Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dollars and Sense

I meant to write about this when I read it, but I've been having computer trouble at home and I've been too busy at work. (When I'm having busy days at work I want to spend my lunch hour away from the computer.)

I've noticed this all over, but last Sundays this paragraph from a New York Times article about Obama's South Carolina victory caught my eye:

"A heightened anxiety about the nation’s economy was at the center of the primary fight here. More than half the voters said it was the most important issue facing the country, overtaking health care or the war in Iraq." (Emphasis mine.)

From this quote, I assume pollsters/reporters were asking voting South Carolinians, "What issue do you care the most about, the economy, health care, or the war in Iraq?" This question (or the quote that results from it) fails on two counts: (1) It perpetuates the idea that the economy, health, care, and the war in Iraq are separate issues and (2) it is practically empty of meaning as I don't know what aspect of each issue they respondents are concerned about, leaving me to fill in whatever I am concerned about with that issue.

There will always be buzzwords summing things up into neat little categories that allow everyone to think that we're talking about the same thing when we're not. What concerns me most is the first failure. The economy, health care, and the war in Iraq are connected to each other, not separate issues.

Dwight Eisenhower said, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

If you're looking for the actual numbers the American Friends Service Committee (via Iraq Today) spells it out for us here.

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