Tuesday, November 22, 2005

This We'll Not Defend

When I raised my right years ago and swore that I would uphold and defend the constitutions of the United States and the state of Michigan, it was perhaps the proudest day of my life. I was standing as a free citizen pledging to do my duty in uniform to defend my country that has given me so much opportunity and freedom.

And let me say again as I try to whenever I mention my time in uniform, I was merely a rear echelon reservist who never had to put my oath to the test in war. So I'm not trying to imply a Special Forces background, or anything like that (though as a radio operator I could certainly call them).

So it is with sadness, disgust, and bewilderment that I read this:

By a margin of 60 percent to 40 percent, San Francisco's voters told military recruiters to stay out of the city's high schools. Although Measure I is nonbinding, it is a repudiation of a basic obligation of citizenship. Whatever one's views on the Iraq war and the president's policies, we are all under the protection of the U.S. military. Fighting for our foreign policy goals in the public arena is one thing. Making it impossible for our military to recruit is another.

Measure I may be "merely" symbolic, but the statement it makes is in no way trivial. In the simplified language of the ballot, voters were told, "If you vote 'yes,' you want it to be City policy to oppose military recruiters' access to public schools and to consider funding scholarships for education and training that could provide an alternative to military service." And they replied, overwhelmingly, yes, that is what we want.

A revolting sentiment to cast a ballot on. Yet they know this is a consequence-free tantrum that demonstrates (to themselves) their moral superiority. For in the end, the men and women who pledge to defend our nation would never carve out a San Francisco exception to that oath.

Sleep well, San Franciscans. You count on real citizens (and many non-citizens with more patriotism than you show) in our military to defend you even as you shun and scorn that military.

Our military won't let you down. But you knew that.