Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Days and Dollars Roll By

It's been a while since I've written, but in cyber-travels of recent of days, I came across the work of the National Priorities Project for the first time and found myself compelled in the reflecting the experience here.

A visit to the front page of the NPP opens a door to information about federal spending on projects ranging from clean air/water to the Katrina clean-up to the distribution of taxes collected for the average household in over a hundred different U.S. cities. However, it was this rolling tally of dollars spent non-stop for the Iraq war that most captured my attention. I sat and watched the tally roll when I should have been reading the next pages of Heidegger. I watched the numbers fly by and imagined items passing as though being seen by the electronic eye at a check out counter: one major, two generals, three sergeants, 16 four-wheelers, two Apache helicopters, one amazingly precious first lieutenant ... and so on and on and the numbers rolled/are rolling even as I write here ... now.

I hear "worth it" sentiments from bloggers in uniform and out. I hear "waste of money and lives" frustrations from bloggers in uniform and out. And I know the last chapters of my own story, my first-person "mom/Tommi" story, are falling into place for an ending set in an ordinary everydayness of quiet drama. Tommi is in "double digits" as she tells it: by the end of another eight weeks she'll have turned in the keys to her office and turned over the weight of her job to a next round of soldiers assigned to occupy hope as the world waits for the gamble of a cowboy president to play itself out. What exactly is there to "win" when you fight a war of ideas and words? I'll be glad when Tommi is home. I won't know the others who remain, but I'll be glad when they're home, too.

The National Priorities Project (NPP) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization serving citizens and community groups by provided tools for informed citizenship in matters relating to the federal budget and policy priorities currently engaged. It is the aim of the NPP to support and better equip citizens for participation in advancing social and economic justice.

The National Priorities Project

  • provides data on the impact of federal spending policies for states, cities and counties;
  • educates and trains citizens, activists, media and elected officials on the federal budget, the budget’s local impact and community needs;
  • collaborates with national groups on federal budget initiatives; and
  • facilitates dialogue and action between national social justice and security policy groups.

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