5th December, 2014 •
To fight war is the one country service story. Like it or not, this one country service story entitles killing others. Country needs to be protected and an enemy must die. This is the purpose of country service; war demands it. Good intentions are never enough, and dire actions are required. It is the price to be paid for those who serve for the common good of all. Nothing else matters; brutal actions are necessary when good intentions fail. This one story of country service has been around for as long as there have been countries. Therefore, surrounded by tellers of one story (the vested interest keepers of country their one way), and Mass Media of one story (the money maker keepers of country their one way), it’s a bombshell when this one story of country service is debunked. Ironically, a recent blow was struck by a Mass Media Guru. Sal Kahn, Founder of highly popular Kahn Academy, in his 2012 MIT Commencement speech talked about a country service bond. He stated,
“MIT education… it creates the deepest possible bond. It’s like people who fought in wars together. They have a shared experience that other people might not understand or even comprehend. They have a shared understanding that is incomprehensible and frankly hard for other people to understand.”
Notice Sal Kahn mentions no enemy. Comparing MIT education and Country service, the bond is fighting together. What matters is fighting together. It’s a great comparison: fighting together for quality education and fighting together for country. Therein lays a fine line: it’s not always about me; it’s not always about fighting war to kill others. A fine line rejects the one country service story for a belief in the many different ways to serve country. In accepting the many, it recognizes a fine line does exist between people’s best intention and the best of their action. No matter what country they live.
Fighting together for something that matters – be it country service or metaphoric “higher education” – is why I wrote A Fine Line. A fine line is recognizing that my Grandfather’s country service and my Father’s country service and my country service have place. Not about me, not about war, and certainly not about judgment. Place is redemption and all that entails.
Yes, I could volunteer. My Grandfather volunteered (WWI). Yes, I could be drafted. My Father was drafted (WWII). Yes, I could defer. My friends were deferred (Vietnam War). Separating the single story is A Fine Line. A fine line is fighting together for country is not always about fighting a war to kill others.