Here is the incontrovertible truth, our country is at the precipice. Homelessness is at record levels, the working class is being pushed into poverty and the middle-class is being decimated. Instead of addressing these multiplying crises that are ripping through our country like a five-alarm inferno, we are rushing to put out fires overseas while ignoring our home that is engulfed by the flames of limited opportunities, diminishing hopes and boundless inequalities.
Never mind that the vast majority of Americans, irrespective of identity or political ideology, have had enough of never-ending wars that start with bravado and end with broken soldiers living on concrete sidewalks and innumerable deaths in far-off lands. Eisenhower warned us nearly seventy years ago about the exact scenario we are witnessing at this exact moment; the military-industrial complex has commandeered our government as policies are written to enrich war profiteers and break humanity in its wake.
Vietnam, Nicaragua, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, these are but a few of the countless countries we have declared open or covert wars with over the past fifty years. The calendar flips but wars are as constant as the Rock of Gibraltar. The same talking points are recycled to justify yet another bloodbath; “humanitarian intervention”, “preserving democracy” or “defending freedom” nothing more than rhetoric meant to justify another hostility of choice. Our political leaders keep declaring war for the sake of peace only to get more of the former and never attain the latter.
The latest flashpoint is Ukraine; the political and media establishment are lining yet again up to drum up another war. There are people brazenly talking about going to war with Russia, one that could very well lead to a nuclear Armageddon. Disconnected reality mixed with liquid courage, we are being led by the nose by warmongers who have zero skin in the game and whose family will never feel the pains of loss wrought by war. DC has become a breeding ground for bipartisan chicken-hawks who watch their investment portfolios blow up like nitro each time a country is blown apart over petrol.
This time around, what happens overseas will not stay over there. Bullets can easily lead to ballistic missiles tipped with nuclear warheads. Remember when Condoleezza Rice once justified the Iraq War by saying that WMDs in Basrah could lead to mushroom clouds in Boston as she used alliteration to instill fear in us all? Well, this time around, gunfire between US and Russian troops in Donetsk could lead to radioactive fallout in Detroit.
We need to take a step back from the brink and have an honest conversation about America’s role and our responsibility as the most prosperous and influential country in this world. Do we want to continue being the police, judge and jury of the globe or are we better off letting other countries handle their internal affairs and instead attend to our own business? Do we want to continue spending hundreds of billions on weapons and arming countries around the planet or would those dollars be better spent by investing in America?
I believe it is time to take the advice that George Washington gave a fledgling nation upon his departure from office. He warned of the perils that come with policing the world and of the dangers that are manifested through political parties. Sadly, few listened to his sage advice as factionalism and interventionism in our nation’s capital work together hand-in-glove to profit Wall Street, impoverish Main Street and bludgeon humanity.
Election cycle after election we keep vacillating between Democrats and Republicans voting for change only to get more of the same. Already, the Republicans in DC are positioning themselves as the party of workers, this is like Scrooge advertising himself as the patron saint of the poor. The reality is that both parties are appendages of multinational corporations who are thoroughly corrupted by the military-industrial agenda, true change is only possible when we truly divorce ourselves from their status quo and declare our independence from the duopoly.
I drove by the White House this afternoon on my way to drop off an Uber passenger, what I witnessed at once saddened me and provoked a deep level of resentment. Two blocks from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue where the President lives is a tent city where a homeless veteran was asking for change. This man, who bled psychologically if not physically for his country, has been reduced to panhandling and sleeping outside in the cold.
Meanwhile, the very leaders who wave flags and the corporations that air ads thanking veterans for their service are living like Sultans. While the vast majority of us are being squeezed by inflation and more than 60% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, Jeff Bezos is currently lobbying to build a helipad in Crystal City while the neo-gilded age aristocrats are spending more than $450,000 to fly to outer space. This untenable paradigm of more for the few and less for the rest of us is evident right in front of the White House where I recorded this video this afternoon.
What is true of veterans broken by wars is becoming the norm for way too many Americans; the wealth gap is approaching inequalities not seen since the French Revolution as the poor are being pulverized and the rest of us are one or two missed paychecks from indigence. Hope is quickly fading into the rearview mirror as a future of hope sandwiches and change dangling in pockets awaits countless millions of Americans irrespective of our differences.
This is an issue that is deeply personal for me, seven years ago, I lost everything and became homeless for more than two and a half years. By God’s grace, I was able to escape the black hole of poverty as I am gainfully employed and living in a blessed home. However, I cannot wash away the memory of people I once called friends who were chewed up and spit out by planned scarcity and veterans I looked up to who continue to struggle to this day as they negotiate between finding meals and shelter. We can do better than this, we must do better than this.Our nation has been in a continuous state of war for more than 50 years, the only ‘peace dividend’ to be found is one that profits warmongers while impoverishing the rest of us. #Ukraine #WarNoMore Click To Tweet
The reason I am seriously contemplating running for Congress is precisely because of this conflict and inequality paradigm that has been baked into the status quo thanks to the equally and hopelessly corrosive political parties and the establishment writ large. Though they differ on the margins when it comes to social matters and wedge issues, when it comes to economic and foreign policies, there is not any daylight between Democrats and Republicans. Lost in the process is the will of the people that is nowhere to be found because the poor, working, middle and upper-middle-class do not have a seat at the table.
As I consider all my options with the intention of making a decision on March 1st at the Bruin Slave Jail in Alexandria, Virginia, I am hoping to create a space for all voices who are tired of division, manufactured outrages and grievance-based politics that lack coherent visions to come together in order to demand authentic change rooted in policy reforms. My Love for Virginia is about inclusive justice where all are welcome intent on seeking solutions that will benefit all Americans without bias to our differences.
“We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community.” ~ Haile Selassie’s Speech at the United Nations 1967
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