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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is froth with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want all to thrive in

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Newsletter #2: The myth of the military being an ‘escape’ out of poverty for poor people!


 I’ve been on the road since the end of March on what I’m calling my mobile version of the door-to-door but instead going town-to-town seeking out venues and individuals interested in and willing to host a book reading/gathering/discussion of my book “But What Can I Do?” and my life’s work and learnings.

It has been very challenging in some ways, very rewarding in many others. From every encounter, every reading, every dialogue, I learn things: especially the things I need to improve on.

Recently, I was reading with a group of mostly Jewish womxxn mostly white skinned who were part of an anti-racism committee so I had high expectations for a warm welcome and assumed I would be gathering with “the choir” – which I’m sure I was, but not to the extent I was fantasizing.

First I was given pause when we went around the circle introducing ourselves and only one or two could give an account of when they’d recently witnessed racism, and when they stood up to challenge it or wished they would have stood up to challenge it.

Racism happens in our country every single moment of every single day. And white womxxn NEED to, HAVE to, MUST be able to see, identify, and confront racism – to be a committed and active anti-racist.

My first mistake was to allow this lack of witness of and action against racism to stand unchallenged or even acknowledged by me. My shock as I listened was quickly replaced by my deep desire to proceed with the reading so I could complete my mission to dissect and obliterate racism through the knowledge written in my book.

If you’ve been to one of my readings (or if you’ve read my book) you will know that I begin by stating the fact that our country was begun, founded upon, and continues with racism, war, and misogyny throughout every single institution, organization, neighborhood, system in our country and I deeply thank Black and brown womxxn for teaching me almost everything I know today.

I continue with talking about how there are two things (at least) impeding real change in our country: one is that most of us (especially white people) do NOT know our true history; and two is that we know a lot of myths, lies, propaganda about who we are and our history.

I try to identify both our true history and the myths and lies surrounding what we think is our country. When we were discussing the myth of the military, a womon stated quite authoritatively to many nods and much agreement around the circle, that at least the military enabled poor people to escape poverty.

Poor people to escape poverty. This is such a deeply engrained myth, even liberals cannot see the horrific fallacy of this lie.

Frankly, I was deeply disturbed that this kind of excuse was being flaunted in this space during my reading. 10 years ago, I would have been more ready to address this bullshit. I protested loudly “how can we even consider that turning our youth into killers is a way out of poverty?” Most agreed with me that it was an egregious ‘choice’ and of course poor people should have better choices but they don’t, so at least they have that one.

Some even went on to say as long as that was a ‘viable’ and almost the only choice, they were going to extend that choice to the poor people they worked with.

Can anyone hear what the fuck these basically wealthy white Jewish womxxn were saying? Actually it’s a lie that many people hold sacred. Those of us that are so secure in our wealth and whiteness we know that our children are not in danger of being turned into killers first of all.

Then we can give ourselves a blank check of liberalness affirming the belief that the military is a ladder for some poor people. We can even bend over and extend the ladder, placing the top rungs firmly into the military and out of our view.

Then we can continue consuming all the riches our military provides for us as they invade or have invaded almost every country in the world, genociding and robbing those lands and peoples of their resources and then continuing to force those peoples and lands to bend to the will of our corporations brutally enforced by our military might.

But we can justify the genocide in our name by allowing that some poor people in this country are lifted out of poverty through the military.

Are you fuckin kidding me? So we turn young men into killers, arm them with weapons and the knowledge how to demolish human life, set them loose with mobs of their peers while directing them to conquer and murder womxxn, children, and men.

And then glibly claim this is an ‘escape’ from poverty?

I tried to site one of the many studies I read that has compared peer groups by race, economic status, education, sex and consistently, those who join the military are much less successful than their peers who have not joined the military.

I should have (and would have 10 years ago) mentioned the 25% of homeless people who are veterans; the 25 young men along with womxxn veterans of these current wars who are killing themselves EVERY DAY after they return from their ‘escape from poverty’; the fact that these veterans are over 2.5 times MORE likely to murder their wives or girlfriends than their peers who have not ‘escaped poverty’.

Nor did I address the myth of the escape from gangs and drugs the military offers to poor people. Are you fuckin kidding me? What bigger, more destructive, malicious, violent gang is there on our planet than the u.s.ofa. military? It’s just a legal and condoned gang, a gang these white Jewish womxxn don’t have to read about or witness on tv or fear when they stumble into one of those poverty-stricken neighborhoods they perceive as over-run by ‘gangs’.

I ask you, how can those of us who have so many more choices in front of our families besides the military not be stridently against the recruitment and exploitation of our youth who have none or few of those choices? How can we not do everything in our power to ensure their escape from the military at the very least?

How can we justify the continued monetary support in the very least of our military through our taxes? We choose to not only condemn poor people to a life that destroys their humanity but actually pay for the institution that is responsible for destroying them. All because we are more attached to the amerikkkan nitemare than we are to the sacredness of all life on Mother Earth. We care more about ensuring the amerikkkan nitemare is surviving and flourishing than we do about ensuring life is surviving and flourishing on Mother Earth.

For instance, we continue pumping gas into our engines so we can keep up our amerikkkan nitemare; we continue buying plastic and pesticides and chemicals so we can have easy, convenient access to stuff that makes us valued in our amerikkkan nitemare.

And we continue “thanking” those who have become killers for their “service” to us and our country.

There’s a loop in almost every major airport in our country that perpetuates the myth that these young men and womxxn whose lives are destroyed and exploited in the name of u.s.ofa. corporate domination are ‘serving’ our country. The truth that they are serving our corporations is not heard or spouted by even the most ‘liberal’ mayor.

We MUST challenge these lies and myths perpetuating war and our general acceptance of war as a valid way to get what we want, and exploiting those desperate or trained to be violent to kill for us. And before we protest too loudly, when we know our history, we know that we’ve been at war against someone EVERY SINGLE YEAR of our existence except for 17. Yes, seventeen.