WITH A LEARNER'S permit in his wallet, a 16-year-old starts thinking about the future. ''Mom, what would you say if I wanted to join the Army?" my son asked the other day.The boy, however, apparently knows which buttons to push, and replies, ''Why? Don't you want me to serve my country?"
''I would strongly discourage it," I answered calmly, after a quick mental search for the appropriate response to such an unexpected query.
From here Ms. Vennochi struggles to entrap her definition of service in the narrow limits of her experience and ideology.
As any student of the Bill Clinton era, I could argue that ''serving your country" depends on the definition of ''serve." You can serve your country in many ways: teach, be an advocate for the underprivileged, or, on the flip side, strive to be a highly successful capitalist and help the country's economy. Buy a big house and a fancy car.Being a teacher, or an "advocate for the underprivileged", make sense for a Bostonian, but a successful capitalist? A big house and a fancy car?
Herein lies the flaw in the definition of "service" among the Left: it is nearly devoid of selflessness. You see, for the average Liberal, it is admirable and useful to teach in the inner city (if you actually know how to teach - but don't get me started on that now), or to build houses for the poor, but don't let that service get in the way of your hopes, dreams, or long-term economic opportunity. And especially, don't put your life on the line for anyone else.
For the average American serving under arms in Iraq and Afghanistan, they don't worry or even think about the political and legal arguments that were made to get us into this war. What they think about is the Iraqis and Afghanis they see on the street, and how Americans can give them the opportunity to go to school, start a business, or just have a say in who runs their country. These Americans think about how they can prevent an enemy commited to bringing the fight to Main Street, USA, from succeeding. And to these Americans, while the bullets and bombs are to be avoided, and the thought of an early death or a family left behind are troubling, these dangers are less important than serving.
Ms. Vennochi grudginly acknowledges that service in the military, especially in time or war, is a necessity; but, she apparently doesn't grasp its true value.