Congress, the media, health care, abortion, jobs, the federal deficit — those are the topics that stir anger in America today.
Several respected polls show anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of Americans say that resolving the issue of wars is either unimportant or they have no opinion on the matter.
But that’s the topic in this three-day series.
The nation has been at war longer than at any time in American history. The country has spent more than $1.4 trillion, according to the government — an amount equal to what Congress tried to cut from its 10-year spending plan to return the federal government to a solid financial future.
More than 6,700 members of the U.S. military have been killed and nearly 50,000 wounded.
When America commits to armed conflict, 99 percent of the nation’s citizens can cheer the effort but have little or no stake in the fight. There is no draft.
Because of the personal and financial costs, a discussion of war seemed appropriate, in spite of the lack of interest. What are your thoughts?
This three-day series grew out of focus groups conducted April 26 by the Beacon Journal in conjunction with the Bliss and Taylor institutes at the University of Akron.
This series is part of the America Today project, which attempts to define the issues dividing the nation. The newspaper, the university and the faith community will use the stories as a foundation for a civility project aimed at changing the way we discuss divisive issues.
The session was facilitated by Alice Rodgers of Jemez Springs, N.M., and the participants were recruited by Amy Merrill-Boren of Decision Point Marketing in Canton.
The three women who talked about their military families were granted confidentiality to allow for discussion of topics that might make them feel vulnerable.
Two women agreed to talk further with a reporter and allowed the use of their first names. A third, who in this story shares recent anguish, declined to allow the Beacon Journal to contact her afterward. Her name and that of her son, serving in Afghanistan, were changed in this story.
So what are your thoughts? What are the reasons that Americans place a low priority on this topic, and how do you feel about that?
Does your family have someone who has served in the military or do you know someone who has? What are their most pressing issues? What can or should be done to help our soldiers and their families adjust more effectively?