Our country has affiliated with some of the worst actors on the world’s political stage and the consequence of doing so has lead from one humanitarian crisis to another in the Middle East. These serious issues deserve a level of scrutiny that our politicians and the electorate seem unable to grasp, care about, or even be bothered with. Decades of military and financial support to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have a direct connection to today’s Syrian refugee crisis and long before that September 11, 2001.
In an article, entitled False Friends, Commonweal Magazine’s, Vanni Cappeli questions our continued support of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. He details the decades of financial and military support we have given them and the blind eye that we have turned on the treatment their citizens. Abhorrent, but tolerated. We need their cooperation and we need their oil.
I was recently asked why I bother to read articles such as this and what, if anything, I can do about it. My reflexive, defensive, insecure answer at the time was, “Well, nothing.” But after a time of reflection I know that taking the time to read, digest, and contemplate information results in making intelligent decisions about whom I will support in an election; it leads me to take action, by way of correspondence and telephone calls to my elected representatives, to express my point of view; and it enables me to affect change that may enhance the world my children and grandchildren inherit. Because I do care. I care that even though I still have “just one” serving in the U.S. military, and “he probably” won’t be deployed”, tens of thousands of other mother’s sons and daughters may be placed in harm’s way due to a decision made by our war-fevered populace. I care because I believe deep in my soul that it is my duty as a citizen to become informed. I care that even after I am gone I want a better world for my children and grandchildren, than that handed to me and my generation. I think that more than a decade and a half of fear based politics, a media that consistently drums and shills for the corporations who profit from war, and does little in the way of educating and informing the public, has given us the Congress we have today. I care that who we elect matters. There are consequences.
This Thanksgiving weekend while we were warm, safe, and sated, millions of refugees languished in camps or in the rough trying to find something to eat, a place to stay warm and dry, and an escape from terror. Their problems will be put on the back burner while we consume, carouse, and carol our way through the month long Christmas season. We have long lost sight of the meaning and reason we celebrate Christmas. Just as we have lost sight of what that humble refugee himself, asked of us. Fear not. Do unto others. Love your enemies. Be reconciled. Let your light shine.
Today is the first day of the Advent season, perhaps it would be good to reflect on the Way of the Prince of Peace.