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by Hans Crusim

Being truly “America first”

President Donald Trump in his inaugural speech, said “America first…” that’s the basis of his Presidency. The citizens and their interests will come first, that he will rebuild and make America great again and the country, will decrease the amount in which the US meddles in armed military affairs. Throughout his campaign he has said things like “I’m no warmonger” and in his inauguration speech said they have “spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair…”

So with all those statements, I ask him and you, dear reader: why would the President of the United States, who repeatedly said America first choose to spend billions of dollars more on the military, a department, more often more than not, is funded and used to meddle in international affairs, like the Iraq Civil War. Why isn’t that department cut? Why instead do he and his cabinet choose to completely eradicate The National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities? These two art agencies combined only roughly have a budget of $147 million, measly compared to military spending!

America needs a powerful military, yes that I understand. But if you want to put Americans first you have to let the country have proper funding to continue to build its arts and at its core, the infrastructure of the United States. Billions are spent on the military; hundreds of millions are pennies in comparison to that. The country already has a reputation of being an international bully or the UN (United Nations) attack dog and more often than not we get involved in military conflicts, than we ever need to. We haven’t even finished ending our ties in the Middle East and in the process losing the lives of soldiers for no good reason all because they want to play the role of world police.

In his inauguration speech he even spoke out about the “sad depletion of the military…” when in fact the US military is considered one of the biggest in the world, if not the biggest. Will this mean he wants to even further expand this already colossal military? What America needs more is further investment in its private and some in-house public service sector, especially in our time where innovation, advancement of our technology, crumbling infrastructure and expression of culture is key.

The NEA (National Education Association), EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), NASA etc, these agencies cost a lot less than the billions we spend overseas to create what? Senator John McCain (of Arizona and a Republican), as reported by The Young Turks, has a plan:

“McCain’s plan would pay for more troops for the Army and Marine Corps, more ships for the Navy and more planes for the Air Force. But it would require caps on defence spending to be overturned, an action that has eluded Congress since such caps were enacted in 2011… And over five years, the plan would add $430 billion more than current projections, bringing the defence budget to $800 billion in fiscal 2022.”

These plans do not foster relationships with other countries; it just gives them more of a reason to fear or challenge America. One of my favourite online personalities, Colin Moriarty, put it rightly:

“There’s no shame in Conservatives believing that a modern society should use tiny portions of its dollars to pursue science, medicine, tech and art.”

Senator Bernie Sanders is often asked in interviews, about his position on Obamacare and tuition free College education, how do they fund it all? His answer is by truly putting America first. We are still at war in Afghanistan, now the longest conflict which the US has been involved in, meanwhile, for some reason, we cry that we have often stretched our budgets to develop the country’s infrastructure. We don’t have to. The Afghan war costs, as reported by the Young Turks Network, is:

Annual Cost Per Soldier: $2.1 million

Daily Cost: $100 million

Total Cost: $750 billion (annually)

Why do we pay this much for a department hardly involved in developing the country? Repeatedly people argue that its for “safety”, clearly fear mongering because they can still have a powerful military without spending this much. Citizens can’t even afford healthcare in the US, which, ironically, endangers the people. If President Trump really is putting the people first he has to cut down on this military funding and invest it in the development of the very people who he is promising better lives to.

While all this expensive meddling is going on, there are citizens that can’t afford College tuition, which means there exists a middle class fighting for scraps. Now we have a middle class that is desperate for these low-paid, low skilled manufacturing jobs that are internationally outsourced because they don’t have the opportunity to continue to higher education. They could be doing so much more.

Investment in the countries private and public sectors has in the past proven, that the innovations made by it, advance not only the country but also humanity as a whole so everyone benefits. The private sector, and this is a key aspect of the President’s rhetoric, in the past has created jobs and not only shiny new gadgets or films.

The history of America, its infrastructure and culture, is what makes it what it is today. It is not made by the size of its military, which I stress is still crucial for defence. But expanding it, or not even to consider downsizing it, does not help our cause. The things the country creates make America, it’s the everyday things the citizens create: art, music, commerce etc and that is more important because all these things contribute to its national development and the expression of the nation.

What has been created inside the country has come to define the land of the free: the creation of the constitution, the federalist papers, the declaration of independence, civil rights movements and even things produced by the American entertainment industry. A good example of this is the musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda: Hamilton. Which, though fictional in parts, has inspired many Americans, and even those overseas, to remind them of why the founding beliefs of America are liberty and freedom for all. What do all these movements have in common? They’re an expression of the people regarding the state of their time. America continues to progress today because the people had the courage to speak out against an oppressive establishment.

They say history often repeats itself and if there’s one on-going similarity in the events, which led to the United States in its current, well, state it’s that the oppressed will always rise up, just as the founding fathers did.