State of the Union: Our House of Democracy
Joe Volk, FCNL
The specifics of the message in President George Bush’s 2008 State of the Union are insignificant and dwarfed by the one basic truth looming over our people.
Our House of Democracy is falling down. Our democracy’s maintenance funds have been diverted to military misadventures abroad and to pigs at the public trough at home, and Congress has failed to protect the Constitution and serve the public interest:
Our House of Democracy suffers growing instability due to growing gaps:
* Wealth Gap: the gap between the super rich and our dwindling middle class that we see manifested in billionaires with multiple dwellings and working people at risk of losing their one and only home;
* Values Gap: the gap between the values of our citizens and the practices of our government that we see when the U.S. endorses and practices torture;
* Security Gap: trillions go to promises to “win” security and safety through military contests (wars of choice), and only millions go to renovation of our structures for understanding and cooperation;
* Spending Gap: scarce public capital has been squandered on the military misadventure in Iraq, starving urgently needed repairs of our country’s most basic infrastructure: bridges, roads, railroads, water resources, and public education;
* Credibility Gap: The lies our public officials have told us have so undermined trust in our government institutions that today the public presumes they cannot trust them to tell the truth.
Reliance on war as the primary tool for U.S. safety and security, rather than as an absolute last resort, has brought us to these dire circumstances. Both major parties share responsibility. The Republicans, generally, argue for continuing the Iraq war until victory is achieved. The Democrats, generally, argue that Iraq is just the wrong war and that the right war is the war on terror, and it should be fought to victory. They are both wrong, because war is not the answer.
The rebuilding of our House of Democracy will have to begin with demilitarization for democracy. Closing the gaps will help to stabilize the abode of our liberty. Those gaps can be closed if and when our Congress makes different choices about which policies to authorize and what spending should have priority.
We can get those changes in choices, if we send elected officials to Washington who commit to demilitarization for democracy and to new spending priorities for understanding and cooperation. Security, safety, peace, and liberty are possible, but not with the political thinking typical of government today. We have less than a year to either convert incumbents to a new way of thinking and acting or to replace them with new leadership.
Two thousand eight is the Year of the Voter, and every voter needs to send candidates a strong message: War is not the answer, and Peace is possible through peaceful means.