Today is Mother’s Day. Every mother I know who has taken on the role, either full- or part-time, knows that it’s not a job for wusses. It’s long, hard work with little or no privacy, downtime, and zero pay, at least in the tangible sense. Interestingly, those adults who come through in assisting mothers in child rearing by taking on the job of child care and/or teaching our children, fare little better in both pay scale and societal status. It’s a sad legacy for a country full of self-professed Christians claiming that children are the nation’s future and number one priorty.
Another thing many, if not most, mothers know about in varying degrees–what it means to budget the family’s income against expenses incurred in day-to-day living– trying to find the extra for the unexpected and, hopefully, a few modest luxuries. Too many in our fiscally lopsided world are just happy to make it to the next paycheck.
Even the President has to budget. But wouldn’t it be interesting to see what President Bush’s shopping list for 2007-2008 looked like? From the Friends Committee on National Legislation’s Washington Newsletter in March, I can offer you this peek:
- The President requests $10-million to fund the Space Test Bed, the first official space weapon. For better human security, we could take that same money and buy 2,469 Pell Grant awards for low-income college students.
- He requests $118.8-million to pay for new nuclear weapons. Same money could purchase $17,824 housing vouchers to shelter people in reliable replacement housing.
- . . . $2.5- billion to purchase 26 V-22 Osprey helicopters (the accident-prone transport from earlier news). It could be used to purchase heating assistance for 5.5 million households through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
- . . . $2.7-billion to buy a submarine to replace a functioning fleet during its useful lifetime. With that money, Supplemental Security Income could assist 497,054 people (SSI assists elderly, blind and the disabled) people meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter.
- . . . $3.4-billion could pay to finish building two new DDG-1000 Destroyers designed for open sea warfare OR buy comprehensive job-training for 340,000 people through One-Stop Career Centers.
- . . . 4.6-billion will buy the President 20 F-22 Raptor Fighter Planes developed to counter Soviet MiG jets. It could also fund 631,261 slots for children in Headstart, addressing child development needs of low-income families.
- . . . $6.1-billion could fund 12 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Jets (the next-generation’s fighter plane) OR it could buy health insurance for 4.2 million uninsured children through State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
- . . . $8.9-billion could pay for Ballistic Missile Defense. It could also pay for annual food stamp benefits for 8 million people.
The President’s budget would go toward possibly making us number 1 in war mongering ability, but just imagine the difference that could be made in this country using the same budgeted money for the italicized alternatives above. War is not the answer! I think it bears repeating what I noted above: It’s a sad legacy for a country.
I am a mother, and recently entered the new realm of Grandmother-hood, and would not trade the intrinsic rewards for any amount of material goods I might have had otherwise. And I say that in spite of all the grey hairs I’ve earned throughout the experience, since I feel I’m also a better person for it. I know I appreciate my own mother all the more for it. She’s no longer with us so I can’t pick up the phone and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. Instead, I will acknowledge and validate–because I know that no phone call or card or the finest gift would ever make up for their losses–all those mothers who lost their sons or daughters in the current middle east and other wars as well. None of their Mothers’ Days will ever be same.