It was not until I arrived in D.C. over a year ago that I became a news junkie, forsaking my hardcover classics and dog-eared volumes of poetry for the terse, fact-laden sentences of the AP, Reuters, New York Times, Washington Post and the Chrisian Science Monitor. As an undergraduate I studied literature and only minored in journalism, and now have had the privilege to study environmental science on the graduate level. As such, I also developed a habit of reading relevant journals, such as Science and Nature.
Unfortunately, as much as I am addicted to the news, it has unfurled in me an anger and wariness of our nation’s leaders and their “advertisers” that is now as second nature to me as breathing or blinking. Moreover, the damage that their collaborative legislation has done to our living planet, its species and our (humanity’s) ability to have a happy, healthy and safe future is so large as to be nearly infinite.
Our nation’s President has waged a war not just on Iraq or the “terrorists,” whomever they may be, but on his own country’s poor, its women and minorities, its elderly, its air and water, and our environment.
As elections approach, blogs and airwaves have been inundated with propogandist efforts to redeem the Republican image and maintain control of Congress. I want to remind people that we should not be sedated or easily swayed. We must do something very simple, READ. Then think. Then vote.
As a New Yorker who had a friend in the Towers on 9/11 and my own father missing in New York for a day, I want people to remember that Osama bin-Laden, a Saudi (NOT an Iraqi) attacked my hometown and hurt my friend. Iraq did not have a stake in 9/11 and all connections are a huge offense to the people who died or suffered that day. I want the public to be aware that since this war has started, over 2,500 of our soldiers have died, as well as over 100,000 Iraqi civilians, mostly including women and children. Iraq is less stable before we entered and Americans (including myself) feel less safe.
I want people to know that last year Congress passed a budget that cut tens of billions of dollars in federal aid to Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Medicaid, food stamps, FEDERAL FOSTER CARE and Head Start Programs while at the same time passing another massive tax cut (over $70 million) to families whose annual income exceed one million dollars.
Though issues such as abortion and gay marriage are often cited as the moral issues that will compromise our nation’s values, our President has charged ahead and proposed to write off the Geneva Conventions and has justified the torture of many who haven’t even been charged with crimes yet. Our government has subsidized a war that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent people at the expense of our domestic programs and our public schools. Our President allowed New Orleans to go under water and went on vacation while hundreds died despite dire warnings of an impending levee breach as caught on videotape. If all lives are precious, and abortion is abhorrent, why would the same people who want it ended vote to gut federal foster care programs, daycare programs, and medical programs for children?
The truth is, the present administration and Congress is counting on our ignorance and laziness to get away with these atrocities. We cannot let them if we dare to care about our children or other loved ones.