Location: United States

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Nation of Goats Look for a Heaven Full of Answers

The Reverend Billy Graham once said, "Heaven is full of answers to prayers for which no one bothered to ask."

Thanks for that, Billy. I'm sure it's real comforting for people to know that things will be better when they die. Honestly, that's only a half-snarky comment. After all, the promise of salvation is no rubber chicken consolation prize.

But we don't live in heaven, and we are charged with being the conscience of this world. As we continue to shift from a "War on Poverty" to a "War on Terror", it is necessary to be honest with ourselves that we were, in many circumstances, utterly defeated in our earlier "war" effort.

The single most blighted area in the United States is now, officially, the border with Mexico. This isn't a problem that comes from illegal immigration, though. It is a problem of our own making.

If the 24 counties along the nation's Southwest border were a 51st state, it would rank first in federal crimes, second in tuberculosis and near the bottom in education, per capita income and access to health care.


The study found the region ranks last in access to health care compared with the rest of the states and 50th in number of residents with insurance. Yet the prevalence of people with tuberculosis is twice that of United States as a whole. Residents also have high rates of AIDS, hepatitis and adult diabetes.

Here is an entire region full of prayers that are being asked and we have the means to answer them. We can provide healthcare and education and, most precious of all, hope to the people who live in this region. Our economy has the money to provide real solutions - what we lack is the political will. How can anyone argue that it costs too much to support our own citizens when we spend so much on Iraq? Yet our President brags and boasts about how social programs have been targeted:

In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President George W. Bush broadly outlined his budget plans for the 2007 fiscal year that begins October 1, 2006.

"Every year of my presidency, we've reduced the growth of nonsecurity discretionary spending."


The government said Thursday it would seek 70 billion dollars in emergency funds for further military operations in Iraq this year from lawmakers and an additional 50 billion dollars for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan would be included in its 2007 budget proposal to Congress.

Every day the disconnect between reality and our rulers grows larger. We are becoming a nation of goats who care only that our bellies are full and no one can take a penny from our golden penny jar.

In this case, it is not Heaven where answers to prayers are being stored, but Washington.


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