It’s a Wonderful World if we open our hearts to see it. With more than half of American adults fully vaccinated, our lives are on track for a safe recovery. There are still vaccine hesitant people in the United States keeping us from achieving herd immunity. Experts say we would need 80 % or more to be vaccinated to eliminate the virus. Variants of the COVID virus then could mean we need boosters to stay healthy.
When the polio vaccine came out in late 1950s, I remember the whole family standing in line at the community center and slowly making our way round to receive the sugar cube in a little custard cup. Today global polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988. After a unified effort of aggressive eradication offered by national governments, WHO, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control, UNICEF and more recently the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and GAVI the Vaccine Alliance this highly infectious viral disease is nearly gone. Like COVID, polio has 70% of infected people without symptoms. It is only found today in small pockets in Pakistan and Afghanistan with 173 reported cases in 2019. The world came together, cooperated and prevented this polio virus from replicating until it was nearly gone.
Among positive bills in the House of Representatives is, HR 1, For the People Act. We need to vote, all of us. The bill protects our vote. Extensive research, including from The Brennan Center, reveals that fraud is extremely rare whether gauging mail in or in person ballots. Any measures to limit polling places, or times of operation or requiring state photo ID’s are impacting mostly Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) populations. That voting fraud is what Trump based his claim to being the rightful winner and legislators from that party going along with his lie, his constant tweeting of this message is a well known brainwashing technique. Repeat falsehoods often enough and people stop pushing back in their minds. Nazis were brain washed to hate certain people, for example. Isabel Wilkerson’s book Caste writes the Nazis studied the US cruelties toward BIPOC. And they implemented in their entirety what the Jim Crow south laws, inflicted on people in the United States.
Then, there is HR40 which is committed to researching a pathway for reparations to be paid to descendants of enslaved human beings in the United States. Some of this is already going on voluntarily in the private sector. The Jesuit’s had lists of enslaved humans as builders of well known institutions that were centuries old. These relatives can be found. After the Pandemic we see how unevenly the impact was felt, the essential workers that bore the brunt of the suffering fell on BIPOC communities and the hospital care givers in particular. Our society needs both care work and infrastructure and workers in all these vital areas deserve secure, dignified and adequately compensated jobs. We are up against gender and racial bias that this work is not as valuable as say manufacturing steel and auto work or nuclear weapons. Teaching is a profession that is majority female. 60% of teachers need a second job to make ends meet. Vice President Harris said we as, a country, pretend to care about education. Fully one half of teachers considered quitting last year. She proposed federally subsidized $13,500 teacher raises. I look at Finland and ask, Why not pay six figures? RAND research determined the teacher is the most significant factor raising student performance levels by a factor of two or three times. Why should FaceBook engineers earn a starting salary of well over 100,000 ? American teachers on average earn a piddling $40,000 a year.
Last year, I lost my 94 year old mother during the Pandemic, families were blocked from admittance to the care facility. It was hard on her to be isolated and it was a great peace of mind for me to know dedicated staff were in charge of her care. We need to value these peoples’ work with high enough wages to afford a home and live in dignity. We need to recognize the importance of a caring economy. Huge expenditures by Exxon Mobile, Chevron and Shell oil etc. on new oil field exploration and pipelines are hugely out of sync with the focus of the world on reducing green house gases. Oil rich countries continue this search and sale as well. Climate change is an existential threat. The very largest emitter of Carbon is the US military and they are not counted in the US Carbon Footprint because they are exceptional. 600 military bases are superfund sites. Like the recent litigation concerning WW2 era abuse. Unapologetic Japan had finally admitted to and apologized for South Korean women in the war, placed in encampments made ‘Comfort women’. I learned on a zoom last night Banning the Bomb Smashing the Patriarchy book release by Ray Acheson, that the US had encampments of Korean ‘Comfort women’ but did not have to admit to it, accept responsibility, apologize or pay restitution because US military is exceptional. South Korea has the largest US military base and the long history of problems with pollution, noise disturbances and dis respecting individuals in the surrounding community wares thin and problematic. It’s time the military clean up its mess everywhere, including passing an IRS financial records review, the nuclear waste dumps and particularly concerning carbon emissions. The military is awash in funding, they can do R&D to find some other way to do it’s work because the world demands carbon neutrality from everyone – no exceptions.
I expect great things to come from the $6trillion that President Biden seeks to fund, American Jobs and American Families Plans. Two years of free community college and universal preschool as well as infrastructure restoration. All with an eye toward correcting environmental racism and racial justice.
Be sure to come and visit WILPFstlouis this summer at the local Farmers Markets. Check our website WILPFstlouis.org for exact times and locations. We will display ongoing work from the Disarm committee. Sign petitions to be shared with our Representatives. See what we have been up to this year, Mother’s Day Micro Action sharing the Peace Declaration behind the first Mothers Day.
There is no law of gravity that drives this current Congress and president to continue funding this new nuclear arms race. Rather Human Rights violators like Egypt Saudi Arabia and Israel should have to become compliant before getting a dime of assistance from the American taxpayers.Concern over funding such expansive programs as Infrastructure can be set at bay. By canceling the modernization of the entire nuclear combat field Trillions of dollars can be freed up and converted to use as renewable energy. This is Windmills not Warheads, that is the Elenor Holmes Norton bill, there are many more actions towards Nuclear Abolition and I encourage you to participate by calling your legislators, and stopping by for a visit.