13 November 2010
Day 231: Number the Stars
I think one of the things we forget about today is that war often means sacrifice. This is because it seems like only a few families really make sacrifices anymore, and most of us live in countries where we can go to war and be relatively unaffected now. How many people out there are still clamoring for the next iPhone or Android while our soldiers are over in Afghanistan where they are risking life and limb everyday? "That doesn't affect me, and I still want my iPhone."
But it should, it should affect you. War is supposed to hurt, and it's supposed to hurt everyone, otherwise we would stay in a state of perpetual war where the best of our countrymen go out and die for stupid, stupid things just because it doesn't cost us anything. Maybe it doesn't have to be a big thing, but I think we could all do with a lot less sugar in our lives (this includes me, although please god not during NaNoWriMo). We could do with some gas rationing, fewer video games, less junk mail, perhaps even rationed internet time. I kind of like that last one actually, although it would not be overly productive for job hunting now that it's almost entirely online and cover letters are a bear to write. But I want to point out this bit of dialogue, because these are the things that stick out in my mind:
"When will there be cupcakes again?"
When the war ends... When the soldiers leave."
What little girl today has to ask when she will be able to have her next cupcake? What little girl is so fixated on something that she loved and can't have because there is no sugar, flour, butter, or sparkly glitter to produce it? How can we expect our government to reign in spending when we refuse to give anything up? We want our tax cuts and we want the deficit to go down, but we still want our libraries and our fire departments, etc. Well, it doesn't work that way, you can't cut spending, decrease taxes and have nice things. You can't be at war and balance a budget in a country that doesn't understand the principle of sacrifice.
It seems that Americans nowadays find human lives to be far more expendable than money. This is certainly the message we're sending to other civilized countries when we shout and holler that we don't want to have people who make over $250,000 a year pay an extra thousand dollars or eight or ten thousand so that a child can get braces or cancer treatment or an old man can live the rest of his life in comfort with appropriate hospice care. And it sure as hell doesn't make us look civilized when we throw our young men and women at the guns of enemies and leave them there for nearly ten years in a country that had nothing to do with the attack on our country to begin with.
Maybe you disagree with me. That's fine. There may be some good reasons not to like socialized healthcare. I haven't heard any yet, but they could potentially exist. Maybe you like that we're killing our own country men and women and not really doing all that much to spread democracy, and we're sure as hell not spreading peace.
But don't complain to me about how much the government is taxing you when you can still eat that damned pink frosted cupcake while your neighbors and countrymen and other people just like you have lost loved ones overseas or have died because you weren't willing to give up a pittance of your paycheck to save their lives. If anything needs to be "shoved down your throat," it's that fucking cupcake. Less political posting tomorrow, sorry, they slip out sometimes, and just because I might hate your politics doesn't mean I hate you.
I thought the review from little reading room more or less summed up my feelings adequately. I will say that I think I'm too old for this book as I wanted something much meatier, but I enjoyed it anyway.