Military Wire: When our bubble-wrapped society bursts — the era of courage

Our country was not founded through the means of peaceful times and negotiations. Disease, battles, wars and fundamental disagreements are the foundation from which this nation started. Yet from it, we grew into a civil nation.

As those founding years turned into more than two centuries, our nation is once again experiencing a tension that will only be eased by courageous men and women stepping forward who are committed to truth, values, and principles that honor God and the bloodshed on behalf of this country.

But since the 1960s and ’70s our nation has grown soft. We have packaged education and national concerns in bubble wrap, and it is beginning to burst.

Prior to 1960s, it was typical that the American high school student would have three separate courses in civics and government. According to the National Education Association, only 25 percent of U.S. students reach the “proficient” standard on the NAEP Civics Assessment today. Test yourself. How many of you or your children know your representative, senator, or how many serve in Congress?

One could also argue that when the draft was removed in 1973, our nation’s conflicts, that once required Americans to pay attention, were suddenly placed on the shoulders of the few who volunteered. As our men and women returned from Vietnam without tickertape parades, politicians were shifting the burden of our national concerns from everyday Americans to the fewer than 1% who serve this country on active duty.

And the ignorance and burden are beginning to have some disastrous effects.

Today, only nine states and the District of Columbia require one year of U.S. government or civics in high school. Many of today’s youth have taken to the streets and we have watched cities burn instead of civil discussion.

When one knows the history and experiences the cost and price required to preserve this country, despite its flaws and shortcomings, you do not burn it down. You commit to discussion and resolving differences – even when those discussions are not pretty – with the intent of supporting a decision in the best interest of the whole.

Our nation’s conflicts, which are being carried on the backs of fewer than 2 million Americans, are crushing our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. Military suicides have increased by as much as 20% this year compared to the same period in 2019. A recent report found that the rate of suicide for veterans aged 18-34 years old has more than doubled from approximately 22 suicide deaths per 100,000 in 2006 to 45 per 100,000 in 2016 (VA, 2018; VA 2019).

The responsibility to defend our Constitution, to serve this country – whether in uniform or through other constructive opportunities – needs to be required of all our youth. Because then we will all pay attention.

It is time to remove the bubble wrap. It is time to teach truth and it is time that we stop dividing because of our differences and become one team, one fight – for this country.

It will take courage. But as Dennis Prager says, “the most uncommon of all good human traits is courage. But without courage, goodness is not possible.”

— By Mike Schindler

Edmonds resident Mike Schindler is the founder and chief executive officer of Operation Military Family Cares –– a 501(c)(3) veteran service organization and technology provider that combats veteran homelessness, while working to strengthen relationships and equip communities and families for success.

 

 

  1. It is ironic that Schindler’s opinion is based upon a quote by Dennis Prager. Chicken Hawk Prager, babbles about war all the rime, but took religious studies to dodge the draft during the Vietnam War.

  2. Thank you for stating what is really NOT being taught in our schools, in many states!!

    This, I believe, is hurting our society. Political Correctness is at the forefront, of many, in what they say and do. They demonize those who don’t agree with them. YOU CAN’T SAY THAT!! Oh, yes I can. Its my right according to the 1st amendment, as they constantly quote.

    . Being held accountable for one’s actions, is almost non existent. Example, look at Seattle being destroyed while the mayor looks the other way! Why is this happening????? No respect for laws, our police, businesses and more importantly individuals.
    .

  3. Our many years of a good economy and other good things our country has provided has softened us. We learn from difficulties. Parents shielding their children from negative things seems good. Never saying “No” to a child is a sweet idea but does not prepare them for the world they will face. Making a sacrifice for the good of others seems an outdated idea but is important. We do need to teach our constitution and history, the good and bad. Let’s be interested in what schools teach, but not forget how much parents can teach their children.

  4. I appreciate the column and the tone. I fully agree our ability to discuss these topics in a civil manner seems to be missing. My thoughts are on your opening statement “a tension that will only be eased by courageous men and women stepping forward who are committed to truth, values, and principles that honor God and the bloodshed on behalf of this country.”
    I feel one person’s truth and values are not necessarily another’s. Not all people have the same beliefs, as in your statement about honor God. By framing the discussion only from your truths/beliefs doesn’t allow for others to work with you on solving the problem.
    I agree that we need to come together and support our country, a country that we all can be proud of. And treating our Veterans in an honorable way is long overdue.

    1. Polly, thank you for your comment. It is true that not all will share my values or belief – however, that is certainly okay – but to know the perspective one is viewing a situation is important to work toward a common decision. Does that make sense? If one doesn’t share another’s belief that shouldn’t stop the conversation but encourage discussion and move us both toward a solution – keeping each other’s views in consideration.

