Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Youthful Discipline



A cacophonous protest started in front of the San Francisco School District building...



...on the corner of Franklin and McAllister at about 6:30 PM on Monday the 23rd.



The group of about 200 students were objecting to a proposal at that evening's Board of Education meeting...



...that would ban the Junior ROTC from the San Francisco School District by the end of the 2006-07 year.



The reason for this action was not to protect students from being dragooned into Iraq and wherever else the United States empire happened to be invading...



...but to take a stand against the military's discriminatory "don't ask, don't tell" policy.



This strikes me as ridiculous grandstanding on the part of the Board.



The junior ROTC, in my experience, has always been for the geeky and nerdy, and it allows them to be part of a group, to have uniforms, and to accomplish things together with discipline.



In San Francisco, it also seems to be predominantly populated with Asian kids, which came as a surprise.



Next door on Franklin Street, another young group filled with discipline and pretty costumes was just getting finished with a parents' recital at the San Francisco Ballet School.



This group seemed to be a bit paler and more prosperous than their protesting neighbors next door, but in essence they were the same.



They were a shared interest group filled with disciplined youngsters, outrageous costumes, and group activity.



As long as it's the kids themselves who want to go to ballet school or the junior ROTC, rather than their parents forcing them into something for their own reasons, leave them be.

8 comments:

M. C- said...

i happened to be driving up franklin just as this was happening, and wondered what you were thinking...

sfwillie said...

Attention Supe and Educ Boards Membs: These beautiful, young, geeky, nerdy JROTC kids will be taking care of us when we get old. Why are you shitting on them?

markleym said...

Michael, I can't believe you think it's a good idea to militarize our young people, to teach them to follow orders blindly, even to kill on command. I believe the School Board genuinely wants the military out of the schools - and they are using the issue of the military's anti-gay stance as a legal peg on which to hang their protest. I have no idea if they have any chance of succeeding in expelling the military, so you might be right that they're grandstanding - but even so, I say bravo for anybody who opposes the militarization of our schools. This country does not need soldiers, we need brave young people working to save the environment, to end poverty and racism, to create a peaceful world.

sfmike said...

Dear Markley: I was surprised by my reaction to the Junior ROTC kids too, and if the school board was being honest and making the case that we don't want a militarized culture anymore, I'd probably be supporting them.

To use identity politics, however, as a bludgeon against mostly working-class kids, many of whom are going to end up in the military anyway since we don't have any jobs manufacturing anything in America anymore, well, it just strikes me as crummy and hypocritical.

Plus, in high school at least, it's strictly a voluntary affair. I think a creepier and more insidious militarization of our youth has been George Lucas and his "Star Wars" crap, not to mention every other computer game from the giant Electronic Arts being a shoot-em-up war simulation.

Leave the kids who want to play at being soldiers to play at being soldiers. The glorification of same is everywhere in the culture around them already, and to deny that is not solving anything. Now, if the United States would just stop invading other countries...

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