To the teacher in California who had less than kind things to say about our military members:
You sir, are wrong.
You are just statistically, and factually, wrong.
I don’t need to bolster my point with opinion because the facts speak for themselves. My opinion of military members, or the fact that I am married to one and that many of my closest friends belong to the group you called, “the lowest of the low” doesn’t need to be interjected here. I think we’ve heard quite enough opinions for now, anyway.
It’s not that I object to you having an opinion, you’re certainly entitled to one. What I do object to are false statements about a group of people who often don’t take the time to defend themselves against talk like yours. It’s not that they’re incapable; they just have too darn much going on. They’re often too busy defending your freedom to trash them, to take the time to defend their image. They take that whole selfless service thing pretty seriously.
So for the record, here are the facts.
Military members are on average more educated than their peers. They are statistically more likely to come from higher-income neighborhoods than lower ones. And just in case you’re thinking to yourself, well that’s the officers, the JAG lawyers and the Medical Corps doctors, you’d also be wrong. The same holds true among enlisted ranks, as well. Veterans who have served their time and then moved on to civilian careers have higher employment rates, incomes, and educational achievements than their peers.
So why does this myth persist – and perhaps even more importantly, why does it matter?
For one thing, military members are a very small cross section of our population, less than one percent, in fact. People are often left with only a vague or passing knowledge of military service via Hollywood and the film industry, which often do not portray military members in an accurate light.
The myth persists because of a lack of familiarity, as prejudice so often does.
The reason that it matters that people perpetuate the myth that our military members are not, “high level thinkers,” or “academic people” is that those are precisely the types of individuals the military needs to continue to bring into service. The quality of our military matters, and the myth hurts the potential of that quality.
Perhaps even more disturbing than your opinion, is your dismissal – of an entire group of people – who are as varied and unique as the population of the United States of America, itself. There are “bad apples” in the military, sure, but there also are musicians, and writers, and communications experts, and doctors, and engineers, and computer geniuses, and people who specialize in things so important to the success of their mission that you and I don’t even know the half of what they’ve done for their country.
I hope you’ll explore the links which expound on the facts and statistics I’ve shared about our military. I hope you’ll share this with other people. I hope you’ll help to stop the myth that our military members are somehow “lower” than their peers. More than anything, I hope you’ll treat people with kindness and respect because of who they are as people – not because of their career, or their educational background, or their social status. People are more than the culmination of their knowledge, and should be treated as such. I know that’s what I would want.
I think that’s what you would want, too.