The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Young Republicans: War? Hell, yes! Service? Uhhhh....

Hooray for Knight-Ridder. While most of the media cowers, they decide to point out the obvious-- young Republicans are happy neo-fascists who promote war while claiming to be too important to fight. View the article, read the quotes. That is, I'm sorry to say, exactly what it comes down to. In the not-so-proud tradition of Viet Nam, the wealthy elite is more than happy to start a war, as long as it's the worthless poor and minorities who do the dying. They win on both fronts-- patriotic, and out of harm's way.

"Frankly, I want to be a politician. I'd like to survive to see that," said Vivian Lee, 17, a war supporter visiting the convention from Los Angeles,

Lee said she supports the war but would volunteer only if the United States faced a dire troop shortage or "if there's another Sept. 11."

"As long as there's a steady stream of volunteers, I don't see why I necessarily should volunteer," said Lee, who has a cousin deployed in the Middle East.

In an election season overwhelmed by memories of the Vietnam War, the U.S. military's newest war ranks supreme among the worries confronting much of Generation Y'ers. Iraq is their war.

"If there was a need presented, I would go," said Chris Cusmano, a 21-year-old member of the College Republicans organization from Rocky Point, N.Y. But he said he hasn't really considered volunteering.

At age 16, Chase Carpenter has.

"It's always in the back of my mind - to enlist," Carpenter, a self-described moderate Republican visiting Manhattan this week from Santa Monica, Calif., said Wednesday on the convention floor. He said he's torn over whether he'd join the military if he were 18.

Others said they could contribute on the home front.

"I physically probably couldn't do a whole lot" in Iraq, said Tiffanee Hokel, 18, of Webster City, Iowa, who called the war a moral imperative. She knows people posted in Iraq, but she didn't flinch when asked why she wouldn't go.

"I think I could do more here," Hokel said, adding that she's focusing on political action that supports the war and the troops.

"We don't have to be there physically to fight it," she said.

Similarly, 20-year-old Jeff Shafer, a University of Pennsylvania student, said vital work needs to be done in the United States. There are Republican policies to maintain and protect and an economy to sustain, Shafer said.

Then there's Paula Villescaz, a 15-year-old from Carmichael, Calif. who supports Bush and was all ears Wednesday afternoon at the GOP's Youth Convention in Madison Square Garden. She doesn't support the war, but she supports the troops and thinks the United States "needs to stay the course" now that it's immersed.

If Iraq is still a U.S. issue when she's 18, Villescaz added, she'll give serious thought to volunteering.

"I'm in college right now, but who knows?" said Matthew Vail, a 25-year-old from Huntsville, Ala., who works with Students for Bush. He said he might consider enlisting after he finishes his degree at the University of North Carolina, but not until then.

Any takers? Any? I'm not crazy about fiery rhetoric (my friend GE sometimes accuses me of being too much of a fence-sitter), but this is just a little too indicative of the new face of the Republican party-- selfishness, elitism, and arrogance define them. And the GOP establishment is spending tens of millions to promote this way of life. There's no other word for it than evil. As much as I hate to say it, this reminds me of all too many of my lifelong Republican friends. In spite of their angry insistence on living in a moral country, they're largely (okay, exclusively, but I'm still in denial even though I know some seriously high-level Republicans) in favor of war, but convinced that they're too important to be a simple grunt. It's the logic of arrogance-- my country needs me as a leader, I'm too good to fight.

If you've seen actual photos of the dead in Iraq-- and you haven't, although I could show you some that would break your heart-- or any war for that matter, you'd know that it's to be avoided in all but the most demanding circumstances (e.g., World War II, which was unquestionably a global struggle of good vs. evil). Yet these teenagers are perfectly comfortable with sending strangers off to die for a war they support while they attend comfy conferences funded by fat, old, white businessmen and ersatz 'Christians.' Because they consider themselves as part of America's ruling class. It's a disgrace. And as a man who's never served in the armed forces, I might not be entitled to speak on behalf of the military, but I don't mind saying this-- I would never send another man to die on behalf of a cause that I believed to be worth dying for.

The obvious point, which the reporter didn't throw in the smug faces of these little bastards, is that recruitment has been below targets-- and even below newly-lowered targets-- in the armed forces. So howsabout some of these little masterminds sign up? Here's my bold prediction of the week: strapping on the family-purchased body armor could interfere with a potentially lucrative career as a right-wing mouthpiece (with one exception, all of my lifelong Republican friends have becomes lawyers).