San Francisco's Anti-Military Values
San Francisco is a town where, as the saying goes, the personal is political. So avoiding politics in any discussion of the city by the bay is no easy task.
City officials certainly have a habit of politicizing every aspect of residents’ lives, from banning the smoking of cigarettes at bus stops to mandating what type of water bowls "pet guardians" use for their dogs.
Now it seems the San Francisco Board of Education has decided that the 90-year old Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program is to be banished from the city’s schools. Earlier this week the board voted 4-2 to phase the program out over two years and the city’s been buzzing about it ever since.
Needless to say, the over 1,600 students (the majority of them Asian-American) currently enrolled in the JROTC and their families are none too happy about the school board’s decision. Many attended the board meeting where the ban was decided and made their feelings known, but in typical totalitarian fashion, the board simply ignored their input.
Using the fig leaf of the U.S. military’s enforcement of the federal "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy concerning gay service members, not to mention a desire to "teach a curriculum of peace," the school board demonstrated its complete and utter disregard for the place of the military in American society.
Never mind that the JROTC does not enforce the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy and in fact, has openly gay students enrolled. Or that its membership is entirely voluntary. Or that it provides students with valuable skills in leadership and discipline. Or that in the last two years, only 5% of JROTC cadets actually ended up joining the military upon graduation. It’s enough that the JROTC is related to the military to get it banned in the self-proclaimed bastion of "tolerance" and "diversity."
San Francisco values indeed.
In fact, the school board's decision was just the latest in a long line of anti-military actions taken by city officials and in some cases, supported by their left-leaning constituency.
The toothless "College Not Combat" initiative, passed by San Francisco voters in 2005, sought to ban military recruiters from schools and colleges. The same year, the Board of Supervisors voted against docking the WWII era USS Iowa as a floating museum at the Port of San Francisco for no apparent reason except that it was deemed a "celebration of war."
Then of course, there were the embarrassing comments of Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval on the Fox News program Hannity and Colmes earlier this year when he said that, "the United States should not have a military." Sandoval appeared again on Fox News earlier this week, this time on The O’Reilly Factor, to discuss the JROTC ban and predictably, he defended the school board’s decision.
And such examples are merely the tip of the iceberg.
Clearly, San Francisco’s political establishment has been co-opted by ideologues that are intent on imposing their views instead of doing their jobs. The school board’s decision was the culmination of a dictatorial trend that for too long has simply been shrugged off as part of the "eclecticism" of San Francisco.
If city residents don’t start fighting back, they will be ceding power to the zealots.
It’s that simple.
Cross-posted at The Washington Post's PostGlobal and at Kesher Talk.