City of Roses
With San Francisco citizens recently voting in favor of a ban on military recruiters on high school and college campuses, O'Reilly responded to the passing of the measure with these words on his radio program Tuesday:
"Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead,"
"And if al-Qaida comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead,"
Understandably, the debate on military recruiting has been a polarizing one, where, as I have previously mentioned, I'm all in support of military recruiters holding a table event on campus or talking about the benefits of signing up in a high school gymnasium in assembly.
I simply believe in the American ideal of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", which
radiates just as true to this day than the warmth of the hands who penned it down. I absolutely acknowledge that there are indeed a small number of Americans even now who truly do have interest in serving America through the military, and I absolutely respect that and have nothing against that, for it is their choice, it is their life, it is their pursuit of happiness, and though I have no desire at all to serve America through the
military, I will not violate the wishes of this small group of Americans.
What is inappropriate in my mind is how some military recruiters are exploiting their visits in doing things like forcing school principals to hand over entire student records and contact information. I have no problem with recruiters simply holding a table event or holding a school assembly in a gymnasium, but a number of
recruiters are not choosing the honorable path in convincing young minds about the benefits of military service and rather exploiting their visits to usurp that choice, that liberty, that pursuit of happiness of thousands of young men and women nationwide.
Furthermore, young Americans crucially need to understand both sides of the story; they
need to understand what they may very well be dealing with and the potential consequences of signing up. My friend Randy Meador signed up for the National Guard in 2002, about a year before the war in Iraq, and he signed up because he wanted college money and because he believed it would be a great thing to fly out to flood sites and humanitarian missions and aid those in need. Luckily, he is not among the National Guard
in Iraq currently, but our National Guard is being operated very much like the U.S Army and Marines, which it is not their intended purpose.
The truth is, many young Americans who sign up to serve, a majority of whom do it for job experience and college money, never receive what the recruiters tell them. Many veterans who return to serve who are told they are guaranteed work once their shift is completed actually get less work than those who never served by a 13% margin. And,
most importantly, it must be understood and explained by recruiters that your very life will be on the line and the chance you can be lost in battle is real.
Anyway, I am deeply offended by O'Reilly's words and believe, beyond the important debate of military recruiting, his words were most troubling, for San Francisco is just as American as any other major city, and considering how Portland shares many of the same opinions as San Francisco, to think he wouldn't mind places like mine being attacked is insulting.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"