The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Paralyzed by Iraq, America withers

with one comment

The Great Society speechName a great domestic accomplishment of the USA in the last five years.

Uh …

Right. Instead, consider this challenging op-ed by Bob Herbert at the NYT (I suggest you read it here):

Despite the sustained expansion of the past few years, the middle class — for the first time on record — failed to grow with the economy. […]

Other nations can provide health care for everyone. The United States cannot. In an era in which a college degree is becoming a prerequisite for a middle-class quality of life, we are having big trouble getting our kids through high school. And despite being the wealthiest of all nations, nearly 10 percent of Americans are resorting to food stamps to maintain an adequate diet, and 4 in every 10 American children are growing up in families that are poor or near-poor.

The U.S. seems almost paralyzed, mesmerized by Iraq and unable to generate the energy or the will to handle the myriad problems festering at home. The war will eventually cost a staggering $3 trillion or more, according to the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. When he was asked … about who is profiting from the war, he said the two big gainers were the oil companies and the defense contractors. […]

Whatever happened to the dynamic country that … gave us the G.I. Bill, the Marshall Plan, the United Nations (in a quest for peace, not war), the interstate highway system, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the finest higher education system the world has known, and a standard of living that was the envy of all? […]

We’ve seen this before. Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, which included the war on poverty, was crippled by the war in Vietnam.

On the evening of April 4, 1967, one year to the day before he was assassinated, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. went into Riverside Church in Manhattan and said of the war in Vietnam: “This madness must cease.”

Forty-one years later, we can still hear the echo of Dr. King’s call. The only sane response is: “Amen.”

Regaining that “dynamic country” will take courage. As long as we fret most about what others might do to us, we’ll not have the will (let alone the cash) to insist that we must be better than we are. Osama bin Laden  will have successfully co-opted the progress of America – which may have been his plan all along.

It’s time to return fear to its rightful place, and to get on with the work of making our society what it could be.


Tags: , education, , , , , , , , , , , , Monte Asbury

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Written by Monte

April 12, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Posted in Politics, Terrorism

One Response

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  1. Bless you! Amen!

    Monte Says: Thanks, Rick – beautiful MySpace page!

    Rick Reiley

    April 13, 2008 at 8:22 pm


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