Monday, October 22, 2018

Dumping the Draft Registration

Maybe? Maybe we need compulsory service? Wouldn't that change things in this country, in various ways? My family wasn't rich. There was no consideration or drive for me to go to college. When I graduated high school, I had no plans, other than to get out of school as K-12 sucked for me.

Though I kind of liked the social aspects of high school. Once I shot up a few inches to 6'2", having been rather short, lost a few pounds and suddenly in 10th grade wasn't sure what was going on when girls started to pay me a lot of attention.

Doesn't every country need to know where their young men are (and possibly women) in case of national war or disaster, to call upon our strongest citizens in case of ultimate need? And let's not forget war is a young person, especially male's situation. Women aren't so testosterone based and older males are smarter and less testosterone based. So young men are the mainstream of wars.

I've always hated the draft because I grew up as a child with the Vietnam war. I watched older guys go through it. Friends of the family, eighteen, nineteen years old. Maybe going away to the war and never coming back. How that affected their other male friends and family and the country at large.

I finally went into the military at twenty, because I couldn't get a decent job. Full disclosure... I discovered my heritage late in junior high. I'd grown up knowing I was Czechloslovakian, Slovak really because I lived with my mother and step-father and mom and her mom and dad were Slovak (not Slavic as one is a people, the other is a language that includes various nationalities and not just Slovaks).

However, my father was Irish and I took to that like I was full blooded Irish for some reason. Perhaps because familiarity breeding contempt and all that and Slovak was boring to me, Irish was fresh and new. And, it's Irish, so...not to mention, I idealized a father I never saw or seldom so. So, I was Irish with a touch of Czech (Slovak but I thought of myself as Czech until I was an adult).

I can remember in high school in 10th grade going around to friends at lunch in the school cafeteria and educating them on the Irish "Troubles" that were going on (this was 1970). I wanted to go fight for the IRA and tried to recruit for them. My friends looked at me like I was nuts.

But I had been in martial arts (Okinawan Isshinryu Karate) starting in fifth grade and fought in tournaments. Then I was a Flight Commander in Civil Air Patrol (auxiliary of the US Air Force mostly doing training on search and rescue for small downed local aircraft); I was on a private kid's rifle team in eighth grade sanctioned by Tacoma Police Department and I "lettered" in riflery on the HS rifle team for three years.

I was primed for the military from childhood. Or something more covert. But that's another story and in part leads into my screenplay I'm prepping hopefully for production, "The Teenage Bodyguard". I'm scheduled to begin working with screenplay consultant Jen Grisanti in November 2018. That after I keep hearing it has to see production. From those at The Blacklist, the Bluecat Screenplay Contest and even a famous entertainment lawyer in Hollywood says it's time for my story. So hopefully, at a screen near you someday soon.

Considering all this, I wasn't very happy in the military in having to live the redundant lifestyle day in and day our, follow sometimes stupid orders, put up with some ridiculous (not all) officers, to hear every single day in the morning how we were all there to be cannon fodder, to die for our country and citizens, if and whenever we are called to. Personally, I found that a little disturbing. Not the fighting and dying part, the being cannon fodder part. I just believed that I had more value than that.

After a year or so of it, I finally asked my shop supervisor and Tech Sgt. one day why he had to do that every damn morning, to remind us of our as I saw it, lack of value. He said it was: "because we all have to remember what we're doing here as it's a time of peace and it's easy to forget. It's important, especially for you younger guys, to remember that."

A lot of those older Sgt.s (not even that old really, remember I was in my early twenties) had been in the Vietnam war. So I heard a lot of war stories that were still fresh in their minds. In the end I came out with a much greater respect of the military and for our country. And I thought I had that going in. But I was a sign of the times, of the 1960s and 70s, hippies, punk rock, individuality, and rebellion

I hated it, the military. But I also appreciated it. The whole thing was a pain in the ass but I later realized that I appreciated what they tried to teach me in basic training (in order to keep us alive in war) and just how much benefit I got out of tightening up myself and my attitude toward life.

Which wasn't that bad to begin with really, but I hadn't fully gotten the whole world out there clearly till then. It hasn't been perfect by a long shot, but I'm not now living under a bridge somewhere and I have achieved a decent and respectable position in life. And I made more money than I ever foresaw happening. In part because the military made me realize I could actually do anything I wanted to.

Still, I'd had a lot of that when I was younger, too. Which was probably why I excelled over others when I was in the military. So I later got through college when previously it had never been a desire or a consideration. Not to mention, I doubt I could have done it if I hadn't first gone into the military.

As for the draft, one thing a draft does is maintain a real connection between certainly male citizens and the existence of the government and an awareness of the rest of the world. When you consider how few young voters don't get it or care enough to even vote, the military makes a visceral connection that forces you to realize there is a government and a real world out there. And that you really need to pay attention to both.

To be sure there are other forms available to young people to serve in nonviolent and productive ways and are carried out in other countries. Peace Corps and other NGOs (non-government organizations). So perhaps a war draft isn't so much needed as a requirement to do SOME thing. Something to make us all as citizens more cohesive, to see what's out there and to have a real-world connection with it.

There is too much delusion in this country's citizens about what the real world is and in what they tend to believe in. Which especially of late, leads too many to vote in ridiculous ways that are up against the reality of the world as it really is and not just as political diatribe and partisan politices. Some that are simply delusional in practice. Living in the world is not about political beliefs and ideologies, but about what is actually happening all around us and not just what some say is happening.

The "me" from those younger years would never have believed that I would even hesitate at ending draft registration entirely. But I can say only one thing about it at this point.

Maybe? Maybe everyone, male and female SHOULD be required to do something for others and not just for themselves. It would quash the ridiculous political nonsense we hear so much of lately. And we need that bridge again to reality.

I would suggest we do not need such a massive military. A functionl and productive one, to be sure. But we've gotten addicted to easy answers that all too often really are not answers to anything. We do need a more educated population, however.

Free education was decided upon around the turn of the 20th century and instituted. K-12 was offered free and it was a boon to this nation. And now conservatives seem to think that's a waste of money as they block and damage our educational system time and again. When we really now need to open up education to be free beyond into higher education.

We in these modern times require at least a free two year community college or vocational-technical education. And I would push beyond that to where a four-year degree is the new end of the K-12 educational years. We would benefit greatly from it. Instead of giving all our money through tax breaks to corporations and funding the military even when they don't want it as a jobs programs for the military industrial/corporate complex, we need to enhance our thinking capabilities.

In the end and before it's too late we need to bring America back to Americans. And at his point with social media and so many avenues for Americans to wander off from the primary orientation that has made us so great, we need to pull that all back in and become one again. One in our great diversity. That diversity that has made us so great and so strong.

Because anyone educated in animal husbandry will tell you, diversity is strength. Purity is a path to inbred monstrosities. Just as we are now turning into one in thinking we don't need minorities.

America has changed. We need to change with it, to maintain just who we are, have been and want to be. Education and cohesion in all our vast differences is the way. Celebrate your history, your ancestry, your "tribe" to be sure.

Just remember what tribe you are in as an American citizen and ask yourself, how can we make that our new and even better reality?

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