I love our country, our people, our history. I love our diversity and overwhelming capacity for compassion and good will. That is why I can no longer watch as our government is seized from us by the few who wish to exploit and enslave the masses. Our Constitution was written by our founding fathers out of the fear of concentrated power, yet that same document has been twisted and manipulated by corporate lobbyists into a perverted endorsement of corporate slavery; our government has become the leech that the oil, automobile and utility industries use to suck money from the population. Candidates cannot fund a successful campaign without corporate financing. The size of a candidate's "war-chest" is causally related to the chances of a successful campaign. American's can no longer depend on elected officials to be concerned with their needs.
We live in an age that overwhelms the senses with information flowing from all directions at all times. We forget that information has been a weapon of mass destruction throughout human history. Propaganda can control and subdue, manipulate populations, and pursue hidden agendas in plain view of the populace. The media is guilty for not questioning the evidence they were presented and for helping to distract the public.
The U.S. defense budget is a weapon of mass destruction. Our government appropriates more of our tax money to defend our freedom than the rest of the world combined; we still feel vulnerable while we also believe we can harass and intimidate the rest of the world. Mr. Bush's recess appointment to the UN ambassadorship is considered insulting by many. John Bolton has made demands that many think are meant to sabotage the process of reform the General Assembly had nearly completed. Mr. Bush's administration believes we have flexed our muscles by devastating Afghanistan and Iraq, and the rest of the world will fall in line. They call it "spreading freedom and democracy." Right now in Iraq, the seeds of civil war are sprouting. Our liberation of the Iraqi people has left them in the middle of a war zone they did nothing to provoke. The infrastructure of Iraq is crippled. The little things we take for granted, like water and electricity, have become more and more difficult to provide as "insurgents" attempt to cripple our efforts. The Iraqi people no longer exist. There are now only Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis.
Leaders like Moktada al-Sadr have their own militias, and the fighting has already begun. A militia of local people, neighbors, fathers and husbands are fighting to defend their families and their homeland. Their way of life is under siege from all sides. We offer illegitimate freedom, while exploiting the political chaos for economic gain. Our forces have colonized the Middle East. Our bases and the heavily guarded "Green Zone" are a constant reminder that we are not going anywhere.
I do not believe that Americans want this campaign of death and destruction to continue. It is our fault. We are the only nation powerful enough to dominate the entire globe, and we have flaunted it shamelessly. Our voting citizens are scarce and elderly, medicating the pain of their existence and drowning in faith. They were sold on their weakness for hating homosexuals and a desire for vengeance. Americans failed to act when deception and foul play were uncovered following two presidential elections. We pretend it really has no effect on us; one election is not enough to change our lives, and one vote is not enough to change an election. We gawk awkwardly every time it becomes clear that we have been deceived, like we never saw it coming. George Bush has been on vacation for the entire month of August, just as he was in 2001, the weeks leading up to 9/11.
Our eyes are blind to the evil we have inflicted in the Middle East. Our greed and our shameless desires have consumed us with this belief that we have the right to live our lives of excess and waste. An endless game to drive bigger and stronger SUVs for the commute to work. Average fuel economy actually declining. China emerging as a major rival for the world's total oil consumption, buying billions in US assets. This is no joke, the new Cold War is pure economics, and we are losing the early battles.
Our economy is falling behind the emerging economic superpowers. The largest concentration of the world's middle class is now in India. Three hundred million of them. About our total population. That's buying power, and China is not far behind. Throwing around our economic weight will not prove effective when other nations' checkbooks rival our own. Our corporations are leaving their American middle-class employees behind to pay even lower wages and fewer taxes in Mexico, India and China. We are consistently funneling funds away from education programs and into military build-up and tax cuts for the wealthy.
Without properly funded education, employers will be forced to look elsewhere for qualified employees, the middle-class will disappear. That is just the beginning. Bankruptcy courts are already packed with applications from families consumed with debt. Federal policy his allowed predatory lending and excessive interest payments suck the life out of the middle class. Loans and mortgage payments, foreclosures and bankruptcies are all tools to concentrate wealth and create a class of Americans indebted like slaves for the right to their homes.
