ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Once the world envied when it came to primary and secondary
education, America no longer ranks amongst the world’s top 20, having
made a Faustian compromise that has placed us at the top in military expenditure
“Liberals” Hate the Military?
Everybody Hates Social Welfare
By Rodney D. Foxworth, Jr.
Evasion is a tactic that is masterfully utilized by conservatives, moderates, and “liberals.” Take, for example, the recent article authored by New Republic reporter-researcher Rob Anderson, “Military Offensive.” The only thing offensive, however, is the drivel that comprises Anderson’s essay, in which the scribe asserts that “liberals” hate the military and wish to destroy it.
Anderson’s essay is problematic on many levels three in particular. First, Anderson equates so-called “military hatred” with “liberals,” without defining or identifying liberals, outside of Cindy Sheehan and the other writers of 10 Excellent Reasons Not to Join the Military , who, in the words of Anderson, are “antiwar activists and journalists.” Defining antiwar activists as “liberals” right off the bat seems to be quite an intellectual jump, as if conservatism automatically precludes one from being antiwar.
Also, the so-called liberals that make up the Democratic Party don’t seem to take much issue with the military, having voted for or proposing increased military spending a majority of the time. Secondly, and most importantly, Anderson deliberately diverts “liberal hatred” from militarism and the military-industrial-congressional complex and directs it upon the military as our defenders of national security, at once exploiting our concern for military personnel (“[v]eterans are not receiving proper medical care”) and maintaining that “liberals” have no interest in a strong national defense (“it speaks to the growing ranks of liberals who are uneasy with the idea of American strength, and the institutions that guarantee it”).
Thirdly, Anderson provides no proper rationale for the supposed military hatred of the left, instead suggesting that it is because liberals are “increasingly uncomfortable with American power.” As a writer for The New Republic, we can assume that Mr. Anderson has a strong intellectual pedigree, but it doesn’t serve him well here: citizensnot necessarily liberalare concerned less with the rise in military might than they are with the adverse social costs that arise from increased military spending at the expense of social welfare.
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“Every gun that is made,” someone once declared “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 are 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.”
Mr. Anderson would have us all believe that the person behind these words was some card carrying Green, a follower of Gandhi, or worse yet, Martin Luther King or Che Guevara. No, the person behind these words is none other than Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of these United States and U.S. Army general of World War II, who stood before the American Society of Newspapers Editors in 1953 to deliver his famous “ Chance for Peace” address. Eisenhower was never accused of being a “liberal.”
What Eisenhower understood, and what thousands, if not millions understand today, is that the nation actually has priorities outside of “national security,” as defined narrowly by pundits like Anderson, limiting national security concerns to military and defense.
This is something that Anderson and his ilk are either unable to understand or unwilling to acknowledge. It is very much a zero sum game: the more resources placed into the militarized state, the fewer the resources available for social welfare programs and education. Military expenditures increase as drastic cuts are made to educational and social programs.
While it is impossible to argue that we do not need a “strong” military, no better question has been asked in regards to the military than the one posed by child advocate Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund:
Is it really necessary for the U.S. to spend seven times more on the military than either China or Russia, the two next largest military spenders, and more than 40 times the expenditures of Iran and North Korea, the two remaining countries President Bush has labeled the ‘axis of evil,’ when so many children are terrorized by sickness, poverty, illiteracy, homelessness, and food insecurity at home?
This is a question that commentators such as Anderson continue to sidestep, but one that continues to be raised by “liberals” like Edelman.
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There is an age old adage that says you need to pick your battles. So when commentators like Anderson alongside a chorus of military vets and ground troops rightfully admit that our forces are being stretched thin, they might want to direct their criticisms to the powers-that-be who decide what battles are to be fought, rather than accusing “liberals” of hating the military. The answer then isn’t to increase military spending, but to demand that the executive and legislative branches of government better prioritize (especially in lieu of domestic concerns, such as inadequate public school education), operate within their meansa concept that falls on deaf ears in debt crazy Americaand administer military funds more efficiently.
That our troops are forced to operate with outdated and outmoded equipment despite hundreds of billions of dollars dedicated to “national security” makes little sense. It suggests malfeasance and unaccountability on the part of higher-ups.
Those of whom Anderson considers military haters are neither liberal nor conservative they don’t fit into neatly crafted political categories. Rather, so-called military haters are simply critical of the prioritizing of the U.S. government, and for good reason. While the Department of Defense increased their weapons procurement budget to $81 billion in 2004from $60 billion in 2001an additional 5 million Americans fell into poverty.
18 percent of the nation’s children live in poverty, with an additional 22 percent labeled as low income, though the figures are far worse for traditionally disadvantaged populations such as African Americans, with corresponding figures being 34 and 27 percent, respectively. 9 million childrenand millions more of adultslack health and mental health insurance (veterans aren’t the only ones receiving poor medical care), but a corporation like weapons contractor Lockheed Martin, the industry leader, receive some $60 million a day from the U.S. government.
