Hello Daily Kos. I'm Justin Ruben, the executive director of MoveOn.org. I wanted to reach out to this community today and talk about the so-called budget crisis in Washington.
We don't have a budget crisis in Washington. We have a moral crisis.
When Congress can seriously debate forcing veterans into homelessness and cutting food aid to pregnant women and children, while giving tax breaks to billionaires, something is very, very wrong.
That's why this morning, I joined, along with the heads of seven other major progressive organizations, in an ongoing fast launched by religious leaders to protest the brutal and unjust budget cuts being debated in Washington.
Those who will go hungry because of these cuts are largely invisible to decision-makers in Congress. By fasting in solidarity, we have an opportunity to make their suffering visible, and expose the immorality of this policy.
The fast was launched on Monday by Ambassador Tony Hall (who fasted for 22 days as a member of Congress in the ‘90’s), along with Jim Wallis of Sojourners, David Beckmann of Bread for the World, and Ritu Sharma, of Women Thrive Worldwide.
In Wallis’ words, he joined
Because there is a selective cruelty going on in this budget debate. Instead of focusing on where the real money is, some budget cutters are actually targeting vital and effective programs that support and protect poor people and some initiatives that are literally saving lives. It was not spending on poor people that created this deficit, and these drastic cuts in programs that help poor people will do little to get us out of our deficit.
Since then, word has spread and others have joined in. If you didn't see it, the most-emailed article on the New York Times website yesterday was food writer Mark Bittman's beautiful column about why he's fasting too.
I joined the fast today because all week long I've been looking into the eyes of my 2-year-old daughter, and thinking about the hundreds of thousands of kids who will get kicked out of preschool, who will lose access to health care, who will go to bed hungry each night if these cuts pass.
I joined because I keep picturing other parents like me, many of them MoveOn members, who will be left with no way to provide for their families if right-wing Republicans get their way.
I joined because according to my faith and my conscience, letting children starve while giving handouts to giant corporations is wrong, plain and simple. And I feel compelled to speak out.
Joining in the fast today along with me are Mary Kay Henry of SEIU; Deepak Bhargava, of the Center for Community Change; Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins,of Green For All, James Rucker of ColorOfChange.org; Rick Jacobs of Courage Campaign; Joaquin Guerra of Presente.org; and Michael Kieschnick of CREDO.
And thousands of others! Around noon, I emailed the MoveOn membership and asked them to join the fast for as long—or as short—as they could. In only a few hours, 8,000 people have already committed to fasting, including 1600 who say they’re fasting every day.
We invite everyone who’s concerned about these budget cuts to join in at http://pol.moveon.org/...
I grew up reading these words from the Prophet Isaiah and they've returned to me powerfully today.
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
While this cause will speak to all of us differently—to our faith, or to our ethics, or simply through the eyes of our children—it is grounded in our common humanity and a common passion to defend those most in need.
NOTE: Fasting can be dangerous. Those with health issues or concerns that may be affected by fasting should not participate. Anyone unsure or with questions should consult their doctor before participating.