I’m not really here in the summer. I mean, I’m in northern Michigan, which isn’t exactly a reality-based place. I don’t get much news, although this year hi-speed internet finally made its way to our house, and so I’m a little more connected. Which isn’t necessarily a good thing, as it feeds my addiction to the elegant Ms. PowerBook G4 who likes to sit in my lap all day long and keeps me up on the weasely ways of the Great Deceiver. BTW, did you hear that when they went in to remove the polyps they found his head? Never mind.
So yesterday I was reading about the $650 billion military budget bill that Harry Reid pulled from the senate floor after the filibuster folded, and all the mega-buck boy toys it includes. As the July 21 NYTimes editorial puts it, “The bill still channels unneeded billions to gold-plated marvels like the Air Force’s F/A-22 stealth fighter and the Navy’s new DDG-1000 destroyer and Virginia class attack submarines, while scandalously shortchanging the needs of Army and Marine ground forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. . . Defending Americans from today’s terrorists and other threats will require fewer air-to-air combat jets, big stealthy ships and submarines. It will require better-protected ground troops and larger investments in diplomacy, peacemaking and eliminating dangerous nuclear materials. (emphasis mine.)
I'll get to the soil, read on.
That, and an especially syrupy morning cuppa joe got me to thinking. What I do here a lot is garden. And I contend with the usual garden stalkers, the free-range bunnies and slugs and beetles and mildews that help themselves to my goods. I confess that I very occasionally resort to a light chemical spritz when black-spot fungus hits the roses, and when the bunnies mow down an entire row of pole beans, a pellet gun seems appropriate – though not yet a reality. But overall I work at this garden from the other end. That is, from the ground up. It’s the soil, stupid.
Every gardener knows that building up a rich loamy soil is the way to go. Plants that live in healthy soil, built up with compost and carefully tended, are less susceptible to the invaders. They are healthy and vigorous and need little in the way of chemical weapons.
You know where I’m going with this. This proposed budget, like all things Bushco, is all about relying on chemicals and neglecting the soil.
If we poured the money into the things that would make us a healthier and stronger nation – into early, middle and post-graduate education, and child care programs and universal health care and restoring the middle class with real jobs with livable wages, and into rebuilding the crumbling infrastructure and developing alternative energy sources to break our dependence on imported oil, and into solving the colossal problems of global warming, smog-filled air, and a finite supply of water – we would be less vulnerable to the threats from the outside.
I know those threats are as real as the bunnies and the slugs in my garden, so yes, there would still be the need for vigilance and the occasional spritzing and maybe even the pellet gun. But we’d be a healthier, vibrant, even a dazzling nation, more able to resist attacks from any invaders as well as rot from within.
This time around, let’s elect a gardener. Someone who understands the importance of rebuilding the soil and who will cultivate something other than hate and fear.