Point of View: Eating Away

It is indeed a fat country in which we live, and, fittingly, our president, obesity’s poster child, showers more money on fellow fat cats through tax cuts and yawns whenever anyone reminds him of the ballooning trade and budget deficits.

We are told not to worry, and yet — especially given his most recent budget proposal, which would give the Pentagon even more than it has asked for (imagine that!) while eating away at education, environmental protection, scientific research, Social Security, and Medicare — we do.

I was reminded, in this connection, of the bumper sticker you used to see: “It will be a great day when schools will have all the money they need and the Pentagon has to hold a bake sale.” Let’s bring it back, the fact of the matter being that the strength of a nation owes more to an educated and socially conscious citizenry than it does to the number of bombs it has. 

If Trump really wants a Nobel Peace Prize, why doesn’t he convene a worldwide summit of nuclear states to at least discuss the issue of worldwide incremental, verifiable nuclear disarmament? It is crazy to spend so much money on nuclear stockpiles, which if resorted to, however gingerly, would — talk about climate change! — end civilization. 

So, number one, let’s at least begin belt-tightening when it comes to nuclear weaponry. He could knock heads while claiming the moral high ground. What fun! And just think, if countries — ours in particular — reduced their death-dealing capacity, there’d be more money for such life-affirming things as education, health care, infrastructure repair, and scientific research that could if adequately funded yield untold benefits to humanity.

Instead, what do we see? No to education, no to social programs, no to scientific research, no to ameliorating climate change, no to immigrants willing to work, yearning to be free, no to just about anything worthwhile. But yes, a thousand times yes, to the Pentagon.

It may in the future — in the far distant future, of course — be said of us, as Oscar Wilde was said to have said, “I die, I perceive, as I have lived — beyond my means.”