Posted by Mike
I’m an avid reader of the New York Times. I read it on-line; it’s cheaper and easier. The compelling articles and opinion of the past few days have been editorials, especially the one by Nicholas Kristof regarding the incredible amount of money and materials we pour into our military arsenal, and the article by Michael Kamber about his friend, the photojournalist Joao Silva: the work Silva has done over the years and his terrible injuries in Afganistan, where he recently lost both of his legs to a land mine. The issue of our military goals and expenses and the human costs are just some of the uncomfortable concerns that should make all of us squirm more than a little as the year is ending.
It would be uplifting if we in this country could look back upon the current and near-to-be-past year with satisfaction at worthwhile accomplishments and forward to the next year with anticipation of further successes in the areas most needed, not only in this country, but even more worldwide: available universal health care and increased focus on eradicating endemic diseases in the third world; increased educational opportunities, especially for those who have been underprivileged or denied opportunities in the past; a reduction in armaments and in warfare worldwide, including, but not necessarily especially, reduction in nuclear weaponry; strengthened efforts to negotiate with those who see us as their enemy, rather than to eliminate them by military force; focus upon reduction in poverty worldwide; increased concern and action to protect the environment from its ongoing degradation, both on land and in the oceans.
Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate to the “uplifting” ideal suggested above. The countries of the world – and specifically for us, the United States – in general, but not universally, are in a great deal of trouble, having defaulted in most of the areas discussed above. In general, we have become in the United States insensitive to the needs of the impoverished and underpriviliged both here and worldwide; we arrogantly pursue our “national security” and consumer-product oriented goals: “more for myself and my family and my group and to hell with the others”, and avoid awareness of the needs of the manifold others less fortunate. We are the privileged and the correct thinking ones and the “saved” ones.
God help us – when the reckoning comes!