The Common Good

What Would You Do With $1 Trillion?

1100216-trilliondollarsThe United States has already spent $3 trillion on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. With no end in sight for Afghanistan, and ongoing operations in Iraq, this number will only increase, hurtling its way to becoming the most expensive war in the history of the United States (chasing WWII, which was almost $5 trillion with inflation).

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What would you do with $1 trillion?

The National Priorities Project and the American Friends Service Committee asked youth around the country to answer this question by making a three-minute film in their own community. You can view the winning videos of the contest at the AFSC website. I encourage you to listen to their stories. Each video answers the question from a unique perspective, incorporating each students own interpretation. Whether using pure journalism or spoken word, each story highlights a generation which is keenly aware of how our money could be better spent.

In my activist experience I have watched dozens of videos, read articles, and stared at countless photographs. I scour through fact sheets, charts, arguments, and briefs. I have listened to arguments on both sides of aisle, but nothing was as affecting as these three-minute videos of young men and women grappling with the inequities of war and challenging themselves to understand how Congress keeps inflating our defense budget.

If you live in the Washington, D.C. area I would encourage you to attend one of three opportunities to hear from the youth behind these three-minute shorts on Wednesday, February 16. The winning videos will be presented and you can hear from the filmmakers from the Sadie Nash Leadership Project in Brooklyn, New York, and AmplifyMedia in Boston, Massachusetts.

As we've recently seen in Egypt, the youth of a nation are often the rhythm which propels a movement. Maybe Congress should start listening to the young men and women in these films as they spend the next couple of weeks discussing the upcoming federal budget proposal.

Below is one of the winning films:

Hannah Lythe is a policy and outreach associate at Sojourners.

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