I have always heard the expression that life is a series of choices.  Yes, you might be able to go back and have a second chance at college, but for the most part once you have made a choice you do not get that option again.  This is Memorial Day weekend.  It is the time we pause to consider the price that members of all four of the branches of the military have paid.  The giving of one’s life in a cause one believes to be important is an example of a choice one cannot undo.  I served time in the Navy and know that one pays a financial price to serve one’s country.  I can assure you that the military does not pay at the upper end of the pay scale in the U.S. The commercials put out by the Navy make it seem to be an adventure which is not what I found to be true.   To those of you who have served, I wish you a happy Memorial Day Weekend.      

Memorial Day Weekend does not increase my belief that the proposed increase in the defense spending is justified.  I really have a problem with this approach to defense spending since it is at the cost of programs such as Food Stamps, Energy Assistance, and upgrading houses to saving heating and air conditioning costs. These programs help Community Action Agencies in their tasks of assisting the truly needy.  While I would be happy to see the poorly paid lower ranks of the military paid more, I cannot agree to that at the price of families going hungry, cold, or without shelter.  If the multi-billion dollar increase is paid for by cutting the social net indicated by the programs listed above, we will see a significant decrease in the resources available for the under-resourced of our country.  I spent over twenty-five years working in the non-profit world.  This gives me a unique perspective on what these cuts could mean to the under-resourced in both cities and rural areas.  No one will be immune from the harm caused by the cuts in vital social programs as has been proposed in the 2017 budget.  These budget cuts are inconsistent with Principle 9 of the Earth Charter that reads: “Eradicate poverty as an ethical, social, and environmental imperative.” 

I agree that sometimes these social safety nets have not been as effective as one would like them to be in improving the lives of those they serve.  I advocate for a more flexible method that allows social service agencies to serve the needy more effectively with fewer rules.  Eliminating fund will not accomplish this worthwhile goal.  Join with me to inform one’s Representative and Senators that harming the poor at the price of increasing the profits of weapons manufacturers is not acceptable.  I boldly proclaim that such an approach is inconsistent with the Earth Charter and its principals.   

For our children’s children

- John Drake