July 1, 2005

Commentary:

Hell No Our Kids Will No Longer Go

By Ernie McCray

After all the pain and suffering, due to the many struggles for dignity our nation has endured, how did we evolve into a society of people who don’t seem to have a clue that making a democracy work is our responsibility? It’s like the critical section of our collective brain has just dropped out of our head and washed down the drain. I’ve never witnessed such apathy.

And what is it about the truth that frightens us so?

I mean not too long ago Michael Moore shared some things we needed to know and we looked at him like he was the shower scene in Psycho. But a man can lie us into a war and we give him four more years to create more lies.

What is in us that breeds silence as our kids sacrifice their lives trying to cover for the sins of our hawkish commander-in-chief and all his hawkish friends? The polls say that we’ve finally become less enamored with the war but you could never prove it by us. It sure doesn’t show. We should be screaming our displeasure in the streets: “Bring our Kids Home!”

Isn’t it unnatural in the animal world to not protect children? So why have we abandoned ours? Why do we sit idly by while a lean and mean military machine is going after our kids with all the power of its being?

Don’t we know that the armed forces are collecting data on our children in any way that they can? 24-7.

If the public school system in which your child goes to school doesn’t hand over a list including his or her name they lose their federal funds. To me the absolute absence of shame in the situation stands out like the proverbial sore thumb. Truth is: Uncle Sam desperately needs the young teenagers on our family tree. Because we’re mired in a war in a place we shouldn’t be.

In spite of such a reality there are far too many of us still kicking around tired old platitudes like “freedom isn’t free” and “pride in serving one’s country” which mean absolutely nothing in the context of this horrible illegal and immoral war. Plus, as a 67 year old African American man, I don’t need a lecture about the price of liberty. Believe me. And just what is there to be proud of in all this?

And there are also far too many of us who like to compare whatever war we happen to be in with the big war: WWII. The other day I read a letter to a paper which was directed at  Project on Youth and Non-Military Opportunities, an organization that counsels young people that joining the military is a serious undertaking and they might want to think twice before doing so. Regarding World War II, a man wrote: “A lot of wonderful men and women were willing to serve so we could continue to enjoy our wonderful freedoms. Otherwise we would be under Nazi, emperor or communist rule by now.”  

Please. How insulting. If our kids were never sent to fight in Iraq we would not be living under Iraqi rule, bowing and kowtowing to Saddam Hussein. And if we don’t bring and end to this madness, now, we’ll have only ourselves to blame.

This is our country, our democracy, and as many of us as possible need to say to our war hungry president and his regime as loudly and clearly as possible: “Hell, no, our kids will no longer go!”

Ernest McRay is a San Diego resident and retired city school’s principal.

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