Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Benefits and burdens; and the fear of weak-minded youngsters

People who live in America get lots of benefts. For all that the Left loves to point to Europe, with its economic stagnation and huge racial problems, as a role model, and to point out that poverty still exists in America, the fact is that life here is about as good as it gets. As I've often pointed out to my kids, never in the history of human kind have so many lived so well. We have safe roads, safe cars, safe homes, safe food (and an abundance of this last one), good medicine, and on and on. And we get these benefits because we have a contract, as citizens, with our government. We pay taxes, they provide the blanket of government protection (although I personally would settle for less taxes and less government mothering). Parents at most American schools get the benefit of federal intervention in the form of lots of money. That is, they're not just paying for the school districts with local tax dollars and community fund raising, they're looking to that government teat again. Nevertheless, at least in the Bay Area, schools are desperately trying to figure out how to keep their innocent little teenagers from even having to see a recruiter, even if that means losing government funding:

Sequoia [Union High School District] is asking parents this month whether they want to withhold their children's names and addresses from anyone who asks, from the military to the PTA. The federal No Child Left Behind Act requires that military recruiters have the same access to student information as educational recruiters. Schools that do not grant such access risk losing federal funds. *** To boost the numbers, the military joins recruiters from colleges and vocational schools who swarm high schools every fall looking for prospects. Anti-war activists are trying to fan skepticism with counter-recruiting efforts, including applying pressure to school administrators to make it easier for parents and students to withhold information from military recruiters -- a process known as "opting out." *** The national PTA recently announced its support for an opt-in policy proposed by Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, under which school districts wouldn't give student information to military recruiters unless parents requested it. The Berkeley Unified School District is among the few that allow parents to opt in now, a policy that could put its federal funding at risk. "It's our interpretation of the law that the opt-in proposal is not legal," said Jim Bradshaw, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education.
Even these often illegal patchwork solutions don't appease the looney left, who want to have things both ways:
Susan Fitzgerald doesn't want military recruiters contacting her two teenage daughters. But she wants the teens to hear about college scholarships and job opportunities from other organizations. *** "It's really inequitable," Fitzgerald said. "Why should I not be able to hear about scholarships just because I don't want my daughter to be recruited by the military?"
I have a message for Fitzgerald and other parents like her: her children are not being dragooned into the military. The military -- which comes from the same government that provides her with a good lifestyle and helps fund her child's school -- simply wants a chance to pitch itself, the same as any other potential employer. Is Fitzgerald concerned that the recruiters are going to kidnap children from campus and force them into the Army? Or is she concerned that, despite her best efforts to teach the youth of America to be stupid and ungrateful, some of them might look to the military as a good employer (despite the downside risks of death) or may believe in a simple patriotism that urges them to enlist. It's so typical for the Left, rather than facing things honestly and openly, to try to censor things it doesn't like. If Fitzgerald raised her daughters with her values, she needn't worry. And if she didn't succeed (as, apparently, Cindy Sheehan didn't succeed when she surprisingly produced a decent, honorable, brave young son), she shouldn't compensate for her deficits as a parent by taking the government's benefits (as all American citizens do) while trying to prevent government access to its own citizens.