This report, done by FOX News and others, is troubling, even disturbing on many levels. What does it say about the present condition of our country and, potentially, its future?
The first statistic you will see says volumes about the current condition of our 17-34 age group. Only 23% of that demographic is capable of meeting the minimum physical requirements for serving in the military. According to this and other reports on this subject, one of the major factors in this is obesity.
Of that 23%, only some 9% express an interest in serving in the military. Apparently, up to 57% of those in that age group express a fear that if they serve in the military they will come out of it with either psychological or physical problems.
The all-volunteer military idea has worked well over the last 50 years. But these numbers are very worrying for our military at this time. Will this mean that a return of the draft might be necessary? Given the current statistics, even a draft system would run into the same reality of so few Americans being physically able to enter and serve.
The reality of the physical condition of that military-age demographic is worrying enough, but the report about the worries concerning service in the military expressed by 57% of that demographic seems even more concerning to this writer. We have to ask ourselves: If those among us who are eligible for military service are more concerned about themselves than about the duties that naturally come with the privilege of citizenship or lack the moral courage to serve and sacrifice for the greater good beyond themselves, what does that say about the current state of the value of patriotism in that age group?
Is this yet another piece of evidence about the state of the nation that we ought to be concerned about and that we ought to address? What does it say about the current state of the shared values that built this country and helped it endure and survive through the most challenging periods of our history – values like patriotism, service, the willingness to suffer and sacrifice for the common good, even if only for a short time? These are the values that are necessary for the health and well-being of any successful society.
Yes, there is much in this news piece that should concern us, that should make us sit up and take notice, as these statistics may only be a part of a larger story. Might these be a warning to the nation, something like a canary in a coal mine, telling us that something is very wrong and needs to be addressed, sooner rather than later?
The ideals of self-government and freedom are not guaranteed in words alone. These ideals need to be promoted, protected, and even physically defended regularly in order for a nation to remain strong, healthy, and capable of being a model for the world.
Maybe these stats are telling us to “wake up and smell the roses.” We need to ask hard questions to determine the reasons for these statistics. There are many, and they are not exclusive to a political critique. These statistics arise from many areas of failure. But failure is not a reason for despair. Rather, it is a reason to change old habits that are not working and to do the hard work necessary to develop better habits that will work for the improvement of ourselves and the country.
Suffice it to say that these stats could be an opportunity to open a dialogue, not a political shouting match. We truly need more of the former and far less of the latter.Whizzco