From the Economic Justice Task Force.
Poverty is the Flip Side of Militarism (June 2013)
“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 not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.” These words from President Dwight D. Eisenhower are our text for today.
And the second reading comes from Martin Luther King, who said, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is a nation approaching spiritual death.”
Poverty has many causes, but surely one of them is the excessive amount that our nation spends on defense, money that could be used to build roads, schools, hospitals, and to repair our crumbling infrastructure. Dollars spent on guns, planes, tanks, and battleships create jobs, but they do not multiply jobs. Dollars spent to strengthen our infrastructure do. We need to move our money from military spending to spending to meet human needs.
Unfortunately, our State is dependent on military spending. Bases, especially in eastern North Carolina, provide economic support for communities that have lost tobacco and furniture plants as a means of economic survival. Governors, congresspersons, and mayors struggle to keep military bases in their districts and to increase military spending when possible. Any talk of cutting military spending immediately mobilizes these leaders to make sure that cuts don’t happen in their districts. And when our nation is the lone super power with tremendous military strength, the tendency is to use that power and strength to solve problems by using force rather than diplomacy; hence, Afghanistan and Iraq.
When young folks are taught violent solutions, they tend to use violent solutions to solve personal problems; thus, increased domestic violence and personal violence against others. And so we have created a military culture when what we need is a culture of peace. And this military culture demands financial support. The money that could be used to create a peaceful society is diverted to sustain a military society. As stated earlier, spending on the military diverts money from spending for peaceful activities. Thus, “poverty truly is the flip side of militarism.”
-Submitted by Cy King