How To Make A Million

>  Several stories have caught my attention in recent days and I think I see a common thread between them and a solution to all of them as well.
   The streets of New York are caving in. Nearly one-half of the prisoners in Florida’s county jails awaiting trial are mentally ill. President Maliki of Iraq says the U.S. troops can now go home anytime they want. And, our government is running a contest (yes, it really is!) offering $1,000,000 to the person or company that can figure out how to lighten the backpack load that our soldiers carry in Iraq. Apparently, they need to carry 20-40 pounds of batteries on a 4-day mission to support high-tech equipment, such as night vision goggles and GPS systems.
   I think if we solve the last one first we can begin to solve the other three. 
   When I read about the contest I told my husband, “I know how to win a million dollars. Bring the troops home. That should lighten the load.” Right away, Maliki gets what he wants.
   And now to the other two problems. Deteriorating infrastructure in our cities and the mentally ill.
   It’s long been human nature to try and “fix” someone else rather than “grow ourselves.”  Who of us hasn’t told our spouse or children or relatives or friends “What is wrong with you is…” or “What you need to change is…” while at the same time, failing to look at the ways in which we ourselves need to evolve to more enlightened thinking or behavior?
    Broaden that approach a bit and you get how one political or religious group deals with the others. Each is quick to point out the shortcomings or failings of the other while turning a blind eye to it’s own.
   And, ultimately, this is what nations do when they go halfway across the globe trying to impose their political and societal views on other nations, while ignoring the more immediate challenges at home.
    We’re still fighting a war on terror, incurring financial indebtedness that defies logic, to impose our will and prevent events that may never occur, even as we do nothing about those challenges that face us daily in our own backyard, posing both real and immediate danger.
   The danger of rotting infrastructures (not just in New York City but most major cities) is significant death and injury, disruption to the economy, added burden to municipal emergency and support services, and huge indebtedness to repair (if the funds would exist at all). 
   The danger of continuing to ignore the problem of having closed mental hospitals in the 1980’s and made no alternative provisions or plan for their inhabitants is increasing financial and resource strain on our justice and penal systems, an ever-growing recidivism rate for the mentally ill, and most importantly, the harm to ourselves and our society for ignoring the suffering and need of fellow citizens.
   I know the world has serious problems. I know terrorists are real. And I know one day in 2001 they made their presence tragically known on our land. 
   But the other challenges that we face, we face daily. These other challenges are getting worse. These other challenges are ours to repair, Now.
We have supported many governments and political positions over the history of our nation that turned out to be not who or what we should have supported. In that regard, we need to understand our own contribution to the international political situation we now find ourselves in. And by the way, the heavens did not collapse and the sky turn black when we left Vietnam.
   So, let’s lighten our soldier’s load and bring them home. Then let’s take all those monies and energy and resources and re-direct them to repairing what is in our own backyard.
   Maliki will be happy. The Mayors will be grateful. The mentally ill will get treatment. And the world can take care of itself. One backyard at a time.
   Mr. President, you can mail the $1M to:
      Carole McKay
      P.O. Box 2233
      Cherry Hill, N.J.

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