North Bay Bohemian -- Jan. 26, 2011
By Norman Solomon
"Sure you want to jump into that cesspool?"
I've heard countless variations of the same question in recent months, as the possibility of running for Congress has become more real. With all the big-money hit pieces and mud fights that pass for "politics" these days, no wonder so many people see election campaigns as little more than depravity masquerading as democracy.
But there are lives in the balance, near and far, from the North Bay to Afghanistan. A list of what's at stake would be endless: the rights of workers, the ecology of rivers and the injustices of a healthcare system largely run for corporate profit.And with the U.S. military now spending more than $2 billion every day, grim results of what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the madness of military" are all around us. Public schools hold bake sales while Pentagon spending continues to go through the roof.
At a time when budget cuts are having dire effects on our own communities, I think of the distorted priorities that I saw in 2009 during a visit to Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world. That nation, in desperate need, does not need Uncle Sam to escalate warfare.
Here at home, an upsurge of hope peaked a couple of years ago with the inauguration of President Obama. Since then, we've come back to earth—which, in the long run, is where we should be—with feet on the ground and eyes on the horizon. Pragmatism and idealism can be a very good match.
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