A rant. Might get messy.

Seen repeatedly on facebook. Many many MANY times on facebook:

In America - The Homeless go without eating. In America - The Elderly go without needed medicines. In America - The Mentally ill go without treatment. In America - Our Troops go without proper equipment. In America - Our Veterans go without benefits they were promised. ...Yet we donate billions to other countries before helping our own first. Have the guts to re-post this. 1% will re-post, 99% won't. ***Whats WRONG with this picture?***

 Or many variations on this theme. It's gotten to the point where I am ready to start deleting people who post it. Why? Because it makes me angry. Why does it make me angry? Because it is so blatantly wrong. 

This post and others like it get propagated because it depends on two things, ignorance and guilt. Ignorance because if you look into the statements being made here, you will see that they are wrong, and guilt because if you don't "re-post" you will be one of the 99% who doesn't "have the guts".

There are so many things wrong in this post that I don't even know where to start. The line "we donate billions to other countries before helping our own first" is a good place to start. Let's compare how much money the US gives to other countries, like Japan when their earthquake hit, to how much we spend on military, food stamps, medicare and medicaid and so forth.

In 2009 (the most recent figures I could find), the US spent 44.9 billion on foreign aid. Meanwhile, we spent 494 billion (more than 10 times more) on our military, 502 billion was spend through Medicare, 56 billion on foodstamps, and finally 93 billion went to Veterans Affairs. (Side note: I do believe we can't spend enough on our veterans and the current state of the Veterans Affairs office is a disaster and needs to be fixed, but right now we're just talking about spending.)

So let's add that up. For just the things mentioned in the facebook post, food, medicine/medical care, equipping our troops, and taking care of our Veterans:  1.145 trillion. Foreign aid: 44.9 billion.  Overall spending that year was 3.52 trillion. Doing the math that means 32% was what we spent to take care of "our own" while 1.2% went to "other countries".

If any of the statements in that status are true for anyone, it's only because they are not taking advantage of the resources available to them, or, in the case of our military in the field (the best equipped military on the planet, by the way - the US spends more than any other on our military) they might not have what they need because they are in a war zone and the supply line is cut off. It's not because we haven't spent the money, it's because those in need aren't using what is available to them.

But, you say, that's still 44.9 billion that can be cut from the budget or used to help our own people. Well, yes, we could do that, but at what cost? Japan, for example, when they had their earthquake and tsunami, why did we help them? Look around your house. Look at the expensive things, TVs, game systems, movies, computers. All those things were manufactured in Japan or by a Japanese company. Currently, the entire US economy is supported by imports from Japan. Without Japan, we die. So why WOULDN'T we help Japan?

We live in a GLOBAL society now. We can't ignore our allies in need.

And now I'm going to play the Christian card. So many that have reposted this status classify themselves as "Christian Conservative" or "Conservative Christian" or "Tea Party" which is an extension of the Conservative Christian movement.

Here is what Jesus said was the greatest commandment, "Love your neighbor as yourself". Then He also said "a new commandment I give to you, love one another as I have loved you".

What part of "love your neighbor" and "love one another" sounds like "take care of your own first"? Your neighbor is not just that guy next door that you drink beer with, it's that starving kid on the other side of the world that is dying from AIDS.

Do you get it yet? If anything we need so spend MORE on others. We need to stop spending money on guns to shoot our neighbor and spend the money to HELP them.

Let me just finish with this: Whatever you post, on facebook, your blog, Google+, wherever, be prepared to defend it. Don't post something without knowing what you are posting. Know the facts behind it. Know what you believe and stand for it. Don't just cut and paste because you think "Heck yea!", and then be surprised when someone, probably me, attacks it. KNOW THE TRUTH! THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE!