Monday, March 05, 2012

Priorities

See this:


It’s a sculpture on the campus of Olympic College in Washington. It cost $100,000 and was paid for with tax dollars.

See this:



That’s a picture of men training to be Navy SEALs. If those men, or anyone in the Armed Forces, were denied anything because some tax dollars went to that sculpture at Olympic College, there is something woefully wrong with our country.

I’m a big proponent of the arts. We attend the symphony and peruse local art galleries. Our kids are in a performing arts group and I’ll pay big bucks to see Wicked again when it comes back to the Wharton Center this summer. But those are personal choices made with private funds. Which is what all spending on the arts should be.

Sean and I saw Act of Valor this weekend. If you’re looking for Oscar-worthy acting, this is not your show. But if you want a realistic peek into the lives of a team of SEALs and the unbelievably harrowing situations they find themselves in, risking their lives so we can go to a movie on Saturday nights without worrying that we'll be blown to bits, this is your movie.

I spent the entire time thinking about three men: my dad, my cousin’s husband and my friend’s husband, all military men, all heroes. My dad flew in Viet Nam. He doesn’t talk about it. My cousin’s husband is deployed right now. He missed his daughter’s high school graduation and first day of college. My friend’s husband has just returned from his deployment. He  missed his son’s final basketball season and six months of his kids’ lives.

As I watched the men on the screen put their lives on the line in the fictional story, I couldn’t help but think we, as a country, should be doing everything in our power to support our real-life soldiers, both on the field and off. Agree with the policies of our government or not, these men and women are putting their lives on the line. They should be making a boatload more money than they are.

And maybe, if we quit funding glass-lighted sculptures, we could pay them what they’re worth.