Life and Death

The Senate passed, by a vote of 89 for, 9 against, a 700 billion dollar defense bill yesterday, giving the Trump administration more to spend on the military that it had asked for.  At the same time, that august body contemplates (and is within one or two votes of passing) a bill that would take away health care from millions.  Truly, we have a political system in love with death and remorseless in its attacks on life.

This from Tolstoy’s late essay (1900), “Thous Shalt Not Kill”:

“That nations should not be oppressed, and that there should be none of these useless wars, and that men may not be indignant with those who seem to cause these evils, and may not kill them–it seems that only one small thing is necessary.  It is necessary that men should understand things as they are, should call them by their right names, and should know that an army is an instrument for killing, and that the enrollment and management of an army–the very thing which kings, emperors, and presidents occupy themselves with so self-confidently–is a preparation for murder.”

If only it were a question of calling thing by their right names!  Not that I underestimate the will to obfuscation, the will that led us to rename the Department of War the Department of Defense.  I have a hard time describing–and dealing with–how dispirited I currently feel about the state of our nation and our world.  Must humans be worshipers of death?

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