Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and "Time Is Irreverent."

Mourning our country’s screwed up priorities

Today is a National Day of Mourning for President George H.W. Bush. The US Postal Service is closed, federal offices are closed, some banks are closed, and even some schools are closed. This may get me in trouble, but I just can’t mourn the death of someone who lived to be 94, had an estimated net worth of 23 million, and had the best healthcare in the world free of charge—actually the best of everything. As a president, George H.W. Bush was certainly better than his son, who was the worst president in U.S. history until Donald Trump came along, so this post is not about degrading his legacy. Obviously, many people loved him.
 
My point is that the United States needs to reprioritize its values. Today our government is shut down and our mail will not be delivered in honor of a man who lived longer than most of us ever will live and for the vast majority of his life had enough wealth that he could have practically everything he desired.
 
Why do we shut down the country for one of the most fortunate men in U.S. history, yet argue over whether or not enough people died in the latest mass shooting to warrant lowering the flags to half-staff on government buildings?
 
Why do we give tax breaks and cut regulations for dirty fossil fuels corporations, yet never have enough money to do what needs to be done to save our planet from the devastation of global warming?
 
Why do we spend more on our military than the next nine highest-military-spending countries combined, yet plead poverty when the subject of health care for all comes up?
 
So while the United States has its day of mourning, I will mourn too. Only instead of mourning for a multimillionaire politician who died of old age, I will mourn the fact that the United States has its priorities screwed up. How many kids will die of gunshot wounds today and be lucky to get a few column inches in their local newspaper? Why are their lives worth any less than George H.W. Bush’s?
 
We need to reprioritize!

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