Military Service and the Presidency
When Bill Clinton ran for President, the Republicans made a big deal about his lack of military service. The Democrats said this was unfair and didn’t mean that he would be an ineffective leader.
Now, George W. Bush‘s military service is being called into question by many of those same Democrats, and it’s the Republicans crying foul.
This typical political skirmish leads me to wonder whether the Constitution should be adjusted to add military service as a qualification for becoming president. It seems to me that the other side is going to call one’s military record into question no matter who is running. And I can’t agree that it’s all that fair.
Part of the controversy lies in the argument that President Bush joined the Air National Guard to avoid being sent to Viet Nam. Thankfully, I’m young enough to have missed that draft, but if I had the chance to avoid going to Viet Nam back then, I can’t honestly say I wouldn’t have taken it. I understand why those who did so chose that route. It makes me respect those who did go to Viet Nam that much more, but I understand.
What about someone who has never served, even in times of peace? You never know when war will break out. Even when all seems right with the world, joining up could still put you in the middle of a conflict. Is someone like me who has never served in the military even when it was “quiet” less of a citizen? Am I less patriotic?
In the business sector, workers get promotions. They rise in the ranks, and the top man can very often find himself supervising large companies in which there are employees doing jobs he’s never done before. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a good leader…it just means he needs people around him who will help him make the right decisions.
I don’t mean to be the slightest bit disrespectful of our veterans: it is their very sacrifices that allow us today to write these silly journal entries in a free country. I just wonder where we draw the line on one’s responsibility as a citizen.