On Memorial Day I saw Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) deliver a keynote address. She spoke of her two tours in Iraq and the powerful memory of her first “unanswered roll call ceremony” for a friend lost in combat. She shared that only one percent of our citizens have fought in these, the two longest wars in American history.
And then it occurred to me: another one percent of us have made obscene fortunes from these, the two most blatantly economically motivated wars in American history.
These two one percents could not be more different.
One, members of the super-minority, are making record profits quarter after quarter, and “investing” frightening amounts of money in campaign contributions and spendy lobbyists in order to keep things going their way: war profiteering, monopoly building, too-big-to-care, tax dodging, unregulated global capitalism.
The other are public servants, willing to do their duty until their last breath doing a job few dare face. Too often they leave our service broken or ill, only go become the collateral damage of a system being starved out of existence by tax cuts, tax loopholes, and tax subsidies even as we spend trillions of dollars on two wars with no war tax. The call for austerity is a mocking of this one percent by the other. “We will take care of the money, now you figure out how to take care of yourself.”
I am not a pacifist, but I am very against preemptive war. The idea that we systematically abuse so few for the gain of so few – and leave 98% of us out of the game entirely – is not sitting well with me. Yellow magnets and 4th of July flags are not enough to count as skin in the game.
I will no longer humor the self centered profiteers only to neglect our selfless patriots.
If that means less war, OK. If that means proper care for returning troops, OK. If that means higher taxes on the prosperous one percent to finance our responsibility to the in-harms-way one percent, OK.
No big box store, no stock broker, no crony contractor, no wealth building “corporate-person” is going to take the metaphorical bullet for anyone. I prefer to support the people who would take a real bullet for me.