. We thus risk raising a generation of citizens who are ill-prepared to meet the challenges of the future. We allow our infrastructure to crumble. We put off spending to develop alternative energy. We ignore the risks of global warming. We say that we can’t afford a public option in our health-care legislation.
But no mention is made in these discussions about the elephant in the room, which is the war in Afghanistan and the continued occupation of Iraq. Aside from the moral questions about whether these wars are morally correct, there is another one. Can we afford it?
I have a couple of friends who are going around the state with a banner that says, “Bring Our War Dollars Home.” They have been taking pictures of themselves with that banner, in front of closed schools and shuttered businesses. I think that their message needs to be heard.
A while ago, Time magazine had a picture on the cover of a beautiful young woman whose nose and ears had been cut off by her stepfather. The message was that this is what would happen if we left Afghanistan. But her real choices were sad. She could be stoned or mutilated by the fundamentalists, or she could be bombed, arrested or driven from her home by the NATO forces. It’s time to end these wars.