Opinion

Here’s what you can do for us, Congressman

Recently I received an e-mail from Congressmen Rick Larsen asking how he can help me. I created this list as a guideline for bills he could introduce or co-sponsor and ways to allocate funding. If we want to have a chance of offering our children a future that is remotely like our own lives I believe we will need to start down the path set out below.

We can fully fund our share of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. We promised to do this, and it is in our best interest to follow through. Increasing the survivability of children and empowering women are proven ways to bring down the dangerous arc of world population.

We can fully support the UN both materially and in spirit, instead of undermining it with unilateral programs like the World Bank, the IMF and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, while chronically failing in our monetary pledges towards it. The UN provides our best opportunity to negotiate peace, strengthen diplomacy, and create a world military force that can act with the support of the majority of countries of the world. In order to do this we will need to oppose the security councils veto power and work to democratize the institution.

We can support and uphold the international criminal courts decisions and status in the world. 9/11 was a criminal act and should have been treated as one. It is not possible to fight a war against terrorism or drugs. Our attempts to do so have merely served the interests of extremists and drug lords while impoverishing us both financially and morally.

We can face the implications of climate change. This is a global problem that demands we put aside our short-term nationalistic interests and build a plan of action that is equitable to developing nations, and comprehensive enough to creatively address this most pressing need. We will literally have to examine and reform much of our infrastructure and personal behavior. Here again the UN is the best platform to base a world campaign of this kind.

We can reinvigorate manufacturing in our own country by sponsoring innovation in the green technologies that are our way forward. We can create an Apollo scale program of support for science and technology to develop the ideas that we already have, and to do basic research into new areas of energy conservation and generation. We can retool our plants and rehire workers so that our country is offering the world the best-made and most effective sustainable ways to power their homes and transportation as well as sensibly handle the waste stream that threatens to bury us.

We can cut our military budget by a third to half, stop hiring mercenaries, and stop selling weapons to the world. We are consistently the number one supplier of weapons to developing nations and U.S. companies manufacture about half the weapons sold in the world. We are not winning our wars in either Afghanistan or Iraq and it is increasingly evident that military solutions do not work in a heavily armed world. From Washington to Kennedy we have been warned about allowing our society to be dominated by military interests.

We need to realize that we are not a global super power with special status, but one country among many who can all work together to solve the pressing problems of humankind.

In 1963 John Kennedy said: “Our problems are manmade; therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable, and we believe they can do it again.”

If I change the terminology to be less male oriented and more inclusive, I still believe this to be true. If we work together to scientifically and compassionately assess our situation we can make the changes necessary for the betterment of all life.

Please google the search terms “public opinion march 2005” to see a poll put out by The Program on International Policy Attitudes which clearly shows a great deal of support by the American public for much of the above.

David Iles is a local artist and childcare provider.

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