Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Bostonian's View of the San Francisco JROTC Bigotry

I assume that Jeff Jacoby, who writes for the Boston Globe, is from the Boston area. Boston is certainly a "bluer than blue" area, but with its Minuteman history, perhaps its not as anti-military as other heavily liberal areas.

Or maybe Jacoby is just a beacon of light in the darkness. It wouldn't be the first time I've thought that after reading his work.

And the problem certainly isn't an absence of diversity. In a story on JROTC cadets at Galileo High School, Chronicle reporter Jill Tucker writes: "These students are 4-foot-10 to 6-foot-4. Athletic and disabled. College-bound and barely graduating. Gay and straight. White, black, and brown. Some leave school for large homes with ocean views. Others board buses for Bayview-Hunters Point." Several of the students come from immigrant families. At least one is autistic.

That's what some of us would call "diversity". Apparently they have differing views on that topic in San Francisco.

But then, facts tend not to matter to smug ideologues like (school board members) Schwartz and Kelly, who are free to parade their contempt for the military because they live in a nation that affords such freedom even to idiots and ingrates. It never seems to occur to them that the liberties and security they take for granted would vanish in a heartbeat if it weren't for the young men and women who do choose to wear the uniform, willingly risking life and limb in service to their country.

Gavin Newsome, described by some radio talk show hosts I listen to as "the prettiest man in politics", had this to say about the decision (over which he had no control):

To his credit, Mayor Gavin Newsom excoriated the school board last week for "disrespecting the sacrifice of men and women in uniform" and warned that killing JROTC would only accelerate the flight of city residents from the public schools. "You think this is going to help keep families in San Francisco?" he asked. "No. It's going to hurt."

Well, he was elected by the same people who elected the school board members. In a republic, you get the government you deserve--even in a People's Republic like San Francisco. But good job, school board, on doing something else to make your city less attractive to families.

P.S. No, I don't think Newsom's all that pretty.


Anonymous said...

I doubt it is the agenda of most San Francico residents but driving families with children out of the city can cut school taxes. Quite a bit.

Of course SF then has to attract adults to keep a population base. But that is no problem. In America there are many who do not want children, have no interest in them, or have finished raising them.

In this JROTC decision it was clearly not about children but about politics.

John S. said...

Well, this is a great example, I think, of how polarized this country seemingly has become. As I looked over the article and your posts some scary generalizations about liberals manifest although, seemingly, with much merit if you choose to look at it the way you do. I, in general, have no problem with the junior ROTC if that is what the kids want. Even Nancy Pelosi commented along these lines (actually, I must confess I only came across other bloggers citing her and have no verifiable, thus questionable, documentation for that). Still, I do have questions (not a determination of one way or the other) about funding of military programs for children, whether it is directly from the Defense Department or the public who pays taxes to fund the Defense Department’s initiatives. In an ideal world, I would like the kids to be more mature and to make their decision to join a military program themselves, however, that presupposes children are incapable of making such decisions and I do not buy that (sill, I only have myself as a reference point and I was [still am] immature and not very well informed—I closely resembled the desires of my parents and peers with little autonomy--though I had some). This is very complicated. We need a military and we need to support active participation in the military, particularly our youth if it is going to be strong and the force we need it to be. In general, the JROTC seems a quality program in terms that we need a military—no doubt about that. Are there equally valid ways to recruit children? Are the prestigious values the JROTC instills values that can be learned elsewhere? But heck, they instill them so why get rid of it. Unfortunately, the old republican problem of excess and tyranny of those in power is manifest in this scenario. If dismantling of the JROTC is defiant of the will of those living in San Francisco then it is wrong in terms of representative government—and vice-versa. Lastly, I am curios about the whole liberals are anti-military statements I am seeing indicated here and on some other conservative blogs. Do conservatives really think that is true or am I just misreading their statements about individuals that somehow got misconstrued to represent liberalism in totality.

Darren said...

John, JROTC is not a recruiting tool. Students are not required at all to go into the military just because they sign up for JROTC in high school. If they *do* opt to go into the military, great! But if they don't, the idea is that they still got a valuable program that taught them life skills--like self-respect, as opposed to self-esteem.

When you ask if the skills and values can be learned elsewhere, you imply that it would be *better* if students didn't learn them in a military setting. Why do you think that way? What is it that you have against the military? I once taught near a school that had a crime/law enforcement academy at the school, teaching students about being a cop. Is that bad, too?

As for your last comment: large numbers of liberals may not be anti-military, but large numbers of anti-military people are liberals.

How about this?
I split it into two lines so you can cut/past into your browser, if you're interested.

John S. said...

Great points. First, let me clarify my poor statement that I think you may have misinterpreted. That is my fault for not being clearer. I said, “Are there equally valid ways to recruit [uh-oh] children? Are the prestigious values the JROTC instills values that can be learned elsewhere? But heck, they instill them so why get rid of it.” I have no problem with learning values from a military institution, just thought I would inquire why so many find it necessary. Sure, I think other institutions do a better job—the church for example can be argued by many to do a better job. I think higher education does a better job. In addition, I completely understand that the JROTC is not a recruiting institution per see, leaving students with a clear option. I understand that. Still, it is a recruiting tool on a certain level (for good or ill) in that simple enrollment in a military institution construes it as such. Nevertheless, I really do not care if it is or not because I recognize the need for a military. I wanted to know what people thought about the ability of a youth to make up his own mind at such a young age that your example of the JROTC helped to launch (heck, the objectivity issue discussed in another posting relates to this).

Of course I have some problems with the military. Yet, let me make clear a point: I am glad we have the bombs, guns, etc and support the need for a military. I am happy to live in the U.S. were my freedoms I enjoy are, on one level, protected by a strong military. (Of course I also have delusional liberal dreams of a world of peace where the military is not necessary—but heck, like Paul the Apostle related, while perfection is not possible I will not stop striving for it!). My critique of the military is more in a republican ideal! That is, I have problems with the current state of the military because it is run poorly (like government) lacking efficiency. I want the government, military, school, etc to operate more efficiently. I feel that the military is currently run poorly (and that is not an indictment against the many wonderful boys and girls, men and women currently serving).

“As for your last comment: large numbers of liberals may not be anti-military, but large numbers of anti-military people are liberals.”

That is an assumption. So is this:

Large numbers of conservatives may have a college degree, but large numbers of non-college degree holders are conservative.

Perhaps your assumption should read: large numbers of liberals may not be anti-military, but large numbers of anti-military people that have been vocal and read in the media are liberal.

Darren said...

Here's another:

DISSING THE TROOPS AGAIN: Charles Rangel pulls a John Kerry, and I don't think he'll be able to explain this as a "botched joke."

Karl Rove's prayer: Get this guy on TV as much as possible!

It wasn't Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Trent Lott, or any other big name conservative who said this, it was Charlie Rangel, the same liberal Democrat who wants to reinstate the draft. What did he say? That men only join the army if they can't get a decent career. Video as at

I don't have to make this stuff up. The evidence is all around us.