Last night, President Obama acknowledged that gays and lesbians will serve openly in the armed forces this year thanks to last year's repeal of the so called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law. In exchange, the President has asked the college campuses and universities that banned the ROTC from recruiting on their campuses to let them return. I respectfully disagree.
Colleges and universities should focus all their energy on preserving the lives of their students, and students throughout the world. They should be harbors of peace, not war. Students should never have to face down a recruiter in the cafeteria, or outside class. No, there are better ways.
College is expensive, and becoming more expensive every year as states slash their budgets, and as our federal government diverts trillions to war. The military actively preys upon the poor and disadvantaged with the offer of a better future through the GI bill. They are common in high school cafeterias and college campuses as students struggle to stay afloat. There is no greater predatory practice on our youth than the ROTC.
Instead, we should invest in more peaceful solutions to students, like the Peace Corps, AmeriaCorps, tuition reimbursement programs for educators, scholarships, grants, and more. We should create additional opportunities for students, opportunities that do not involve the perpetuation of the military industrial complex, but provide opportunities for students to help rebuild America.
Yes, Mr. President, we should end the divisiveness of the past. I was proud to be present when you signed the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," but that does not mean I'm prepared to see more young men and women die for war.
Universities used to ban the ROTC because they discriminated against gays and lesbians. Today, they still have a noble reason to keep the ROTC out; because no student should be put in harms way in the name of our current wars.
For those schools who do follow the President's request, they should require all ROTC recruiters to be accompanied by someone who is expert on other choices. Students, gay and straight, should receive a full picture of their future, not just one that leads them down a road towards war.
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