Once the world envied when it came to primary and secondary education, America no longer ranks amongst the world’s top 20, having made a Faustian compromise that has placed us at the top in military expenditure but has resulted in 60 percent of White 4th graders and 80 percent of Black 4th graders reading below grade level.
Despite these disheartening and frightening numbers, the president requested a 2007 military budget of $527.4 billionwith operations in Iraq and Afghanistan remaining unbudgeted and likely to cost an additional $100 billion. The president champions his cuts in nonsecurity discretionary spending as if it were a good thing, declaring in his most recent State of the Union address “Every year of my presidency, we’ve reduced the growth of nonsecurity discretionary spending. . . .This year, my budget will cut it again.”
While increasing military spending, millions of dollars would be cut from the food stamp program, child care subsidies, public housing programs, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, and job training programs, with billions of dollars cut from Medicaid, Pell Grants for higher education, and various other educational programs.
Excuse me as I suppress my excitement over cuts in nonsecurity discretionary spending. And it’s not as though the budgets proposed by Congress are much better.
In Baltimore where I reside the median income family paid, on average, $1296 in federal income tax, with 37 percent of that earmarked for past and present military expenses. According to the military loathing War Resisters League, 49 percent of federal funds is hoarded for past and present military expenditures.
While this number is likely a bit excessive, it is also far more accurate than the 19 percent reported by the U.S . government, which includes Social Security and other programs that are funded separately from income tax as a part of federal spending, and includes past military spending with nonmilitary discretional spending. Such acrobatics are necessary for the government to validate bloated and inefficient military spending that makes corporations like Lockheed Martin wealthier each day, as cuts made to social and educational programs make it that much harder for marginalized Americans.
Instead of devoting precious time and space to attacks upon a concerned citizenry critical of government decision-making, Mr. Anderson and his peers should direct their criticisms at the growing number of political leaders who are indifferent to social welfare and the programs that make equitable access and opportunity possible.
Anderson’s question should not be “Why do liberals hate the military?” but “Why do our leaders choose militarism and poverty over social welfare and children?” After all, how long can America remain a world power and military force without properly investing in its present and future?
Rodney Foxworth is a Baltimore writer and college student. An associate editor of LiP Magazine, his writings have appeared in publications such as the Baltimore Sun, Metro New York, LiP, Baltimore City Paper, The Black Commentator, and Dissident Voice. He is an occasional blogger at Brickburner.org.
posted 19 April 2006
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#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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By Rodger Streitmatter
Little research exists on African-American women journalists, even in studies of the black press. To address this gap, Streitmatter presents eleven biographies of journalists from the early nineteenth century to the present.Journal of Women’s History
[Streitmatter] finds that their attraction to journalism cam from their desire to be advocates of racial reform, that they were courageous in the face of sexism and financial discrimination, and that they used education as their entry into journalism and subsequently received support from African-American male editors.Journal of Women’s History
An historical chronology of eleven interesting and determined black female journalists.Washington Times
Rodger Streitmatter is a journalist and cultural historian whose work explores how the media have helped to shape American culture. He is currently a professor in the School of Communication at American University and is the author of seven previous books.
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By Melissa V. Harris-Perry
According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless Mammys behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own familys needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.
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By Ngugi wa Thiong’o
This is a powerful, moving story that details the effects of the infamous Mau Mau war, the African nationalist revolt against colonial oppression in Kenya, on the lives of ordinary men and women, and on one family in particular. Two brothers, Njoroge and Kamau, stand on a rubbish heap and look into their futures. Njoroge is excited; his family has decided that he will attend school, while Kamau will train to be a carpenter. Together they will serve their countrythe teacher and the craftsman. But this is Kenya and the times are against them. In the forests, the Mau Mau is waging war against the white government, and the two brothers and their family need to decide where their loyalties lie. For the practical Kamau the choice is simple, but for Njoroge the scholar, the dream of progress through learning is a hard one to give up.Penguin
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By Andrew B. Lewis
With deep admiration and rigorous scholarship, historian Lewis (Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table) revisits the ragtag band of young men and women who formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Impatient with what they considered the overly cautious and accommodating pace of the NAACP and Martin Luther King Jr., the black college students and their white allies, inspired by Gandhi’s principles of nonviolence and moral integrity, risked their lives to challenge a deeply entrenched system. Fanning out over the Jim Crow South, SNCC organized sit-ins, voter registration drives, Freedom Schools and protest marches. Despite early successes, the movement disintegrated in the late 1960s, succeeded by the militant Black Power movement.
The highly readable history follows the later careers of the principal leaders. Some, like Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown, became bitter and disillusioned. Others, including Marion Barry, Julian Bond and John Lewis, tempered their idealism and moved from protest to politics, assuming positions of leadership within the very institutions they had challenged. According to the author, No organization contributed more to the civil rights movement than SNCC, and with his eloquent book, he offers a deserved tribute.Publishers Weekly
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 20 June 2012