As a young child, I watched my father go off to war, the big war, WWII, into the Pacific, with lots of other fathers, sons, brothers, cousins, and even some women, though as I recall women weren’t drafted. My dad signed up before he could be called up: he was an ROTC 2d Lieutenant, “prime cannon fodder,” he said later.
At home, I learned from my mom and grandparents that everyone had to help, had to do all we could “for the war effort.” I was a small child, but I too had a patriotic duty, though mine was mostly not to whine too much about my daddy being gone, and to be cheerful about all the things that were in scare supply because many things were rationed then.
Now my sadness is that we have these “wars” in Afghanistan, Iraq–or where? If we, the USA, are at war, then I want Congress on line, facing up to the duty to declare yes or no. Taking the flak from us ordinary citizens–because isn’t that the job each and every one of them signed up for? Not just to curry fat favors from the wealthy, but to answer to all of us. Isn’t that what their campaign ads said?
I don’t know that there was ever the golden yesteryear when politicians were more honest, more accountable, more reliable–probably not. Maybe there were a few moments of that, but not many, I’d guess.
So whose job is it to hold their toes to the fire of public opinion? Whose job to let them know the public cares? Or do we simply acquiesce? Too busy to notice, or tired, or bummed? Or think it doesn’t matter? It does.