Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Basic Training

I finally feel I should comment a little on the flag incident at
UNM a few months back. Apparently a lot of people feel threatened that a Mexican Flag was flying next to an American Flag on the campus. A student was angry it was still there after Old Glory was taken down for the day. So, he tore it up. He was tried and found guilty of destruction of property. See the story here.

The erstwhile columnist Jim Belshaw at the Journal wrote a thoughtful column about and it resulted in many people accusing him of being unpatriotic since he couldn’t understand why people were so fearful of a Mexican flag. Many of his harshest critics were military men or retirees. (Some defended him too.)

It got me to thinking about how our soldiers are being trained. When I was in boot camp 42 years ago I remember sitting through many classroom hours learning about everything military, but I don’t recall ever being given any classes on this Country’s Constitution which we were there to defend. I had learned quite a bit about it at St. Pius X High School in Civics class. I think it was a great course that made me understand that we do live in a great country that offers us many civil liberties.

I wonder, given that most high schools don’t offer such classes anymore, whether or not there should be strong instruction in our Constitution at boot camp for our armed forces. I can assure you that every naturalized citizen that emigrated from Mexico and is now serving in the military for this country knows more about the principles of the Constitution than their fellow men and women at arms. They had to pass a test to become an American citizen. If all recruits were educated about the concepts in this Constitution then they would be less likely to act like anyone who disagrees with them is unpatriotic.


Teresa Blankmeyer Burke said...

I don't know if it is any small consolation, but they are teaching the Constitution in JROTC classes -at least the ones at Albuquerque High! They also teach this in Government/Civics at AHS. My son has been in JROTC for 4 years, and has a much better than average understanding of the Constitution.

His passion for the need to protect our civil liberties has him thinking of a military career after college. He's as much a fan of the ACLU as he is JROTC, and I think that studying the Constitution has something to do with this.

At this point, his plan is to major in history in college, then join the military. As his mother, I'm NOT thrilled with this idea.

On the other hand, I think that our country benefits when someone with a passion for the ideals that this country was founded on considers a military career. Passion for ideas and ideals beats jingoistic cheerleading any day in my book.

IMHO, we need more people in the military (and everywhere, including the blogosphere) who have more than a nodding acquaintance with the documents that are the basis of the laws of this land.

Don't we all have a moral obligation as citizens of this country to become familiar with these documents? Or is widespread willful ignorance the price we pay for all of our freedoms?

Catmoves said...

There is absolutely NO excuse for N.M. schools failing to teach the history and Constitution and Bill Of Rights any more. This had to come from the "One-Worlders" (sorry for the curse words) who choose to denigrate and belittle the men and women who fought and died and were maimed by those who felt our Constitution needed to be destroyed.
As Pogo pointed out: "We have met the Enemy. And he is Us."
You might be interested in a blog post entitled "The Law Is A Ass". Click on my link.