FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

We Can’t Bomb Our Way to Better Schools

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” ~ Dr. King

From the left and the right, policy proposals are flying fast and furious. It is an election year, after all.  But one topic is completely off the agenda from both sides of the party line: decreasing military spending.

Today’s political candidates are universally unwilling to discuss the military budget, overseas aggression, nuclear weapons, militarism, or imperialism – except to recommend more of it.

The problem is, we can’t bomb our way into better schools.

Year after year, we continue to pour our tax dollars into the war budget at the expense of other social programs. And, even as we overfund the military contractors, we also fail to care for our veterans and renege on our recruitment promises of education and jobs for the youth. Neither of the two major-party presidential candidates will discuss ending the endless war, bringing our troops home, or investing in improving the infrastructure, education, and opportunities here at home.

Those who study the rise and fall of empires know that the obsession with military expansion, and the pouring of a nation’s resources into militarism at the expense of other programs leads to collapse. The fall of many powerful empires throughout human history has been preceded by such a cycle. Regardless of one’s views on whether or not the United States should be pursuing the goal of imperialism, the obvious truth is that we are, in fact, a heavily militarized empire, with five colonial territories, and nearly 700 military bases in countries around the world.

We’re operating on increasingly shaky ground. As we head into the elections, where are the candidates who will frankly acknowledge this danger?  Who will commit to investing in our youth, our communities, and our people?  Will we continue to obsessively and aggressively try to demonstrate our greatness through military might or will we find ways to humbly and compassionately strive for basic goodness – not even greatness – in the way we treat one another here at home?

We may be modern people with smartphones, airplanes, and entrenched beliefs in our political divisions, but at the end of the day, human values haven’t changed much. We’re still hoping and longing for the same things. We all want our kids to be healthy. We want our schools to be engaging and empowering. We want our communities to be safe. We want to have enough. We don’t want to be hungry or homeless. We don’t want bombs dropping on our heads. We want meaningful opportunities for our young people (and ourselves). We want a world for our great, great grandchildren.

The question is: how do we get those things? Although the policies, platforms, and proposals abound, one thing is clear: continuing to overfund the military at the expense of programs of social uplift is not going to improve the situation of the average American.  As Dr. King adroitly pointed out so many years ago, we are approaching spiritual death by continuing on this path. At the end of our endless wars, what are we defending? As we gut our schools, incarcerate our populace, over-police our poor communities, let roads and infrastructure crumble, what exactly are we sending our sons and daughters overseas to protect? We cannot bomb our way into better schools. Instead, we must beat the swords of our bombers into plowshares, study war no more, and rebuild the spiritual, moral, and cultural integrity of our nation.

More articles by:

Rivera Sun is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection and other books, and the cofounder of the Love-In-Action Network.

January 23, 2019
Paul Street
Time for the U.S. Yellow Vests
Charles McKelvey
Popular Democracy in Cuba
Kenn Orphan
The Smile of Class Privilege
Leonard Peltier
The History Behind Nate Phillips’ Song
Kenneth Surin
Stalled Brexit Goings On
Jeff Cohen
The System’s Falling Apart: Were the Dogmatic Marxists Right After All?
Cira Pascual Marquina
Chavez and the Continent of Politics: a Conversation with Chris Gilbert
George Ochenski
Turning Federal Lands Over to the States and Other Rightwing Fantasies
George Wuerthner
Forest Service Ignores Science to Justify Logging
Raouf Halaby
In the Fray: Responses to Covington Catholic High
Kim C. Domenico
No Saviors But Ourselves; No Disobedience Without Deeper Loyalty
Ted Rall
Jury Trial? You Have No Right!
Michael Doliner
The Pros and Cons of Near Term Human Extinction
Lee Ballinger
Musical Unity
Elliot Sperber
The Ark Builders
January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Glenn Sacks
Teachers Strike Dispatch #8: New Independent Study Confirms LAUSD Has the Money to Meet UTLA’s Demands
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposable Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail