Showing posts with label Senator James Webb. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Senator James Webb. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Favorite Freedom, post two

I came across this quote by United States Senator James Webb on the back of his book "A Time to Fight." I follow his career because I think he represents well Americans who were drafted to fight in Vietnam and who feel the nobility in that gift was not appreciated properly and utilized intelligently. I loved this thought about freedom of speech and the pursuit of the new:

"The one connecting dot in all my experiences has been a passion for history and a desire to learn from it. Not the enumeration of monarchs and treaties that so often pass for academic knowledge, but the surging vitality from below that so often impels change and truly defines cultures. The novelist Leo Tolstoy wrote vividly about war and peace, showing us the drawing rooms and idiosyncrasies of Russia's elite. But in reality, he was telling us that great societal changes are most often pushed along by tsunami-deep impulses that cause the elites to react, far more than inspire them to lead. And this, in my view, is the greatest lesson of political history. Entrenched aristocracies, however we want to define them, do not want change; their desire instead is to manage dissent in a way that does not disrupt their control. But over time, under the right system of government, a free thinking people have the energy and ultimately the power to effect change."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Toward a more just America: It's Time to Pass the 21st Century GI Bill

I have followed the career of Senator James Webb ever since he gave an outstanding rebuttal to President Bush's State of the Union Address last year. The Senator perfectly articulates the angst of that segment of America that is bearing the cost of the Iraq War through military service while the rest of us received tax cuts.

Senator Webb is proudly sponsoring a 21st Century version of the GI Bill to honor these people for their service. The GI Bill of WWII paid for our best and brightest veterans to lift themselves up by their bootstraps and our country was well-served by their subsequent accomplishments. Examples of people who benefited from the GI Bill are President Gerald Ford, who attended the University of Michigan, and Senator John Warner, who went through both undergrad and law school on the GI Bill. There were millions of others.

Surprisingly, both President Bush and Senator John McCain are against the bill, describing it as "too expensive." The military is also against it because they think they will lose even more experienced people who leave to take advantage of the benefit.

It's my belief that it will create a surge of ever more talented people entering the military. American higher education can cost a small fortune. I think young people will "play the odds" of not getting hurt and sign up for service in droves. Regardless of what I think of how our policymakers have chosen to use our military, what I care most about is that the people who serve are honored both verbally and financially for the nobility of their service. It's the least we can do.
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