At this time of Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for the U.S. military — not just for the usual reason that it protects us from our foes but also because it has the potential to save us from ourselves.
As I make my rounds each day in the capital, chronicling our leaders’ plentiful foibles, failings, screw-ups, inanities, outrages and overall dysfunction, I’m often asked if there’s anything that could clean up the mess.
My usual answer is a shrug and an admission that there’s no silver bullet. There are many possibilities — campaign spending limits, term limits, nonpartisan primaries, nonpartisan redistricting, a third party — but most aren’t politically or legally feasible, might not make much of a difference or, as with Harry Reid’s rewriting of Senate rules, have the potential to make things even worse.
But one change, over time, could reverse the problems that have built up over the past few decades: We should mandate military service for all Americans, men and women alike, when they turn 18. The idea is radical, unlikely and impractical — but it just might work.
No, it won’t.
And the problem isn’t so much a lack of service experience with Congress, or civic engagement amongst the population. The problem with governance is that Washington, D.C. is too all-ecompassing. The Constitution was explicitly written to reign in the size and scope of the federal government. The founders were well aware that the government that governs least governs best. That’s true whether the government consists of 100% veterans or not a single one.
Dana, you were 3/4 right. It’s radical, unlikely, and impractical. You should have just quit there.