  5. Mr. Schindler, fantastic article. I’m the first to say that even the history taught to me in school is overly romanticized. We can’t rely on being taught by people who don’t believe what they are teaching either. Surveys show that 2 out of 3 freshmen college student don’t know about the holocausts. I just turned 40, I was deployed in 2001, and had a pretty depressing realization that it was a man nearly my age starting fires in Puyallup on Sep 9th, that it was probably someone my age who defaced the 9-11 Memorial her in town with stickers. There’s no perspective.

  6. I served in one war, suited up for a second war and was subject to recal in the military for a third war. What I find most troubling are the similarities today to the year 1969 when first put on a uniform. As a young man, coming home to a divided nation was difficult, as an older American I am even more concerned.

  7. This is a very well written article, most of which I would agree with. Not talked about in the article, however, is the founding of our country by a group of mostly elite white men who enslaved black men and women who they abused physically, mentally, and sexually on a fairly routine basis. These black people did much of the brute work of building our nation. including the White House, and get little to no credit for doing it. At this time, many of these black people and other less favored groups in our society are having to keep struggling for the simple right to vote in many states. Some of our history is downright ugly and not very God like, unless you believe in a war God of some sort. Our fore fathers also committed genocide on a fairly regular basis against indigenous people who’s land they stole after labeling them ignorant savages.

    I totally agree we don’t teach real history, civics and even basic knowledge of economics as we should in our overburdened schools (often seen as child care for the dual income family as well as an educational facility). I also totally agree that every man and woman who is capable, should be required to perform some sort of two year national service for the good of all. Mike is a good man with good ideas, knowledge and patriotism. People like him deserve better from the rest of us; from the top down.

    1. Clinton, First, what you’re saying is not true, and second it’s not moralistically relative. The founders of astronomy, physics and modern medicine all bled people with leaches and practiced alchemy, but we somehow are able to view scientific progression from a historically relativistic perspective. Every nation was founded with slavery, even Liberia – being that the first thing freed slaves did when they got to Liberia was cultivate their own slaves and indentured servants. Chief Seattle was a prolific slave owner. You can’t cancel everything. With a little bit of nuance and relativity, it’s easy to teach kids that this is a pretty great country, improvable because the foundation is good. Can’t we just take it as a matter of fact that George Washington was a great Statesman [even though far from perfect] in the same way we consider Sir Isaac Newton a great Physicist [though far from perfect]?

      I’ve constantly been reading your comments, and you often belittle people as being cultists, sycophants, KKK apologists. What get’s you out of bed in the morning? What country is better than ours?

      1. Matt. I choose not to respond to your personal attack on me except to say that I will love my country my way and afford you the same courtesy. Have a nice day. Clint

  8. Matt, I agree with your thoughts 100%; you always bring good positive information to your posts along with humor and I really appreciate your point of view.

  9. Mr. Schindler, This is a really timely article, and should be a recommended read for everyone. You see these horrifying suicide statistics up close and personal because of your work within OMFC (Operation Military Family Cares).
    Thank you for your words of knowledge, truth and facts. Supporting your organization is high on my list of priorities.

  10. Why couldn’t we, as a nation. offer one free year of education (college or trade school) for each one year of service in military or civil service to our nation to all citizens willing to participate? Seems like this would maintain the idea of a volunteer military, which the military likes, and make higher learning available to all who desire it without life crippling debt just to get an education. Seems like a win win for the country. For veterans with combat related problems medical care and counseling would be substituted for free education and be basically unlimited.

  11. It wouldn’t be free, it would be in exchange for low or stipend only pay while serving. I’m certainly willing to give someone who is willing to fight and possibly die for me a free education and/or medical. Especially if he/she were contemplating suicide due to PTSD. Who cares what other countries do or don’t do. That’s irrelevant to the discussion. We are exceptional.

  12. Previous generations learned this material through various sources namely public school, military service, and the scouts. Today the Scouts are bankrupt and our public schools, well hmm. While volunteering in my daughters 6th grade Edmonds school district class last year I asked the students what they had learned about Civics and not one of them could even define the term properly let alone had any education or exposure to civic responsibility. I have no idea whether or not they teach this material in high school but I know for a fact that they receive less than zero in college as I’m emeritus faculty so there’s that. Yea, this is a problem, a big problem.

  13. A true start would be to bring back civics – and not the watered down version. Our past is our past – to erase it would leave this nation without a foundation and without one of the traits that make this country unique: courage.

  14. Mike,
    Great letter. Thanks for having the courage to submit it.

    “However much you deny the truth, the truth goes on existing.” – George Orwell

    (Source) George Orwell (1987). “The complete works of George Orwell: Animal farm”

  15. A group of 21 scholars is seeking that Nikole Hannah-Jones Pulitzer be rescinded for the inaccuracies of the 1619 Project.

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