UPDATE: I will not change what I originally wrote in this diary. I still feel the way I do about this, but I've also calmed down from this morning, and realized I missed a few things. You will find the new additions to this diary after the original text.
So, while waiting for class to start, I saw this.
And my ire was set off...
First off: Yes, I can see that CNN's spinning the article a bit, especially with that headline. I know they're not exactly the bastion of news they (sort of) once were. But I'm not gonna get into bashing CNN, because it's irrelevant to my point. Spun article or not, this is still a true situation. And that's what pissed me off. This shit doesn't help us at all right now.
I admire Berkeley. I really do. But please, don't do this. Not only do you give the Republicans more "Hey, look! Hippies!" ammo, don't go after the recruiters. Please. I don't believe recruiters should be in our high schools, but I damn sure believe they have the right to have an office in a city. And most recruiters are simply doing their job. Yes, there are the bad flakes, but the majority of recruiters are not this. Our armed forces are voluntary. VOLUNTARY. If someone wants to sign up for the armed forces, especially now, let them sign up. They know the risks. They know damn well what they're getting into. And they believe that despite all the risks, it's worth it to them to sign up and serve their nation through the military. And you know what? For the place that spawned the Free Speech Movement, trying to impede on their right to take action based on their beliefs is absolutely appalling. APPALING. It is not the recruiters' fault our soldiers are being used like Kleenex. That blame goes solely to the warhawks like Rumsfeld and Cheney, and all their ilk.
My cousin was part of one of the first waves of Marines into Baghdad. My aunt's National Guard unit was called up to serve in Mosul. I have two friends who joined the military after high school, and I'm scared as hell for them because I don't know where they went and haven't heard from them in ages. I have every reason to hate the recruiters, too. But guess what?
All those people made the conscious choice to serve their country. They weren't tricked by recruiters into joining. They chose to join. They chose do the civic duty they owe to their nation through joining the military.
This aggravated me the most:
Protester Sharon Adams added: "This recruiting station recruits people to go fight and then once they fight and they serve their country, our country doesn't take care of them. That's a shame."
SO STOP PROTESTING THE RECRUITERS AND STOP THE PEOPLE IN CHARGE OF OUR COUNTRY WHO AREN'T TAKING CARE OF THEM!
If you don't want someone you know to join the armed forces, tell them in a civil manner that you don't want them to join. Explain to them why you think it's not a good idea. Let them hear a balanced argument. Tell them about AmeriCorps, PeaceCorps, the Red Cross - any number of aid groups. Let them do their research. Let them know about every option they could possibly take to serve the nation besides the military.
But ultimately, the final choice of whether to join or not is theirs. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, TO TRY TO IMPEDE THEM FROM THAT CHOICE.
Do not tell me civic duty is a lie. If you live in a country, you better do something to support it. END OF STORY. That's what civic duty is: Supporting your country, in any way you feel is the right way to do so. It's not just jury duty or the armed forces. Volunteering, voting - even if it's for a Republican because you're a Republican - doing everything you can to take this country back - that's also doing your civic duty, too.
AND DO NOT TELL ME VOTING DOESN'T DO SHIT. I've heard this shit since 2003 here in Oregon, and I'm absolutely sick of it. I stopped going to protests because of the number of people whing but not willing to take any actual action. If you believe the system is entirely broken and want a third party candidate, GET THE HELL OUT THERE AND VOTE FOR THAT THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE. If that candidate gets enough votes - hey, look! People will have to pay attention to them! They won't be on the backburner! You might actually get the change you want! Don't you sit there and whine about how you're being ignored, then tell me you're gonna stay home on voting day and dress up like a clown to protest. If you do nothing, you get nothing. End of discussion. If you wanna live in America, you support America. Otherwise, get your ass out of America.
And finally: Berkeley? Even if you do get the recruiters to leave, the people who would've joined up at the office in your city will simply find their way to another recruiting office in the next city over. If they've made up their minds, you can't stop them. And you have no right to stop them. A measure to impede them from taking the path they feel is the best way to do the civic duty they owe to their country? That's repulsive. The recruiters are not our problem. It's the people far above the recruiters who need to be stopped.
I admire you, Berkeley - but today? Not so much.
UPDATE: After a bit of cooling down, I feel I must add to this, after seeing some of the responses and some of the things I missed:
- I do not hate Code Pink. I never said I'm against Code Pink I admire Code Pink a lot. I do not object to their dislike of recruiters. I object to the measure passed by the city telling the recruiters "Get out or we'll force you out." I don't know if it's a binding measure, but it certainly sounds like one. I'm glad to notice it encourage non-violent protests, but still - let the military recruit the people who volunteer for service and focus on stopping the people who actually order our troops where to go. That's how we'll stop the war and bring our troops home. Blocking recruiters will just piss off a lot of former military people - including many Democrats.
- On the flip side, this Semper Fi Act bullshit in retaliation by the Republicans there? That pisses me off about as equally. To get "revenge" on the university for what the City Council did is just as enraging. To punish the college is just as abhorrent as telling the recruiters to get out. I hope the bill dies, and it's a shame it was even written up.
- I will not back down from "If you wanna live in America, you support America. Otherwise, get your ass out of America." No, as one comment has pointed, it's not very progressive. But I'm not a full progressive. I am a semi-progressive moderate Democrat. I love my country, and I believe strongly in the concept of giving back to my country in order to keep it going. If you hate America so much that you're not willing to do anything to keep it going (e.g., working towards getting the cronies out of power, in the case of most of the people here) then why do you want to keep living in America? If you can't answer that question, I won't write up a city council measure effectively trying to evict you, but I will certainly ask that you leave and let the people who are trying to fix it continue trying to fix it. Simple. Sorry for the black and white, but I have no time nor patience for people who aren't willing to take their convictions into action and do something about getting our nation back on track. I'm sick and tired of 8 years of hearing people around me whine that the system is broken, then watching as they sit there and do nothing. You gain nothing by doing nothing. Even if you think you might not gain anything by doing something, at least try. Please. You might be pleasantly surprised.