Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mayors want to bring war dollars home

March from State House MA by codepinkhq
Boston, April 2011
Congress was treated to some low-quality legal counsel this week over the costly and unauthorized bombing of Libya. According to President Obama's lawyers (highly paid by me and thee), the executive branch of the federal government does not need to consult the will of the people as represented by Congress before carrying out airstrikes on other countries – no matter what the Constitution says.

Elected officials under our form of government are supposed to listen to their constitutents, aren't they?

Mayors around the nation appear to be listening, as twenty have now endorsed a resolution calling on Congress to stop funding wars and redirect the money to domestic needs. They hail from cities in Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Ohio, Michigan Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Mexico, California, Oregon – and the mayor of Hartford, Connecticut just jumped on the bandwagon.

The war dollars home resolution comes before the July 18-20 annual meeting of the U.S. Council of Mayors in Baltimore, and is the first to address military spending at the federal level since the Vietnam War. USCM resolutions guide advocacy in Washington, DC and, if the war dollars home resolution passes, it will be presented to Congress by some of its many sponsors. Perhaps Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore will do the honors since she's right next door and has homeless problems, low-income nutrition problems, jobs problems, and education problems.
These are problems in common: providing basic services during times of shrinking contributions by the federal government. Big city mayors know what it looks like to have to cut nutrition programs for pregnant women, or Head Start programs for low-income preschoolers. They understand that their city becomes less safe when firefighters have their hours cut, and that it becomes less economically viable when education suffers because teachers are laid off and class sizes balloon.

Why isn't the government in Washington DC clear on these concepts?

Presumably because their vision is clouded by the millions corporate lobbyists spend lavishly entertaining them, and contribute to their campaign coffers when it's time for re-election.

Ordinary folks, 30% of whom told CNN recently they fear becoming unemployed in the near future, are increasingly opposed to continuing these costly endless wars. As many as 2/3 respond to polls agreeing that the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting, and a Pew Research Center poll showed a majority identified the cost of wars as the leading cause of the federal budget deficit.

Washington DC ought to be listening. Perhaps if we raise our voices loud enough in Baltimore this weekend, they will hear us all the way to the Beltway.
Austin, Texas rally 2011

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