One of the women I sit next to and I had a conversation today that went something like this:
Me: I am a screaming liberal who thinks Obama is conservative.
She: I am a proud conservative who thinks McCain is waaaay too permissive.
Both: Ain't America great!
Which is about the only thing we can agree on. So we have these dance-y conversations where I'll say one thing and she'll say another thing and then we have to change topics because otherwise we'd be Discussing Politics which is forbidden at work. But we get along pretty well.
But today I couldn't stop myself from saying how sad I was that America was spending all this money on War when it could be spending money on other things, and my coworker unhelpfully pointed out that at least some part of the world has been at war for the last two thousand years. This is true. That doesn't make it okay. If everyone jumped of a bridge, after all...
But now I just got an email from a dear, dear friend who hit the point home, hard. Laura is in the Peace Corps, as you know, being a steward of America, carrying the banner of a friendly nation into places where all they know of us is our soda exports and our penchant for guns, and actually Doing Some Good, all the while helping other people learn that not all Americans are cowboys. But the Peace Corps is facing a major budget crunch, and they're going to be cutting funding...my brain doesn't remember all the details, but the new class of trainees for Romania will be cut in half for next year, and it's a possibility that the program could be scrapped all together.
The world truly is going to hell, dear readers, when we can find the money to spend on missiles and bombs that cost thousands of dollars and kill people, and yet we can't find the $200 a month it costs to feed Laura (and her cat) and keep her in a country where she's working side by side to create programs that will benefit people for years to come.
I'm starting to think of the lyrics from Les Miz: "Something's gotta happen now, or something's going to give." I don't like to be the pessimist, but it's starting to feel like our great nation is falling to pieces. Working here in Virginia, at the beginning of all things, I feel like I'm watching the end of an empire. The great arc which starts with the Declaration and ends when California secedes and the Midwest is covered in ten feet of snow. I'm just saying.
I don't want to be the pessimist. But if there was ever a time to stop what we're doing and say "what the hell!" this would be it. Let's get our priorities straight: Laura and her cat...not bombs.