Monday, July 23, 2007


Until recently, reading an article like this one wouldn't even have crossed my mind. I've always been one of those disconnected people. No one in my family has ever served in the military (my father had a job deferment in Vietnam and I'm still unclear about my grandfather and WWII - I think I was told something about flat feet), and it generally hasn't been something that felt relevant to my daily life. Just last week, I actually had a conversation with one of my friends about my lack of understanding. Even after my changing perspective, I stand by what I said to my friend - I still can't comprehend people who join the military to pay for college. Its too hard and its not enough money. I stand by my belief that I can only really understand joining the military for more - for a love of country, for a belief that its something that you have to do, to become the person you want to be.

I don't think money alone should ever be the enticement to join, and yet, it seems so often that must be a driving force. Why else would the vast majority of people who are enlisting be from lower class families? Why the class distinction? Are poorer people more patriotic or do they just have less options? Its difficult for me to understand how a 15K signing bonus entices people to enlist/re-enlist, but I think that might be another example of my disconnect. I've got 80K in student loan debt and pay my loan provider about $500 a month. I believe that this debt is worth it, and never even considered not going to law school due to costs. But, I come from an upper-middle/upper class background. $10,000 is a lot of money to me, but not so much money that I would ever base a decision on that (as exemplified by my current job choice over the other options that I had). I can't really comprehend what it would be like for $10,000 to be enough money to change your life.

I think that's possibly just as great of a disconnect as the one talked about in that article. While I think its not healthy for our Country, that civilians like me can't even remotely relate to those serving in the military, I also think its terribly unhealthy that wealthy folks, like me, can't relate to those at the bottom of the income bracket.

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