Monday, February 27, 2006

maybe I am on to something

For at least 10 years (but, especially since the Bush Presidency) I have been an advocate of a requirement that anyone running for president and elected must have served in the United States military in active duty. When I mention this belief to most people they think it would be a good idea. However, it seems foreign to them. Because of such reaction, I had wrongly assumed that I was the only advocate of this requirement in America.

To my pleasant surprise, Garrison Keillor (maybe the most reasonable man in America) is also an advocate of such a requirement for presidential service. In last week's commentary he stated his support of a constitutional amendment requiring 2 years of active duty for any one to become President. As an Independent I do think this would greatly affect the Republican Party to have its powerful elite who send young poor men and women to war to have the same experience themselves. As I have stated, I would listen closer to a John McCain or Max Cleland tell me he was sending my child to Iraq because he understood the cost than a Cheney (who had better things to do) or a Bush (or even Clinton or Quayle) who used any connections he could to stay home.

Think of it. At 21 years old you have to decide to opt in or opt out. You are either part of the game or not. Bush needs to decide after college whether he uses daddy's influence and never rises above governor or serves in Vietnam and understands the consequences of war before becoming Commander in Chief. You may say to me, but Rick would you have attempted to opt out and dodge the draft? Yup. And I would know I was no longer in the presidential game.

Am I saying that a person needs military service to become Commander in Chief? Yes. Am I saying that Bush and Clinton (and Cheney's) lack proper skills and leadership as Vietnam service dodgers? Yes. Am I saying that pacifist and conscientious objectors should be out of the running for president? I wish the answer was no (as a pacifist and conscientious objector). But, since I do not think such a person would be elected, I need to be realistic. It is for another time, but I have issues with the pursuit of such political power for a Christ follower and the needed Patriotism to become President. I believe the same commitment one has to become a pacifist would disqualify that person from seeking the presidency (self disqualification actually).

Please read this article and consider what Keillor and I are saying. Here is a taste of his thought:

"Fewer and fewer of our leaders have military service in their resumes.
They prefer to sweep blithely along from one comfy perch to the next,
cushioned in self-regard, promoting, puffing, spinning, hitting their talking
points, building their skill sets. They slip into public office without ever
having been yelled at by a bullet-headed black man with sergeant's stripes and made to stand up straight in 95-degree weather and march back and forth across a dusty field and not ask why. This is a shame.

The way to put military service back in the picture is to pass a constitutional amendment requiring that a candidate for president have at least two years of full-time military service. It would be a boon to the country, to the military and to the young. It would confirm the importance of service.

The 42-year-old governor who discovers that he wants to be president would
need to go down to the recruiting office and enlist. It'd be a big moment, like
when Elvis went off to basic training. Think of Newt Gingrich climbing on a bus
and going off to have his head shaved and his individuality taken away and

The Constitution requires the president to be at least 35 and a native-born
American. The current president certainly casts doubt on the worth of that
native-born requirement, but never mind -- amend the Constitution and let
the boys and girls of Harvard and Stanford and Yale ponder their futures. You will see the Army become more representative of the country, more middle-class and educated, and when it is, it will not likely be sent so casually off to war as the blue-collar Army has been."


Kyle said...

Hey, if it disqualifies Hillary Clinton from running, I'm all for it.

james said...

Good post Rick. I'm linking to this entry on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I don't agree. Where as it wouldn't hurt, I don't think a person has to have military experience to understand the gravity of life and death decisions. A president must be a good leader, which means they must use the best resources such as generals in the military to advise them on decisions. To agree with your point, would also open the doors for people to say that a president must also have worked in the economics field, ecological field, medical field (for abortion issues), been a congressman, and a former farmer. All the decisions a president makes affects lives, mabe not being shot, but losing one's farm and not providing for a family is just as important to the farmer as the military person (who chose this duty). Abortion decisions also effect thousands of lives. A president must be a good leader with the ability to use resourses well. Furthermore, ALL military people i've talked to are for the war in Iraq, (this is also our Presidents strongest supporters)so you might be suprised to find that if presidents were required to be taught the military way, they may be more inclined to send troops into battle, not less.