Dr. Bob Hanson

Dr. Bob Hanson
We all need a role model, hero, or mentor. I have had several very important ones in my life. One of them died recently, a woman named Mary Harris. Mary passed-on just 49 days short of her 101st birthday. I served with Mary on the board of the Democratic World Federalists. She attended meetings regularly up until the last few weeks of her long life. Living at her beach home in Pacifica, she climbed up 160 stairs every time she went anywhere and relied on public transportation and friends for rides. 


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Mary was contemptuous of war, and called it simply another form of mass murder. At 97, she wrote: “Some say Some-mores are a delicious campfire treat. I present here a truly delectable idea: No-Mores. No-more bombs; No-more war; No-more torture; No-more invading countries for their resources; No-more making enemies; No-more killing for land; No-more crude oil pipelines; No-more fracking; No-more “solving problems” by hating, killing or revenge; No-more excuses for global violence; No-more massacres; No-more mass incarcerations; No-more starvation; No-more homelessness; No-more prejudice; No-more racism, sexism, or ageism; No-more ghettos; No-more extrajudicial killings; No-more “all options are on the table.”

American exceptionalism, but not in a good way

Like many of us, Mary considered herself a global citizen. She would have bristled at the idea that the United States is an “exceptional” nation…the view held by many right-wingers that implies that America doesn’t need to comply with any global rules.

Unfortunately, our country is in many ways an exceptional nation – but not in a good way. Compared with other industrialized countries we enjoy the greatest income inequality, the highest poverty rate, the worst child well-being, the lowest social mobility, the highest infant mortality, the most people without health care, the highest obesity rate, the highest carbon emissions, the highest anti-depressant use, the worst gender inequality, the highest incarceration rate, the worst murder rate and highest military spending.

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter a $1.5 trillion dud

Expanding on this last point: Today over half of the nation’s discretionary spending is going to the Pentagon. We are spending more on arms than we did at the height of the Cold War, when adjusted for inflation. We spend as much on the military as the next 12-15 countries combined. This while the administration and Congress maintain there isn’t money to solve the homeless crisis, end poverty, or repair the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

One example of wasteful spending is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Over the course of its life, the program is projected to cost $1.5 trillion. This program is not only unnecessary, but the planes have failed test after test; it is now questionable whether they will ever be “combat-ready.”

Stay afraid, America, stay very afraid

The military-industrial-congressional-big media complex manages to keep military spending at astronomical levels by freezing the American public in a state of fear. For decades it was fear of Communism. When this wound down, it became a fear of terrorists. Now we see a fear of Islam and/or Russia. President Eisenhower put it very well in his farewell speech to the American people: “Every gun that is made, 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 our money without high cost. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”

Mary’s spirit lives on…

Mary is gone, but not forgotten. Each day I ask myself what I can do to contribute to her dream…a world without war. I know that what I can contribute is miniscule in the big picture, but if enough of us do something to bring lasting peace on Earth maybe it will happen. Please support World Beyond War, Code Pink, the American Friends, Democratic World Federalists, Peace Action and other groups devoted to the cause. — by Dr. Bob Hanson doctoroutdoors@comcast.net

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Dr. Bob Hanson treasurer of Democratic World Federalists, board member of Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center, and Center for United Nations Constitutional Research


Copyright, dwfed.org Reprinted with permission

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