Given the current troop levels in Iraq, the extended tours of duty our troops have undergone this past year and comments from many generals that are retired and can freely speak their mind, we are more exposed than ever in defending America. Should there be a need to address our treaty obligations with other countries in the world, we are in peril of being defeated as a Nation, unthinkable just 7 years ago. But it is a real concern today.
No matter whether you are for continuing this war, whether you think we did the right thing going after Saddam, or whether you think we should never have gone into Iraq in the first place, our military resources are in a state of disarray, needing repair or replacement. The only war we could fight now is one where we only could use the Navy and Air Force.
What does this mean for the future of this country? It means that for the next decade, we will need to rebuild the military. That means that we will have increased Military budgets and no money left at a time when we can ill afford a recession. WE have painted ourselves into a corner that we will not be able to get out of. And we have done this while our own currency has dropped over 30% in real value as compared to the Euro, over the past 5 years. We have pressing problems to address such as rebuilding worn infrastructure in this country such as bridges and roads, funding and securing Social Security system, ensuring Medicare doesn't go bankrupt, addressing the countries needs in Education to ensure our competitiveness in the world, and finally addressing our own homeland security by securing our own borders from terrorists who wish to come here and destroy our way of life. This, at a time, when the influx of both legal and illegal immigrants are swelling our cities, putting strains on our healthcare system and causing deep divides between us. This is causing many to rethink our entire attitude of whether we are a place in the world that is still open to immigrants to come and partake in the great American dream or will we close our doors and become anti immigrant.
Many of these issues have been facing us for decades. But over the past 6-7 years President Bush, Vice President Cheney and the rest of this Administration has squandered our resources, decreased our ability to respond effectively to crisis here at home (i.e. Hurricane Katrina) by using our National Guard in Iraq, and have divided our country to such a degree that permanent damage may have been done in our ability to come together once again as a Nation and word together in a bipartisan way for the good of the country.
Is there a solution to this problem? I don't know. We will definitely have another chance and I pray to God that we have a leader that is truly someone who can work for the betterment of the people here and the country. But in this poisoned environment, it will not happen going down the same paths we choose daily to engage each other. It will take something to jar our conscience into rethinking our choices and raising the level of discourse so that we listen to the wise elders in our midst.
We had a chance back on September 11, 2001. We were united then, as was the world. Unfortunately it may take another tragedy to give us one more chance before our luck has run out. Will it be written by historians that as the last superpower standing after winning the Cold war, that we threw away our chance to be the Nation most admired, loved and praised in the world. The choice is in our hands to decide. The problem is that we have hitched our wagon on greed and the almighty dollar and on actions that divide us economically, socially and spiritually.
In the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, staring Harrison Ford and Sean Connery, one scene particularly stands out to me. The scene was when faced with choosing the cup used by Christ, when the greedy evil character chose the wrong cup, tasted the water from the fountain and since it was NOT the cup of Christ, melted and dissolved before our eyes, the Knight exclaimed, "He chose poorly!" Then Harrison Ford looked at all the cups on the table, picked the one he thought might have been the one from a poor carpenter, as was Christ, and dipped it into the fountain and drank from it, wondering if he too had chosen poorly was surprised that the water was fine. Then the Knight exclaimed, "You chose wisely!"
That is what we must do. Not just when we elect our candidates from each party for this election for their Primary. We must start now by getting involved as if this were really our country, our choice as to our future. It's time we stop blaming our elected officails, as WE voted, them into their office. WE must blame ourselves and do something about it. I know you don’t feel that the rest of the free world depended on you to make the right choices, but it does rely on each of us. I'm to blame as much as anyone else. Remember, we can't fix something unless WE own it. The first step of the 12 Step process is admitting we have been in Denial as individuals, that we have given away our power and choices to change things, especially when less than 50% of us actually vote in any election and that a mere 26% of us choose who will become our next President. We must admit that this is our problem to fix, NOT someone elses! Don't like the debates? Start providing better questions to them to ask. Write to your candidates or during this campaign season, go where they are and have the courage to ask your question to them.
Labels: American Dream, Border Security, broken Military, divided country, Immigration, infrastructure, Military Budget, National Guard, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, war