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Location: United States

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Morality is Where the Dollar Lands

A budget is a moral document. It's so self-evident that it seems both enlightening and obvious to say it. Well, duh! It forces you to set priorities. It tells you what you can do, and what you'd like to, but can't.

Yeah, but it's more than priorities. It tells you what you think is right and wrong. You value a roof over your head more than a case of beer in your fridge.

Our budget is a travesty. It's a stick in the eye of the American dream.

It's a sin.

Well over two hundred thousand have served in Afghanistan and Iraq. No one really knows how many have been shot at, or how many have shot back. No one knows how many remember taking their first human life.

That isn't true. Someone knows. The men and women who have been there. The men and women who can't forget. Now, it seems, we are abandoning them to their dreams - and their nightmares.

For most of us, these veterans remain nameless, faceless. Not to their families, their wives and mothers, their children and fathers, maybe even to each other. I know one. He sat in my class for most of this last semester. Thankfully, his mother convinced him to go to the VA hospital at Thansgiving. I spoke to him briefly when he returned to classes. I wish I could say I'd never seen that look of helplessness before - the repeated shrugging as his head shook slightly but quickly, the eyes that looked back into time and empty tears that dragged slowly from his eyes. I've seen it, though. I saw it magnified a thousand times the day my brother attempted CPR on his son and failed to bring him back. It's the look of a man with a hole in his soul.

Now we are saying, collectively, through our representatives, that these hollow men are not worth a few pennies on the dollar of our earnings.

It's immoral that we should ask these brave few to give so much and refuse them so completely.

Have we learned nothing from Viet Nam? Must we shuffle through another generation of walking wounded?

Can we not find our compassion? Our responsibility? Our liability?

Are our souls so hardened and corrupted?

Ask the poor. More children will get sick - and more will die - because we want a strong and growing economy. Sacrifice our lambs.

We splash their blood on the altar of our transportation god - the patron god of pork spending and log rolling. We grind their bones upon the stairs of the twin gods of capital gains and dividends.

A budget is a moral document. It reveals rhetoric as being either empty or fulfilled. It reveals your priorities. It reveals your morality.

This budget - this document upon which the God of War strides triumphant, striking friend and foe equally - is wrong.

It is sin.

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