Still, we are convinced that the battle needs to be fought abroad by killing militant Muslims and making idle threats to nuclear nuisances. We are obsessed with programs like "Star Wars" that offer fanciful defense technology as insurance policies, while our own nuclear stockpile remains the largest threat to our existence. Eight billion dollars each year for "Star Wars" alone, which is more than enough to fully fund Head Start and provide health insurance to every uninsured American child (TrueMajority.org). Uninsured children deserve our tax revenues far more than the corporations that refuse to provide such basic necessities to their employees. We cannot continue to cut funding for education and remain competitive in the new millennium.
It is time to take our government back from the corporations. What is best for business is not best for America. Externalized costs are burdening our nation with smog and contamination, pain medication that causes heart attacks, and billions of dollars in corporate tax fraud. Millions of American families are living in poverty despite two working parents and increased reliance on public assistance.
The agencies created to protect us are failing. The Environmental Protection Agency refuses to enforce the Clean Air Act and impose higher standards on auto manufacturers. The FCC has allowed corporate media to dictate its policies. The Vice President holds secret meetings with our nation's energy providers. The President shuns concerned mothers who were forced to send their children off to fight the War on Terror while he attends extravagant fundraisers. As more Americans slip into poverty and are buried in debt, bankruptcy laws are changed to protect credit card companies. Limits are placed on lawsuit awards so as not to discourage malfeasance by the companies that we trust to sell us safe, efficient products.
Congress refuses to make offenders accountable for ethics violations. Tom Delay's campaign finance violations have been ignored. Head Start forces poor urban school districts to divert millions towards unfunded mandates and superfluous testing. The name of every student receiving Head Start benefits goes directly to military recruiters. A large portion of our brave volunteers are from poor, economically segregated neighborhoods left to die when corporations fled to the subsidized, tax-sheltered suburbs and overseas. The truth is, poverty is good for enlistment rates. The truth is, war is an advertisement for weapons manufacturers.
Dependency is good for business. As gas prices keep rising, Hawaii is already subsidizing wholesale prices. Yet, we proud Americans will continue to pour money into the pipeline. Oil companies will continue to receive insane federal subsidies while exploiting weak regulations for profit. The Bush administration will get richer as he has a good laugh with the Saudi royalty. Americans shun public transportation as something nice we do for the poor, while our cars are eating into our savings and making life a daily struggle just to get to work.
It is not too late to stand up and be counted. Irregularities may plague our elections as unscrupulous administrators manipulate results with malice and extreme prejudice, but that is because our leaders believe we are apathetic. Voting machines are deployed with delays and deficits in their capacity to serve the voting public, discouraging the poor and middle-class from voting at all. As the 2006 elections approach, the powerful elite that run Washington will fight even harder to maintain power unless we fight for change. Our elected officials sell themselves like mercenaries to fight on Capitol Hill for all the corporations and big spenders. They assume the average American is complacent, non-voting, and expendable. Our representatives profit from their positions instead of fighting for our rights.
If we begin diverting resources from the weapons of mass destruction devastating sovereign nations around the globe, we can promote prosperity here and abroad. Our nation needs to promote equality through our electoral process. It is time for government transparency and accountability. We can afford to fund education and research vital to human progress. We can afford to alleviate our dependency on oil and non-recyclable consumer goods, while funding public transportation to decentralize impoverished populations. It is time to tell our leaders that we do not need nuclear weapons and pre-emptive war to protect us.
Social revolutions were spawned during times of great conservative influence. The civil rights movement gained momentum during the "Red Scare" of McCarthyism, when the powerful tried to unite us in fear against a common enemy. Now they are selling the War on Terror against extremists and radicals fighting tirelessly to destroy our way of life and burn our flag. The painful truth is, we are imposing our will on other cultures in order to exploit their resources. We persecuted Communists to unite the population in fear and militarize across the globe. It is time to see through the hate and fear and death and realize that we are all human beings. Our foreign policy is devastating to billions of humans dying of starvation, AIDS, and genocide.
I love this country and the ideals of freedom and ambition we all embody, but I cannot agree with the direction we are heading. Sun Tzu wrote that no nation has "ever benefited from prolonged warfare." In the end, all we have is blood on our hands. It is time our ambassadors and leaders show some humility and respect for life itself, for all of mankind. The working class American is being exploited, and now is the time to unite and fight back. Our leaders believe the student population is apathetic and uninvolved, and we have to show them that we deserve as much attention as their corporate sponsors.
Class of 2005