Tag Archives: war

The inauguration according to e

The kids and I attended the local celebration and it was great. There were three speeches by local school children, a dance performed by children in the local Hmong community and a step dance performed by members of the local Black Youth United group. Plus seeing the inauguration live in such a crowd was overwhelming; an entire auditorium full of people cheering, shouting, expressing great joy at this new beginning.

As a brief aside, about a tenth as big as my happiness was a wave of relief whenever I would see Bush’s face. It. Is. Finally. Over.

My favorite part of Obama’s speech was when he said, “To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West -know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.” What a statement, one we might all take to heart: focus on constructing a better world, focus on creating, stop with the destructive hatred. I do not oppose criticizing the West, I have a couple of choice comments myself, that’s what freedom of speech is all about. But expressing your criticism through violence is wrong.

Another wonderful part: “The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.” Altruism is not entirely selfless, charity is not a one-way gift; when we help out those around us, we make our community stronger, and that is good for the giver as well.

I feel quite drained (in a satisfied way) and not able to be very articulate, but I couldn’t wait to add my tired voice to the hopeful throng that spent today in celebration, and now seems poised and ready to take on the future.

I set myself the task of deciding what my part in this great beginning is, how I intend to contribute in concrete ways in whatever areas are within my reach. I will post on this when I have my thoughts together.

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Filed under Politics

How we thank veterans

Every year we have a parade and listen to grand speeches detailing all the ways in which we are grateful to our veterans for their sacrifices.

Last night on the radio I heard of a fundraiser to help a veteran who came back from Iraq without a leg and needs work done on his home to accommodate his new living requirements.

While I applaud the efforts of private citizens to assist their returning heroes, it makes me sick that our veterans ever want for anything.  How is it that the government didn’t have his house outfitted before he was even released from the hospital?  

Our government somehow manages to waste billions of dollars on stupid stuff, why can’t they somehow divert a bit of those resources to the people who actually deserve it.  We hear especially about how much waste there is in military spending, and yet only a pathetic amount of funding goes to the men and women who have earned it. Instead of overpaying greedy contractors building weapons, why couldn’t we buy new houses for returning vets?

At the very least, our veterans should never have to worry about the basic necessities of life again.  Any college of their choice should be completely free.  Any medical or mental health treatments they might need should be immediately available by top doctors in top facilities.  Serving your country should earn you rights and privileges that ordinary civilians only dream of.

Besides the speeches and parades, how do we thank our veterans in concrete terms?  Are they relying on the mercy of a private fundraiser to take care of their most basic needs?  Those who have sacrificed so much to give us the freedom and security we enjoy, we should make sure that they receive the most delicious of those fruits.  That might be a small step toward beginning to repay them for what they’ve done for us.

Veteran’s Day should be every day, especially now while so many are still facing the ultimate sacrifice every day on foreign soil.

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Filed under society