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dollars and sense

dollars and sense

Tonight, CNN and MTV get together to tell people how they can help the children of Afghanistan. It's actually a message from those very children, asking Americans to help them.

There are several reasons that I have a problem with this.

What message do we send by doing this? My children come home from school wondering why we are bombing a country and then sending them money. My daughter thinks its to make us feel better about ourselves. She's probably right. That's not even the real issue.

Since the bombing started, school children in the USA have raised over a million dollars for the kids of Afghanistan. When was the last time you saw such a gung ho drive to feed the children of America?

I look around and I see homeless shelters and soup kitchens popping up everywhere. Our local church says their food bank empties out monthly. The newspaper's Adopt-a-Family drive for the holidays asks for help for hundreds upon hundreds of families who can barely afford to put a decent dinner on the table. Children are living in motels without the basic supplies needed to get through the school year. They don't have proper winter clothes. People are sleeping on the street and eating out of garbage bags. The line at the free clinic to get vaccinations for children winds down the block and around the corner. There are school districts where children are literally getting lessons in closets. Where the walls are falling down around them and there aren't enough textbooks to go around.

And we are sending over a million dollars to feed the kids of a country we are at war with. How do I explain to my children that our president wants us to feed the children of Afghanistan when they know damn well that at least 5 kids in their class are getting free lunch and wear clothes that come out church bins?

I am not really an isolationist. I don't want to see the kids over there starve to death. I just which as much fervor was put into efforts to keep our own kids healthy and fed.

Charity begins at home, and sometimes it ends there, too. Yes, I have a very narrow view. I know I am not thinking globally. But until all of my neighbors and the children of the country I live in have decent health care and enough food on their tables and the basic necessities of life, I will keep giving my money locally.


I think often too, our policy of helping out, especially when help is not welcomed, has led us to problems in the past. The US policy on foreign aid is partially responsible for the rise of AIDS cases in Mali (I think it was Mali anyways)--they don't want the school system there to teach abstension and they have the schools hand out condoms (which are faulty) and tell the kids that its okay to have sex and that the condoms will keep them safe from AIDS. If they don't do this, then the US won't grant them aid money and Mali's economy depends on this money. We've made them economically dependant on our aid packages and at the same time forced our values upon them. Much of our money is being diverted to similar programs which many nations neither want or need, and yet are forced to accept because they've been rendered economically dependant on the US. Granted...the Mali example is fairly extreme...but think of that money being diverted to AIDS research at home, or to medical benefits or something.

I'm not against helping the Afghan kids...but we've got so much going wrong here at home.

I think your daughter has it pegged perfectly. Sending food and money somehow is supossed to make up for the kids we've killed by accident.

Note - not meant to be an anti-war statement, accidently deaths are a fact of war and I believe we try hard to avoid them.

Hey Michele i agree with you 100%.There shouldnt be any rules with war.War is war!

I completely agree. While I don't want them to starve to death, either, I'd much rather stay focused on our own.

Of course the real issue is not the (relatively) paltry $5 million we are sending them. It's the fact that we spend, what? I think about 1,000 times as much money on the military itself as on public education and social services.The total amount of foreign aid the US sends overseas is less than 1 % of the national budget. But the media and government like to drdge it up to distract from the attention the budget may receive if people really saw where their tax dollars go.

Oh, Congress just voted itself yet another raise. In the midst of the biggest recession in a decade. No one noticed. We have to fight terrorism, you know . ..

If Congress doesn't give themselves a raise then the terrorists win!

"Then the terrorists win" is the new catchphrase for justification.

It is absurd to hold that a man ought to be ashamed of being unable to defend himself with his limbs, but not of being unable to defend himself with speech and reason (logos), when the use of rational speech is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs. by wsop