Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Heartfelt Letter to My Government

Do you ever wish that you could have an hour or two of your own private time to talk directly with your leaders?
I do-quite often. I want it to be real though, the way a heart to heart discussion should be. No suits and ties, no written agenda, nothing so formal as all that. I want this meeting to be by a campfire near a quiet lake. While we enjoyed a late supper of grilled burgers, chips, baked beans and Iowa sweet corn, I could explain where I am coming from, you know?
It would go a long way toward improving our political discourse in this country if politicians would stop addressing us and give us an honest chance to address them! You and I both know, however, that Barack Obama is not going to meet with me. He is certainly not coming out to the lake, although missing the sweet corn is his sad loss.
I believe it is more prudent then to simply post an open letter here, not only to the President but to all 535 members of Congress, as well. Mind you, this is a rough draft but it goes something like this:

Dear Mr. President and distinguished members of Congress,
I had every intention of inviting you to my campsite by the lake. I thought supper and a marshmallow roast could only get us off on the right foot. I realize, however, that your schedules are busy(mostly raising campaign funds) and that a Secret Service entourage of that size would require more hookers than have ever worked in the state of Iowa. God forbid, they might even want to form a union!
So, this is the next best thing-a letter telling you how more than a few of my fellow Americans and myself are feeling about certain issues.
First of all, we think you HAVE "issues"! Let's look at the "war on terror", for example. This term, coined by the Bush administration(along with "bring it on") has become outdated, even in light of the recent bombings in Boston. It is overused. The fact of the matter is that while we acknowledge there are those who might wish us harm, we are not "terrified". On 9/11, millions of women were experiencing PMS but we did not declare a war on it! I feel  the same way about pimples.
Terror, on the other hand, got its own war. You began with the Patriot Act and since then, this "war" has been never ending and it has cost millions overseas their lives, not to mention thousands of our own dead and wounded soldiers. That has been largely ignored by you, though three deaths in Boston made you even call in the U.S. military to capture/kill two people.
Speaking of the military, someone must have forgotten to tell you. Pay attention! Sadam is dead! Iraq has been reduced to rubble. Afghanistan is controlled by drug dealing war lords, as has been the case for a very long time. You have changed nothing for the better there. Last I heard, Bin Laden had not snorkeled to the surface yet. Most importantly, Americans(who have any brains) are no longer afraid! Who's terrified name are you fighting this war in? It seems to me that it is time to bring our troops home. NOW! Suicides currently outnumber combat deaths among these soldiers. That is not acceptable.
You can also tell the TSA they no longer need to grope the breasts and diaper covered crotches of ninety year old ladies in wheelchairs. Just keep the knives and box cutters off the planes, huh? Oh-and that fellow in the turban really does not freak us out, either. More people have complained lately about mothers breastfeeding their babies at the airport than about the Muslims praying there!
At this point, Allen West and Peter King would like to jump up and argue with me about the threat of "radical Islam" to national security. You gentlemen(and I use that term loosely) need to Google the Christian Identity Movement and then we can talk about radicals.
Now, about our bloated defense budget, what the hell are you thinking?? We spend more money on "defense" (which is actually offense) than over 200 other nations COMBINED every year! You are all jittery about China building one aircraft carrier when we have eleven of them! You want us to believe that Iran is about to destroy Israel with a nuclear weapon, when Israel has hundreds of them-not that they will admit it or allow them to be inspected. We have not imposed sanctions on THEM, now have we?? What about our OWN five thousand warheads? We, the only country to have ever used a nuclear weapon on a populated city-two of them, actually- have no room to talk. North Korea has tried and failed numerous times to launch a long range missile. They fall in to the ocean every damn time! They are not too scary, either.
Think of how many homeless veterans could be housed, how many children we could bring up out of poverty, the roads and schools we could repair, the jobs we could create, if we cut that defense budget in half! Maybe "sequester" is a term we would not be hearing now.
Maybe you need to also rethink that annual package of aid you give to Israel. You KNOW what they are doing with it and you KNOW that violates our own laws about arms sales.
For the icing on the cake, do you think you could get the FBI to quit spying on Americans, especially MUSLIM Americans?? Much money could be saved there too-obviously, Boston proves the spy game is not keeping us safe, anyway. The CIA blacksites have to go,too. I know you all enjoy the show "24" and how it helps you live with the fact that you are torturing people. But torture is wrong, immoral, and sinful. You guys love to say "God bless America", yet fail to realize that these are children of that same God, which you are torturing and killing. Shame on you!
I could go on but I think that is enough for you to chew on at this point. It is just plain common sense and down home values that drive most of us-could you give it a try for a change? I heard that even Dick Cheney has a heart now-nothing is impossible.

Signing off from the lake....

A Woman in America

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What Does Gaza Need?

I have a friend in the Gaza Strip who wants to start a way to provide aid to children there.
Several aid agencies operate there already. However, they cannot provide for everyone-the poverty is so great! The political system is also complicated. Add to that the blockade that Israel has imposed and getting anything to these needy children is a challenge, indeed!
The Gaza Strip is approximately twenty-five miles long and five miles wide. One and a half million people live in this very small strip of land;it is considered the most densely populated area on earth.
Unemployment stands at well over 40%. The local economy has been decimated under the Israeli blockade. Available medical care is minimal. Food such as meat is well out of the range of most household budgets. The drinking water has been deemed unsafe for human consumption by the International Red Cross. In other words, would you want to live there?
Half of the population of the Gaza Strip is under the age of eighteen. How are these children to be provided for? And why should you care?
I will tell you why you should.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the heart of unrest in the Middle East. It has become far less about who is a Jew and who is an Arab and far more about the denial of basic human rights. This is what the Western media refuses to report and address in a meaningful way.
In talking with my friend there, I began to think of Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
One begins to see a huge problem when looking at this. If the most basic needs of food, water and shelter are not being adequately met, how does one ever reach security? Or self-actualization? Or healthy self-esteem and healthy relationships? You don't.
That is a problem because these children are the future leaders and negotiators in this conflict. If peace is ever to come between Israelis and Palestinians, both sides must come from what I would call "solid ground". The people of Gaza do not have this at all. By way of the blockade and constant military action against them by the Israeli regime, there is no way for them to have security or even have their basic needs met without outside intervention.
I include in the problem the governments of the Arab countries surrounding them. Egypt has helped to continue the blockade. The very wealthy Saudi royal family does little to help. Other Arab states turn deaf ears to the cries of the Palestinians. It is obscene!
Is it any wonder that Hamas has gained the hold it has over the people in Gaza? After all, they are the only ones who even appear to care. You don't bite the hand that is feeding your child. However, that hand has a somewhat insane agenda of its own.
So, when my friend suggested a way to positively impact the lives of children in Gaza, I jumped at the chance to be a part of that. We will see what we can develop. We will start with Maslow. We will begin with the basics and work our way out from there. I am hopeful we can do something positive-stay tuned!

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs