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A Child’s Dreams, A Man’s Nightmares

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Sometimes the present is ‘lost’, and it is all about the future. Ever feel that? I do all the time, from consequences of past decisions, to products of today’s efforts. Some people call them regrets (lamely), others call them lessons learned, and still more think of the impending ‘doom’. Take me for example. I am blind in one eye from a venous occlusion, (fancy name for a stroke in my eye), and am just now getting “floaters” in my right eye. (Not good; clock is ticking fast now). This caused mostly by my ill-spent youth and the resulting blood pressure problem. My life, my results, my problems, right? Right.

Enter L.P., “Little Paul”, my son, my pride, my salvation from my own stupid decisions in life, etc. Sound familiar? A legacy, one to carry on the good, no, the better, fight. LP’s dream at 15 now is to follow through with his love of JROTC, and further his education, become the 2nd Lt. at graduation, and crawl out of the hole that we as a family have slid into. To better himself, and his family. Noble goal, huh?

I mean picture this, a year ago he wore all black clothes, had long hair and a ski cap, beanie thing. (In Florida I might add!). He had tried drugs at 12, turned them down, been an anarchist at 13, quit school, rejoined, and Bam! He is a non-drug-using, cool, calm, very neat kid at 15, only he wants to join the Army. I should be proud, right? I am, but why do I have a sinking pit in my stomach that my baby is going to get all screwed up and over, while following a very cool dream? This kid does the Rifle Squad, Drill Team, Color Guard, Raider’s Competition, all the cool stuff, and all I can feel is an impending doom. I need some help from you all here.

We spend countless hours perusing the wires, news, etc., looking for that one big story to pounce on. I have that one Big Story for you right here. One that you can actually make a difference in. One that you can improve upon.

We can write off the present to corrupt politicians, we can excuse military attrocities as being under “Executive Order”, we can forgive ourselves and pray for the combatants, but we can’t turn the Queen Mary on a dime. But we can help LP, and every other single young American with a simple dream of achieving a better future, while achieving a better present.

We can stop sending the War Mongers into the halls of power. We can set up a scene in the next three years whereby LP and his friends have a chance. A scene where real decisions made by real people with real concerns can govern. It is not a dream, it is not a fantasy to be toyed with. It is our Legacy.

In the coming months, elections are going to take root and proceed, setting up a precedent for what we will, and will not accept as our future. Dear God, or no God for my athiest friends, please do some lobbying, voting pushing, telling, anything.

Just Do. Our future, and all of our ‘Legacies’ are counting on us.

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About Paul Jordan Sr

  • Paul, you might want to think about talking to your son about the legacy you are trying to leave him (otherwise, why would you have written this article?), and your sense of impending doom regarding his decision to become part of the ROTC. No, you do not tell him that his choices are wrong, that will not work – but you take him very seriously as a man, and talk to him as a man. And make clear that the most you can do is protect him from your own stupidity.

    As for not sending war-mongerers into power, you must consider that you really have little choice in the matter, and you need to further understand that there is much about US foreign policy that you do not generally hear about. Just for a taste of what I’m talking about, google up Central Asia and American Foreign policy.

  • Ruvy, there’s some question whether we really even have War Mongers in power at all. There are so many wars that they could have become involved in but didn’t, that some might argue that they’re damned selective and even reluctant to get involved in war. There are an awful lot of trouble spots begging for US intervention. This administration’s preferences led to involvement in Iraq. Another administration might easily have found it just as important to go into Darfur or a dozen other areas of the world – or all of them. What administration have we ever had which NEVER chose to use the military for what it considered to be a good purpose? None during my lifetime, certainly. I think you have to go all the way back to Hoover and he had other problems.

    As for hoping there will be no war when his son is going into the military, that shows fatherly concern, but it’s not terribly realistic. We wouldn’t need nearly so many people in the military if there were not a war, and the opportunities for positive experiences and character building would be much fewer. The military is at its best when it is doing what a military is supposed to do. No one wants their child to be at risk, but even with the war in Iraq the risk involved is relatively low. If your kid wants to serve, there is more good to be done now than there would be during peace time, and make no mistake, most of what the US military does is to help people, regardless of what your opinion of our government’s foreign policy may be.


  • mikeM

    My 15 year old son informed me yesterday that serving your country, even with the possibility of dying in defense of it, is the most honorable duty one could pursue.
    I am very proud of his value system.
    You should be very proud of you son.

  • Ruvy,
    I have talked and continue to everyday. Make no mistake, you or Dave, I understand that military is war in every part of it’s meaning. Yet, I can’t help but feel that there are those certain factions in politics, with particular agendas that can be avoided.

    My son dying in battle would be an enormous personal tragedy to bear. But our sons and daughters dying for something that none of the participants believed in or supported, that would be another National tragedy. For him or his friends to have the opportunity to actually go somewhere and do something of value and meaning is part of their dream, our part is to ensure that the value is of merit, not profit.

    I am not against war outright, there are those times in the World where intervention is imperative. I am against needless killing, for the sake of pride or profit, at any time.

    And thanks mikeM, I could not be prouder of my son.

  • Paul,

    I guess I wasn’t too clear on what you meant by sense of “impending doom”. Being in any military unit involves considerable risk if there is a war going on – and even if there isn’t. Soldiers are the cannon fodder of politicians.

    I understand this very well. I have two teenage sons, one of whom has already been called down to the IDF. They’ll do testing on him and decide if they want him or not. We’re talking about conscription, not volunteering.

    Before we left for Israel, I saw a man lying on the grave of his son here, crying, and it sent shudders down my spine. We came anyway.

    I have serious questions about my sons serving in the army here. I have seen some things that make me ashamed to be an Israeli, if not a Jew. But that is for another post.

    I thought by “impending doom” you meant bad personal decisions in the army that would lead to drug abuse or shell-shock.

  • MCH

    “Ruvy, there’s some question whether we really even have War Mongers in power at all.”
    – Dave Nalle

    Nope, we don’t. War Mongers are guys who’ve actually served. What we have are War Wimps – those who have either never served, or ducked into the Guards and then deserted – but will send others over to die.

    “No one wants their child to be at risk, but even with the war in Iraq the risk involved is relatively low.”
    – Dave Nalle

    Relatively low compared to what, Nalle? Typing brave words on a keyboard?

  • Relatively low compared to what, Nalle? Typing brave words on a keyboard?

    Could be. I wonder what the chances are that some psycho online stalker with a 3 letter name will finally go over the edge and come down here and try to blow up my house.

    But to give you a reasonable answer, which is way more than you deserve, the chances of a soldier in the military right now dying in Iraq are relatively low compared to any previous war and as a general percentage of the armed forces. We’ve got about 1.4 million members of the armed forces, about 350,000 deployed overseas and about 250,000 total in potential combat zones. Since the Iraq War started we’ve averaged about 800 deaths a year. That’s a .057% chance of dying per year if you are in the military. That’s 1 in 2000. It’s obviously not the safest job in the world, but the point I was trying to make in an effort to reassure a concerned father was that joining the military is NOT equivalent to instant death, or even a terribly high chance of dying.

    And here’s the statistic you love, MCH. As I pointed out before the death rate for those in the military is 57/100000 members per year. The death rate for members of the general population in the same age range (18-55) is 215/100000 per year. So the death rate outside the military is roughly 4x what is is for military personnel in the same age range. For those of his son’s presumed age (18-23) the death rate in the general population is around 90/100000, so a bit less than twice what it is in the military overall. So on a purely statistical basis his son is safer in the military than out of it.

    Of course, we could assume that his son will automatically get deployed to a combat zone. If that’s the case his chance of death goes up to 320/100000, which is just under 50% higher than the rate of death in the general population who are of military age. A small increase numerically, but it does show that it’s dangerous to be deployed in an active war zone, though still less dangerous than living in Miami or Detroit or Washington DC.

    I present these figures only because I think they might be a little bit reassuring to a concerned parent.


  • MCH

    “I wonder what the chances are that some psycho online stalker with a 3 letter name will finally go over the edge and come down here and try to blow up my house.”

    Wow, you really are paranoid, Nalle. Hence the need for a fenced compound, I guess.

    Besides, forget about explosives; one well-placed thrown rock would send the entire glass house crashing down…

  • Dave Nalle

    Not paranoia, just trying to hammer some sense and some manners into your ego-insulated head. The point being that you act online as if you’re a deranged tinfoil hat wearing stalker, so what should we expect from you in real life?