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  • Writer's picturestephanieraffelock

Bread, Bombs and Bullshit

As the sabers rattle in our nation’s capital and the argument is made for retaliation against the violence perpetrated upon the Syrian people through chemical attack, the pulse of everyday America beats to a different heart. A war-weary nation still struggles to get on its feet from a kind of violence wrought by the greed and corruption in our highest financial sectors. Those crimes against humanity have gone unpunished. Retaliation is best served “profitable,” as in fodder for a military industrial machine or companies with trusted household names like Halliburton.

Meanwhile, back in America’s backyard, food insecurity is directly related to unemployment and poverty and is fueled by hopelessness. A country that allows its seniors and children to go to bed hungry seems to me the greater violence that begs to be addressed by those in power.

In one breath, the winners and losers mentality of our highly dysfunctional congress bemoans the distribution of food stamps, even though over 16 million of our own children are hungry. In the next breath, there is somehow money for bombs and drones and things we can do to assure that retaliation is had for Syria’s lack of morality. 1,400 people were ruthlessly hurt and killed in a country whose leaders have made power more important than human life. But what of our own leaders who turn the other way so as not to be impacted by the violence of poverty and hunger that perpetrates its devastation in every single county in America? Where is the outrage against that? Where is the war on hunger and unemployment?

“President Obama is not asking America to go to war,” said John Kerry…then added, “This is not the time for armchair isolationism. This is not the time to be spectators to slaughter.”

So how is it that Washington can be a spectator to the slow slaughter and scourge of hunger in this nation? How can they debate who dies or gets sick from lack of nutrition by cutting food programs—because we can’t just keep printing money, damn it– but we can print the money to go to war? You want to satisfy grabbing your nuts and grunting while the war drum beats? Fight the real war– the one here on our own soil that needs fighting. Fight for jobs at a livable wage. Fight to end hunger so that no child ever goes to bed with the pains of hunger or struggles to stay focused in a classroom that is blurred by the suffering of not enough nutrition to run their little brains. If you can spend money on bombs to show Syria who is boss, why can’t you spend money to feed your own people?

My heart hurts that we can do such violence to one another, but I do not believe that the United States has to be the policeman to the world especially when we have so many problems of our own that are asking to be addressed. Will Washington ever grow up and start looking for solutions that do not involve us bombing the shit out of everyone before we say “oops.” Remember “Mission Accomplished?”  Isolationism? What is the word that means isolation from your own people—the people in this country that suffer? Why do these problems not bring back a congress from vacation, ready to roll up its sleeves and find viable answers? You would think that having witnessed the outcomes of such arrogant behavior would be a deterrent to the hawkish leaders who sit before television cameras and try to convince us with grave sincerity why we must attack, while the rest of us watch from home and mutter “you are attacking the wrong problem with resources that could heal your own people.” September is National Hunger Action Month.

• In 2011, 50.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children. • In 2011, 14.9 percent of households (17.9 million households) were food insecure. • In 2011, 5.7 percent of households (6.8 million households) experienced very low food security. • In 2011, households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 20.6 percent compared to 12.2 percent. • In 2011, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (20.6 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (36.8 percent) or single men (24.9 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (25.1 percent) and Hispanic households (26.2 percent). • In 2011, 4.8 million seniors (over age 60), or 8.4% of all seniors were food insecure.[v] • Food insecurity exists in every county in America, ranging from a low of 2.4 percent in Slope County, ND to a high of 35.2 percent in Holmes County, MS

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