Uncle Sammy Says
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The Bill Of Rights
OPINION June 05
A soldier dies and we change the channel.
We get up in the morning and lose ourselves in the relative safety of the daily humdrum. We work and have lunch, whether brown bagging or eating upscale with a client. At home we might have a barbecue or a pizza, take a walk and have an ice cream cone, then watch television. We enjoy movies, ball games, dinner parties, bowling alleys, zoos, shopping malls, and the sanctuaries of churches and temples. Meanwhile, every day in Iraq our brave young people are risking being grossly wounded or dying, and it seems almost sinful not to be thinking of them every few minutes....
But it’s so easy not to. After all, the media, as if catering to the administration saturates America’s vast, easily distracted and apparently intellectually challenged citizenry with juicier “news,” featuring luminaries like Paris Hilton, Brad and J-lo, Michael Jackson and The Runaway Bride. And anyway we’ve got a volunteer military, nobody forced them, for pete’s sake. Yeah, it’s so easy, unless of course, you’re a spouse, a mother, a sibling, a child, of the absent soldier, sailor, or marine.
I’m going to state the obvious simply because it pleases me to do so. The fact is, our system is not working for the benefit of all. Universal military obligation would be the most democratic arrangement for our society--but don’t hold your breath, folks. It would mean the sons and daughters of the poor, the working poor, the middle, the upper middle, the rich, the super rich, would have to serve side by side. Contrary to the belief of some, we are not a classless society, and therefore the children of the corporate and political well-to-do have no need for either a military family structure and career, or a pathway to education benefits, which most of the less well-heeled, less educated, are often seeking.