How big is one billion? The best explanation I ever crossed paths with says that if you gave a newborn one dollar for every second it was alive...one...two...three dollars...how old would the child be before it reached one billion dollars? Seven...eight...nine...ten dollars...That child would be 32 years old before it became a billionaire. This analogy is most useful when trying to comprehend amorphous numbers. It is particularly useful when my students try to get their heads around government spending. So it was with particular interest the other day when I read that our government spending on the war in Iraq has now exceeded $500 billion.
Just imagine even a fraction of that money going to education or health care. (I vote for both)
Why is it that we can't seem to elect leaders with the political will to spend billions of life affirming institutions; only war. War is the breakdown of communication, diplomacy, humanity. It thrives on mythology and fear. Greed and psycho pathology always hover at the stage door. They never play bit parts.
Let's engage in a little fantasy. Imagine how different our lives and futures would be today if the money spent on the war in Iraq didn't go there. Imagine how the quality of life in the U.S. would change. Imagine a bright future.