Serious musings on July 4, 2002:
While I was growing up, we were fighting "The War to End All Wars" (we don't hear that out of Washington these days). Along with his warnings against the military-industrial complex, President Dwight David Eisenhower was also saying, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed."
I have a strong sense that a lot of important messages such as these have fallen on deaf ears lately.
Today there are far too many facts that we are not being given by our present government: important acts by example which are not being passed down from Washington, D.C., to "we the citizens."
Shocking and tragic as was the sudden death of some 3,000 people in the events of Sept. 11, that was now over 10 months ago. Many have forgotten (or not been given the whole picture) that on that same September day some 35,000 children died of starvation around our small planet. Roughly that same number died on or before Sept. 10 and on each of the 300 or more days since then.
Even Congress was impressed enough by these facts to legislate more funding for Universal Family Planning. However, for his own obscure reasons, President Bush has seen fit to withhold these vital dollars along with the imposing of his unpopular Global Gag Rule.
So these often preventable deaths continue.
Our nation has lately turned its back on major former treaties and is backing down on its international commitments such as our agreement to work toward eliminating our nuclear arsenals. (Are you informed about Bush's current Nuclear Posture Review, or NPR?)
We now have a president who tells India and Pakistan to "do as I say, not as I do." We have a bloated and wasteful military budget and the administration wants $45.5 billion more for next year. We are rapidly compromising our international friends and allies and becoming more arrogant as a nation.
Frankly, this is no longer a country that one should routinely support with the vacant waving of flags, but one that needs to be strongly reprimanded and corrected by its citizens (that's us, folks, you and me), and it must be done before it's too late.
Future Fourth of July parades may well be massive funeral processions for hundreds of thousands of nuclear victims worldwide.
What to do? For starters, contact and support the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, 727 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, Mass. 02139, or Physicians for Social Responsibility, P.O. Box 98035, Washington, D.C. 20077. Both of these organizations have long since concluded that there is no effective medical response to a nuclear attack, and it hardly takes being a doctor to support this conclusion.
Also similarly effective is the Union of Concerned Scientists, P.O. Box 9105, Cambridge, Mass. 02238. All of them put out informative newsletters and publications.