by Dr. Ada Fisher
Though many are stuck on Goldwater and Reagan in the conservative battles for the heart and soul of America, I like “Ike” best. In his speech to the nation on January 17, 1961, Dwight David Eisenhower, 34thPresident of the United States of America, sent out the most prophetic words and warnings about ambitions and the use of power –”. . . we yet realize that America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.” It was Eisenhower who implemented the West Point ideals of duty, honor and country in building the citizen-soldier force which is the cornerstone of our concept of the “volunteer army.” It was Eisenhower who ensured the integration of the military and whose Supreme Court appointees struck down segregation in this nation furthering his concept of the necessary versus the desirable which must underlay national and military efforts.
As the Obama Administrations attempts to appease and placate those who are not interested in democracy fail, the need for an enhanced military force for this nation should be apparent. Now as the mother of one of our newest soldiers, my appreciation for the sacrifices we ask of our young men and women so engaged deepens as does my concern about going to war without clear missions, exit strategies and supports as our troops come home. Why is it okay to be in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan but not in Iraq or in the Sudan and Darfur while genocide was being undertaken?
As a “Trekkie” I ask the question, while democracy is the ideal for us, in “going where none have gone before,” do we have the right to interfere in other cultures and change their internal order to suit our beliefs? But backing up a bit, I firmly believed that after the Korean Conflict, we as nation missed an intrinsic value of the military–as a place of opportunity, advancement and development of true citizenship based on character, devotion to duty and honor in serving our nation.
Though many in the military do not want to see it become the training ground for the unruly, the discontent and the disconnected that too has been one of its essential missions as it works to keep this nation safe and secure while helping to make us whole. Soldiers have accrued job skills which can’t always be taught and provided monies for homes as well as education thereby allowing those willing to serve to move to the middle class or higher.
In Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation, he speaks of WWII veterans many of whom fresh off the farm or out of poverty, got their first pair of new shoes or had an opportunity for three square meals and were so glad as well as thankful to get away from whence they came. Their horizons were expanded. This socialization process in the military has been undervalued, too long ignored and is now desperately needed.
One peg in needed Judicial Reformis to give those with recurrent petty crimes, non-violent felonies, etc. an opportunity to redeem themselves in alternate sentencing which allows them to serve our nation. My generation of thuggish classmates on their way to jail was given that option or enlistment in the service. Many did enlist and became better people for it. Unfortunately many also died in Vietnam, but that too is one of the prices of freedom. As the number of new enrollees for the military drop, why can’t military service become a way for those seeking a second chance to clear their records? In Proverbs 4:7 we are admonished, “. . . with all thy getting, get understanding.” You’d be surprised what military “boot camp” can do to enhance ones perspective and to help you get a little understanding.
Dr. Ada M. Fisher is NC Republican national Committee Woman and the Republican candidate for the NC House District 77 seat. Contact her at DrFisher@Fishernchousedistrict77.com.