People Are More Important Than Guns

Children at “March For Our Lives” events carried signs saying, “I am more important than your gun.” This message should be applied to our nation and its spending priorities. People are more important than guns. People are more important than war. People are more important than our obsession with national “security.” The same politicians who don’t understand that guns don’t make our schools, or our communities, safe also don’t understand that guns do not make the world safe.

Our huge, excessive spending on war, and preparation for war, does not keep us safe. It does not keep us free. It does not prevent terrorism. It just kills people, destroys countries, and wastes money. We have been spending over half our annual federal budgets on national defense since the end of WW2. We have by far the most powerful and most expensive military in the world. But all that did not prevent the 9/11 terrorist attacks. After 17 years in Afghanistan we are losing.

Back in 1953, Republican President, and former general, Dwight Eisenhower said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” One of the many costs of war is the value of everything we could have done with the resources spent on war. The huge amounts we spend on national defense could be better used for human needs that actually sustain people, our communities, the economy, and the earth we live on.

The $1.3 trillion budget just passed by Congress continues to waste over $1 trillion on “national security.” Congress and President Trump are increased military spending $81 billion more in the next six months of 2018. They plan to increase it again in 2019. Does the military industrial complex President Eisenhower warned about ever have enough? Is there no end to spending on war?

The budget just passed by Congress raises “defense” spending to $700 billion for 2018. Let’s put this in perspective. If we let $1 billion equal one inch Pentagon spending would be over 58 feet high. All other discretionary spending would be less than 6 feet high.

Prosperous communities depend on investments in people. A healthy, educated, working population is the foundation of a secure and prosperous country. What really keeps us safe are necessary government services like: public health and disease control; safe food, clean water and air; courts and the legal system; public schools; disaster relief; police and firefighters; Social Security and Medicare; and bank deposit insurance. These are the things that impact our daily lives. But we short change these vital public services to pay for more guns.

World Beyond War has a short video entitled “What can you get for $2 trillion?”

There are many ways to save money on defense and not hurt national security. Citizens must demand more responsibility and reject endless spending increases. We need to remember the words of Martin Luther King, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”