Are we a nation of family values? Children the most important thing? No child left behind? You betcha! Or maybe not. Schools nationwide have to shut down early this year (some teachers volunteering to work for free for two weeks in Portland, Ore., for example). Let's consider our true intentions as a nation. Some statistics below might be worth considering, their sources follow in parentheses.
President Bush has asked Congress for $75 billion to pay the initial costs of the war in Iraq. For the same amount of money, we could hire 1,155,715 elementary school teachers to help educate America's children.
Five days of war in Iraq ($1.1 billion/day) equals the cost to eliminate illiteracy world-wide ($5 billion, World Game Institute).
One minute of war in Iraq ($763,000 a minute) equals Headstart Education for 115 children ($6,633 per child, National Priorities Project).
$413 million buys: Amphibious Warfare Landing Ship Program or childcare for 68,000 needy children.
$1.1 billion buys: One day of war on Iraq or prevent cuts to education programs (FY2003).
One second of war in Iraq ($12,730 per second) equals twice what the United States spends per year, per child in primary education ($6,043, Digest of Ed. Stats).
It seems our government has hijacked our focus from the best of America's values (children, family, education, pursuit of happiness) and replaced in our hearts fear, hatred, more fear and ignorance, and a manipulated sense of patriotism. The military-industrial-corporate complex is real. It is growing more nefarious and more entrenched in our daily lives. A suggestion? Real patriots love America's children. Go tutor, teach, coach, help out an over-worked and under-paid Head Start teacher ($16,000 a year!), spend time with your neighbors' children. Serve your country in the Peace Corps and go fall in love with the world's children. It is up to us citizens to take care of the children. Sadly, for now, the numbers clearly speak: our government is intent on killing other children and neglecting our own.