Ignorance, Racism, the Military, and Money
...is so pervasive in this country, I am starting to feel it's almost impossible to hold a serious conversation about the most important issues facing our nation and planet with an average American.
For example, check out this forward I received:
I bought a bird feeder. I hung it on my back porch and filled it with seed.
Within a week we had hundreds of birds taking advantage of the continuous flow of free and easily accessible food.
But then the birds started building nests in the boards of the patio, above the table, and next to the barbecue.
Then came the poop. It was everywhere: on the patio tile, the chairs, the table...everywhere.
And others birds were boisterous and loud:
They sat on the feeder and squawked and screamed at all hours of the day and night and demanded that I fill it when it got low on food.
...I took down the bird feeder and in three days the birds were gone.
.. no one demanding their rights to a free meal.
Now lets see....... our government gives out free food, subsidized housing, free medical care, free education and allows anyone born here to be an automatic citizen.
Then the illegal's came by the tens of thousands.
Suddenly our taxes went up to pay for free services; small apartments are housing 5 families: you have to wait 6 hours to be seen by an emergency room doctor: your child's 2nd grade class is behind other schools because over half the class doesn't speak English:
* Corn Flakes now come in a bilingual box;
* I have to press 'one' to hear my bank talk to me in English:
* and people waving flags other than 'Old Glory' are squawking and screaming in the streets, demanding more rights and free liberties.
Maybe it's time for the government to take down the bird feeder.
Wow, what a bunch of crap. That kind of "logic" is the Jim Crow of today's racist, fascist subculture.
There is no debate that whoever wrote this is motivated by a strong vein of racism and white supremacy, but that aside, there are some 'points' he tries to make that are worth dispelling.
The truth is the US government subsidizes the oil companies, defense contractors, weapons manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, mega-farms and other big profit industries to an massive degree, and things like urban development, housing projects, and food programs get a pittance.
"Welfare," as Americans know it, has been intentionally set up to fail. Take second to think about it-- ever since Reagan, there has been a conscious attempt by right-wing ideologues to only pass legislation that makes such social programs bloated, bureaucratic, and destined to fail.
But if you take a look at European "welfare states" such as France, Germany, the UK, and the Scandinavian nations, their "welfare" systems guarantee such things as months of paid leave for new mothers, subsidized daycare, sick leave, 1 month paid vacation, etc.. Things that help people and society work better.. WORK. The concept of a "safety net" is a strawman set up by Republicans to encourage "free market" social policy-- raping our national resources, including labor and capital, and filling the coffers of big business.
The real thesis of this racist's tirade is that: the US is some kind of big free meal ticket, with bloated, generous, and free access to vast amounts of freebies and easy rides...and that's why we have all the problems we have, everything from violence and crime to budgetary problems.
Well, if that's true, and the US government is such a generous free ride, the statistics sure don't think so. You'd expect the US to be at the top of a list of nations and their expenditures on social programs:
|Nation||Welfare expenditure (% of GDP)||GDP per capita (PPP US$)|
There are two interesting things about this data:
- The US is 4th-to-last in the list... We spend the 4th lowest amount of money on social welfare among these developed nations.
- The US has one of the highest GDP's per-capita, so the US has one of the most productive/richest economies, but spends the least amount on its citizens' welfare!
Or, for more proof, just take a look at the annual US expenditures on the military and subsidies for big oil.
The USA, responsible for about 80 per cent of the increase [in world military expenditures] in 2005, is the principal determinant of the current world trend, and its military expenditure now accounts for almost half of the world total;
The USA is responsible for 48 per cent of the world total [in military expenditures], distantly followed by the UK, France, Japan and China with 4–5 per cent each.
I could go on and on, but the truth is the US spends an ungodly amount of money on its military, its wars, its big oil, its big business. It spends shit on its people.
Immigration is a totally separate issue. The same neoliberal/neoconservative policies that the IMF, World Bank, the Chicago School, and Economic Hitmen have forcefully implemented in South and Central America over the past 50 years has created a blowback of desperate immigration. If we hadn't pillaged their nations and corrupted their governments, people would be quite happy to stay at home.
But then when heroes like Hugo Chavez and Eva Morales have recently started to push back, denying IMF structural adjustments and policies, and putting their people on the path to national wealth and self-determination, you see the right-wingers sabre-rattling and spinning their imperialist manifestos into propaganda both at home and abroad.
There is no room in this debate for such blatant ignorance, racism, and fascism. And it makes me sick.