Answer: A scary thought. Question: What if your daughter had decided to go to the Air Force Academy?
In 1991, my younger daughter received an appointment from one of our senators to the Air Force Academy. She would have been in the class of 1995. Her father had encouraged her to go through the arduous, year long process of applying and, in the end, she was successful.
But, ultimately, she decided to go to a different school. [Much to my relief.] This was not an easy decision for her to make, what with her dad providing so much encouragement to attend the Academy.
Since it was her life, I tried to submerge my anti-military feelings, and not say anything one way or another. [One of these days, I should ask her if I succeeded.]
She waited to make her final decision until the day before I had to overnight a yes, she was coming to Colorado Springs or a no, she wasn't.
[I noticed there was also a box to check to have an airline ticket sent for her trip to school -- yet another indication that everything is paid for by the military. Room, board, travel. The cadets even get a salary. No wonder her dad wanted her to go.]
But if she had gone to the Academy, she might have been caught in the crossfire of an alarming rape scandal which recently came to light. And left many women her age feeling helpless against their attackers, almost all of whom have gone unprosecuted.
Until recently, years of complaints by the female cadets had been almost entirely ignored. I couldn't help but wonder, would she have been one of the many victims? A young woman left with huge emotional scars and a life in pieces. I couldn't bear the thought.
I was never comfortable with the ratio of men to women there. It was absurd, and one could easily say, even dangerous. When she applied the balance was a lopsided 10 to 1. I'm sure it isn't much better now.
Let's assume she was able to somehow avoid the assaults and graduate. Then there is a very good possibility she could be in harm's way in Iraq or Afghanistan now.
All because of some hanging chads.
On the other hand she could have gone on to medical or law school at the military's expense. But that was a non-issue once she decided against a military path entirely.
I am so grateful for that. Not that she isn't a doctor or a lawyer, but that she isn't in the military with Rumsfeld running the department of defense. And this president running the country. I wouldn't want a son in the military, either.
In fact, I think a lot of the young men and women in the military who were seduced by the chance to earn money for college are reeling from the unexpected consequences of their decision.
This should not be construed as not supporting the people who serve our country in the armed forces. I especially don't want a single one of their lives wasted. All because some rich white guys in suits want to ensure their rights to oil profits by scaring us into chasing after a phantom.
Which brings me to this evening's convention coverage. When I watched John Kerry's speech tonight I couldn't help but wonder where the country would be if the popular vote had also secured the electoral vote last time.
And a persistent, nagging question raised its ugly head again -- why does the electoral college, that antiquated preserve of states' rights, exist at all anymore? It seems to be a safeguard for a paternalistic, patronziing elite ruling class determined to make sure that riff raff don't take over the White House.
At the time of the 2000 election, I remember laughing at the absurd arguments for the value of the electoral college. And feeling helpless that there wasn't much I could do to eliminate it.
We were told the 2000 election travesty was a perfect example of why every vote counts. And all I could think was -- in the end, this is definite proof that hundreds of thousands of votes don't count at all.
Regardless, if Al Gore, Mr. Steady As She Goes, were president now, the country wouldn't seem so unsettled. And defensive. We'd still have 9-11 to deal with. But I'm sure with Gore, we wouldn't have invaded Iraq. Or Afghanistan. And spread the military so thin it can't function properly. Instead their efforts could have focused on Bin Laden. And shutting him down.
But Gore lost. And we invaded. At least, my daughter chose not to go to the Academy. So she's not in Iraq or Afghanistan now. And I don't have to worry about terrorists and car bombs.
However, a year or so ago, she decided to live and work in London. She now travels all over Europe and the middle east on business. She also vacations in Italy and France.
And I worry about terrorists and car bombs.
-- Mrs. L