I have been an activist for the past 10 years. Currently, I find myself ‘walking a narrower path ‘each and every day. I have been vilified, rejected, and attacked by even those with whom I once shared the comforts of reason. Why? Well, let us travel back to the era of the horse and buggy for some sort of analogous explanation. Let us say that your neighbor has asked you to help with his work. You show up at his home and he is ready to leave with his cart hitched in front of his horse. You tell him that this is not the way to go to work. He looks at you and says that it is and ‘that is that! ‘Would you still accompany him?
For over 8 years we who ‘know better ‘have been protesting the illegal and immoral invasions and occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan. We have seen through the myths of justification as to ‘ stopping them there so they won’t come here ‘ or ‘ the smoking gun being a mushroom cloud ‘ or ‘ ridding the world of tyranny’. From the moral and legal points of view we traveled into the financial, that being how these foreign escapades AKA Wars have sucked our treasury dry to the tune of approximately $ 100 billion per year. So, we stood together on the street corner of our town to protest the government’s terrible moral, illegal and financial actions. I stood for months holding my sign Bush Re-Elected In 2004… Underwater In 2005! I can remember debating a neighbor who supported the Bush policies and warning him how, within a couple of years, we would have to cut local services and layoff police and firefighters etc. because of those invasions.
Fast forward to NOW. All that was predicted is happening. I started receiving notes from groups calling themselves Progress Florida, Move On.org, and Awake the State. They asked activists to join them to stop the budget cuts and protect the unions. Who could argue with that? Yet, when I asked the representatives of these groups if they would demand that Congress cut the military spending and end the occupations to offset the budget crisis… no response. I called the union locals and asked to speak before their members on the issue of cutting military spending 255 to save our economy… no response. Why?
Sometimes answers are not really so difficult to obtain. By process of reasoning, we can see through much of the hype thrown at us by both major political parties. You see, throughout the Bush years, both parties kept voting, each and every time it came up in Congress, to fund the occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan. Many activists, in 2004 and 2005, supported the Democratic Party despite the fact that the Democrats would not stand up to the Bush crew as to the occupations. At that point this writer left the Democratic Party in protest. Many of my street corner friends didn’t (and still won’t). Yet, I salute them for their principles against phony wars and occupations. I could not see the rationale that allowed them to stay with a group that they so passionately disagreed with. Once again, with the budget crisis, we have similar incongruities. The Democratic Party now holds more power than in 2004 and 2005, controlling the White House and the Senate. As we know, they continue to fund the excessively high military budgets and the occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan. It costs our treasury over one million dollars a year to keep one soldier in Afghanistan? Why won’t the aforementioned budget cut protest organizations mention that in their rhetoric? If you really wish to save teacher’s jobs, well, one million dollars can subsidize lots of salaries, yes? It is called Federal Block Grants or Revenue Sharing. You cut the military budget, now at a record $ 560+ billion annually; by just 25% and you have lots of funding for all our states to save their shortfalls.
To stand with folks who say they want a better Florida, yet refuse to deal with what caused the mess we are in… is not serving them or me. Anyone with an ounce of common sense should realize that by not going after the biggest cause of this crisis only adds fuel to it. It then becomes but another political football game between two corrupt and disingenuous parties. The Republicans created their Tea Baggers to rally opposition to the Democrats, and now the Democrats are using good and decent folks to carry this anti budget cuts banner for vote getting in 2012. Obviously, if the occupations and obscene military spending are not addressed, then all we will get will be a two party compromise to restore the budget cuts. There will be higher sales taxes and other fees loaded onto the backs of the working stiffs and the poor. I for one cannot sit on a cart being pushed by the horse!
Philip A. Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen. A graduate of Brooklyn College, class of ’74, Philip has been an anti war activist since the Vietnam War. Philip is now Volusia Cty spokesperson for the nationwide 25% Solution to cut military spending. Since the 2000 elections, he has written over 250 columns posted on various sites, including, most recently, Dandelion Salad, dissidentvoice.org and progressivepatriots.net, or at his own blog at http://www.opensalon.com. Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.