Posted in Comedy, Tragedy and What the F...?

Bread, Bombs and Bullshit

iStock_000014146004XSmallAs the sabers rattle in our nation’s capital and the argument is made for retaliation against the violence perpetrated upon the Syrian people through chemical attack, the pulse of everyday America beats to a different heart. A war-weary nation still struggles to get on its feet from a kind of violence wrought by the greed and corruption in our highest financial sectors. Those crimes against humanity have gone unpunished. Retaliation is best served “profitable,” as in fodder for a military industrial machine or companies with trusted household names like Halliburton.

Meanwhile, back in America’s backyard, food insecurity is directly related to unemployment and poverty and is fueled by hopelessness. A country that allows its seniors and children to go to bed hungry seems to me the greater violence that begs to be addressed by those in power.

In one breath, the winners and losers mentality of our highly dysfunctional congress bemoans the distribution of food stamps, even though over 16 million of our own children are hungry. In the next breath, there is somehow money for bombs and drones and things we can do to assure that retaliation is had for Syria’s lack of morality. 1,400 people were ruthlessly hurt and killed in a country whose leaders have made power more important than human life. But what of our own leaders who turn the other way so as not to be impacted by the violence of poverty and hunger that perpetrates its devastation in every single county in America? Where is the outrage against that? Where is the war on hunger and unemployment?

“President Obama is not asking America to go to war,” said John Kerry…then added, “This is not the time for armchair isolationism. This is not the time to be spectators to slaughter.”

So how is it that Washington can be a spectator to the slow slaughter and scourge of hunger in this nation? How can they debate who dies or gets sick from lack of nutrition by cutting food programs—because we can’t just keep printing money, damn it– but we can print the money to go to war? You want to satisfy grabbing your nuts and grunting while the war drum beats? Fight the real war– the one here on our own soil that needs fighting. Fight for jobs at a livable wage. Fight to end hunger so that no child ever goes to bed with the pains of hunger or struggles to stay focused in a classroom that is blurred by the suffering of not enough nutrition to run their little brains. If you can spend money on bombs to show Syria who is boss, why can’t you spend money to feed your own people?

My heart hurts that we can do such violence to one another, but I do not believe that the United States has to be the policeman to the world especially when we have so many problems of our own that are asking to be addressed. Will Washington ever grow up and start looking for solutions that do not involve us bombing the shit out of everyone before we say “oops.” Remember “Mission Accomplished?”  Isolationism? What is the word that means isolation from your own people—the people in this country that suffer? Why do these problems not bring back a congress from vacation, ready to roll up its sleeves and find viable answers? You would think that having witnessed the outcomes of such arrogant behavior would be a deterrent to the hawkish leaders who sit before television cameras and try to convince us with grave sincerity why we must attack, while the rest of us watch from home and mutter “you are attacking the wrong problem with resources that could heal your own people.”
September is National Hunger Action Month. www.feedingamerica.org

• In 2011, 50.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children.
• In 2011, 14.9 percent of households (17.9 million households) were food insecure.
• In 2011, 5.7 percent of households (6.8 million households) experienced very low food security.
• In 2011, households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 20.6 percent compared to 12.2 percent.
• In 2011, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (20.6 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (36.8 percent) or single men (24.9 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (25.1 percent) and Hispanic households (26.2 percent).
• In 2011, 4.8 million seniors (over age 60), or 8.4% of all seniors were food insecure.[v]
• Food insecurity exists in every county in America, ranging from a low of 2.4 percent in Slope County, ND to a high of 35.2 percent in Holmes County, MS

Posted in Comedy, Tragedy and What the F...?

Too Big To Function

Bank of America Tower
Bank of America Tower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How did we get so big? When I was a kid there were local shops where I bought school clothes. Even the larger department stores were not in every city. You could tell an area by the uniqueness of its small businesses. Not every town or city looked the same, like it does now.

My mom knew the president at the bank. The company that delivered milk and eggs to our house was a local company. These days if you travel the country, you can see Wal-Mart everywhere. Bank of America is everywhere. McDonald’s and Starbucks are everywhere. Nothing distinguishes one place from another anymore. The local flavor of small business and small community has been stripped of individuality. What happened to the rules and regulation about monopoly? What happened to the rules and regulation about banks? Everything has become so big, and we blindly or impotently accept that too big means don’t fu*k with it, or something bad will happen.

Something bad has already happened and it is breaking the collective American heart. What has happened is that the greed of power and money has seeped into Washington like an innocuous gas and put our leaders (who used to be public servants, but aren’t anymore) to sleep. . . Asleep to the corporate-ization of America. We are a corporate-ocracy. We are no longer a democracy. The bi-partisan stand-off in Washington, where nothing gets done anymore, is the result of corporate money that speaks louder and stronger than the voice of the people. Look at what has just happened with Monsanto.  They were granted all kinds of leeway in spite of a huge outcry from the public.  The results could be harmful to our health and our land, but Monsanto’s profits became center stage for “importance.”  Too big” means “Big Bully.”

I read a lot of blogs, newspapers, and books and the prevailing theme of our current “too big to fail and too big to jail,” system is creating a terrible despair among the citizens of our country. It is a despair that is resigning and resolving itself to be voiceless and powerless, infecting the heart and soul of our citizenry.

We have become so “business/profit” oriented that we are forgetting that great nations take care of their own and work through and with government and leadership to make a country that works for everyone. There is a lot of rhetoric from big business these days about how government is bad, and while I agree that government can always improve, it is not really a bad thing—it is the thing that unites us a people and directs us to living a good life—it can be a protector and advocate for its people, but it has stopped being that. Now there is a war against the poor—those lazy losers; a disdain for the elderly and the sick—they should have made millions so that they could care for themselves, and a sickening attitude of intolerance when it comes to women’s reproductive health care and gay marriage. In other words, lets unravel the bad, bad government, but let’s make sure that we regulate people’s bodies and bedrooms. It all feels like Alice on acid, stuck in a rabbit hole from which there is no return.

The problem, so clearly defined, raises then the question of the hour: what can one ordinary citizen do? How can I as an individual who loves my country make a change in this horrid “too big” corporate-ocracy that is trying to pass itself off as America? How do we find our way again, shake off the despair and compel our leaders to lead? It’s a hard challenge. I cannot afford to make $10,000.00 donations to various members of congress, so why should anyone care what I think? Are we resigning ourselves to a truth that without money to control Washington, we ordinary citizens are powerless? Is there one thing that each one of us can do to turn this ship around, or is it too late?