A recent Pentagon study showed that almost 3/4 of 17 to 24 year old Americans are “unsuitable” for military service. They are either obese, did not graduate High School, are serious drug and/or alcohol users, or are criminals. Maybe a combination of all those factors.

There is more to this than meets the ear, though. Since it is an all-volunteer military, and they currently have more applicants than they have slots for them, the military can be choosy, taking only the slim, smart, straight ones. So it is not a crisis now.

But that would change in wartime, or if the country needed to reactivate the Draft.  Then the military would have to get much larger, and they would have to start taking those that they won’t now.

You may remember Vietnam. The Draft then took everyone that could not come up with a rich or powerful parent, a wife and child, a medical problem, or a college enrollment.

What it means is that the military is warning us that our youth are getting too fat, too dumb, too spaced out, and too crooked to wear the uniform. They can whip the fat off in Basic. But they cannot fix dumb or addicted or criminal. So I guess we should hope that no unhinged President causes a wartime situation where the military needs a lot of young people. Because they are not there.


So, When was America Great?

ASD00059_1You know the Trump hat, the one that says “Make America Great Again”? This implies that America was once great, but no longer is, and the Trump supporters wish to either return to that time or make the present be like that time.

But when was that? Let’s do some math, kids. This will be Fun. The youngest Trump supporters would be 18, because you cannot vote before then. The oldest would be, let’s say, 100. You could probably find a few older, but not enough to make a statistical difference. The 18-year olds could not possibly think anything before 2010 could be the Great time, since they are too young. Besides, that would have been during Obama’s time, and they surely would not consider that time Great.

The 100-year olds were born in 1917, and their first awareness of America’s greatness could hardly have been before about 1930, when they were 13. So we have a window of time from 1930 to 2010 when this period of America’s Greatness had to be, the one that they wish to return to.

Some of this time can easily be removed. There is near universal agreement that the Great Depression, while it has “Great” in the name, was not an America Great time. And WW II, Korea, and Vietnam were not great times for soldiers and their families.

So when was it? The ’50’s? I was around then, and I remember polio being a scourge. In the ’60’s, the Hippies rose and most conservatives would rather bite a hunk our of their arm than approve of that lifestyle.

Jobs come to mind,. A lot of Trump supporters seemed to be angry because their high-paying, low-skilled jobs are gone. The jobs that created a vibrant middle-class after WW II, like steelworkers and auto assembly plant workers, are mostly gone, replaced by robots or moved overseas to cheap labor. Unions had a lot to do with those jobs paying well, and Unions have lost their mojo.

Maybe it’s the changes in society that they do not agree with but have no idea how to stop, and a feeling that they are being consumed by the rising tide of gays, non-white immigrants, multi-gendered folk, and atheists that are speaking out.

Because I think (and I’m sure there are those here who will correct me if I’m wrong) that white men, particularly old ones, are worried that they are losing power and control. The power and control that they have had in America since the Revolutionary War. And even though it doesn’t show up in politics, where the vast majority are still in that demographic, they know the flood is coming.

In any case, I don’t know when that time of America’s Greatness was, the one that they want to return to. Can anyone tell me? The other night on late-night TV, the host was interviewing children. He asked when America was great. One little girl said, “It’s always been great.” But if you accept that, it makes the Trump hat wrong. And we know the hat would not lie.