Sunday, December 18, 2005

It's The Money, Stupid!

So much of what is wrong with this country could be fixed if we simply disengaged the money from it.

Elections, for instance.

How much different would elections be if they were publicly financed? Imagine an election where one actually had to run on the issues! As it stands now, you either have to be fabulously wealthy and buy your seat, or accept so much in donations that you (and your office)are sold to the highest bidders. These are our options today - you either buy or sell. Imagine a candidate that was beholden to his or her constituents, not to the special interests that financed the campaign (and will finance any re-election).

Imagine a Washington where K Street and Tom DeLay doesn't call the shots. Imagine addressing the problems facing the country without fear of angering the big donors.

But most of all, we need to get the money out of war.

If war were unprofitable, we would not be at war right now. There was not a war industry before Vietnam. In WWII, American industry was asked to do its patriotic duty and switch their factories over to produce war materiel. Americans were asked to do their patriotic duty and ration materials needed for the war effort. Because of privatization, we are disconnected from the fact that we are at war - all of us, of course, except the families of soldiers who have died. They are all too aware. If we were in a just and necessary war - that is, if we had been truly attacked - we should all be part of the effort. But as long as the war is just something we hear about on TV, like a not-very-interesting miniseries, the war profiteering machinery will continue to roll on for as long as they possibly can - indefinitely. And the profit motive is also what induces companies like Halliburton to do the unthinkable - to cut corners, or just outright steal taxpayer money, with the result that our fighting men and women receive substandard support - substandard food, substandard clothing, substandard armor. I can think of no more egregious, heinous crime - it is so grotesque that I can't even find the right words to describe how vile that is. And then there are the 'private contractors', or mercenaries, who make so much more money that our volunteer military, and are also given so much more in the way of support. How does that make our soldiers feel? It's obvious, from beginning to end, how little this government cares about our soldiers - from the cuts in pay and benefits, to the non-support once they're over there fighting, to the lack of decent medical care if they're wounded (either physically, mentally or both), and if they die - no respect, no care for the survivors - just empty platitudes and chicken-hawkery. I am just filled with fury when I hear the Resident talk about 30,000 Iraqi dead, 2200 Americans dead - and then go on to make a joke.

I wonder if Dubya even knows what 'dead' means. Someone should make him go look at a real dead, mutilated, war-torn body.

The day we get the money out of politics, out of war, would be the happiest day of my life.

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