Posted by: patrick | April 4, 2007

“My Life in the Army”

Just read this opinion piece in the New York Times, but you can’t access it from their website unless you subscribe to TimesSelect. (Darn them!) But I found it copied on someone else’s blog for your perusal.

April 3, 2007
Guest Columnist,
My Life in the Army

In one sense, I was well positioned to enjoy the summer of love. In 1969, I was living in San Francisco, epicenter of hippiedom, antiwar fervor and utopian hope for perpetual peace.

Circumstances kept me from sharing the spirit. The part of San Francisco I lived in was the Presidio, which was then a military base. I was 12, and my father was an Army officer. I remember my family once driving toward the Presidio’s Lombard Street gate past tens of thousands of protesters who seemed to think my father was part of a very bad outfit.

I was sure they were wrong, and I still am. In fact, the whole, larger stereotype — that the military is a right-wing institution, best viewed with skepticism if not cynicism by the left — is way off. Growing up in, or at least amid, the Army helped make me a liberal — not because I reacted against my environment, but because I absorbed its values. If all of America were more like the Army, it would be a better country.

People think of the Army as hierarchical, but compared with the private sector it’s a bastion of egalitarianism.



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