“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
This quote from Dr. King’s speech against the Viet Nam War has been on my mind constantly since President Obama sent his budget proposals to Congress last week. One expects the budget proposals of the GOP to lack common sense or a sense of compassion, but it is disappointing to have this President propose such an immoral budget. Budgets are moral documents. They reflect our priorities and values, they are a statement on our goals and ideals as much as on our pragmatic concerns.
This government, the President as well as Congress, is guilty of pretending to address our budget problems by punishing the most vulnerable in our society: the poor, children and the infirm. Their proposals are ineffective (they will not significantly reduce the deficit) and immoral. To increase the Defense budget that is already bloated with waste by tens of billions of dollars while reducing the pittance allotted to the poor to pay for heating fuel and food for impoverished and sick children is a sign of moral illness and of cowardice. To give away hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall St. criminals or to corrupt governments, such as Afghanistan, and then deny a few millions of dollars to care for vulnerable Americans is a sign of spiritual death.
I believe that the American people would be willing to sacrifice some benefits from Social Security and Medicare, if the sacrifice was shared by defense contractors and the 400 families that possess 50% of America’s wealth – and if they had a the leadership from men and women in government with some moral compass. American society is ready for a spiritual revival. Not the kind of false spirituality of politicians like those in Arizona who recently passed a bill to ban “Karma” (although I can understand their concern, given their record of mean-spirited and oppressive laws). I mean a real revival of the spirit of compassion and cooperation that led to our very existence as a Nation.
Who in government now reflects those spiritual values and has the courage to propose real solutions without causing the suffering of our most vulnerable neighbors?