Our Children's Futures

While both political parties are spending time blaming one another for every crisis we're facing as a country, we must be diligent and not get mired down in the partisanship on both sides of the aisle.

Too often we've become easily swayed by political doublespeak and an appeal to emotions instead of looking at the realities of what our corporatocracy has enabled.

Every time I read about the actions we take to protect ourselves from so-called terrorists, I have to wonder at the narrow-mindedness of our strategy. Although I have met such people in Bolivia, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iran and Nicaragua, I have never met one who wanted to take up a gun.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom."

I know there are crazed men and women who kill because they cannot stop themselves, serial killers and mass murderers. I am certain that members of Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other groups are driven by fanaticism, but such extremists are able to recruit sizable numbers of followers only from populations that feel oppressed or destitute. The "terrorists" I've found in Andean caves and desert villages are people whose families were forced off their farms by oil companies, hydroelectric dams, or "free trade" agreements. Their children are starving, and they want nothing more than to return to their families with good seeds and deeds to lands they can cultivate.

Our children's futures are interlocked with the children born in the fishing villages of Somalia, the mountains of Burma (Myanmar), and the jungles of Colombia. When we forget that fact, when we see those children as remote, as somehow disconnected from our lives, as merely the offspring of pirates, guerillas, or drug runners, we point the gun at our own progeny as well as at the desperate fathers and mothers in the lands that seem so far away but in reality are our next door neighbors.

Every child's birth is a herald to an opportunity to peace and social change to benefit all. Each dollar that we spend on military defense is a dollar lost for peace.