“I’m living my one life, and my future matters.”
Every high school graduate feels this. The world their elders have passed along to the Class of 2020 puts the consequence of this aspiration in doubt.
Generation Z, our Hawai`i 15 to 25 year olds, has come of age in a pandemic, economic uncertainty, climate disruption and racial justice reckoning. Military recruiters have taken notice. Inevitably they will recognize and incorporate the consequences of this circumstance into their recruiting.
Today’s military is called the all volunteer army since the draft expired in 1973. Those who study military recruiting strategy call it a poverty draft. Based on a school’s student qualification for free lunch statistics, recruiters are present in low income schools ten times more often than in more affluent schools. Despite what parents may think, President George Bush’s 2002 No Child Left Behind Act requires schools to let the recruiters in, or lose federal funding.
The Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) , a pipeline to the military, puts its programs in lower income community schools and in schools with 2 1/2 times more non white student populations than schools without JROTC.
Our Hawai`i youth want and deserve to know facts about the military that they don’t get from the recruiters. Some examples:
What the recruiter calls an enlistment contract isn’t a contract. In a contract both parties make promises they have to keep. But in this agreement, the enlistee must keep all his/her promises, but the branch of the military they are offering themselves to for eight years can break every one of theirs. It says so in Part C, Section 9, paragraph a, subparagraph (1( and (4) of the agreement. Too often this knowledge comes too late. You cannot resign.
President Jimmie Carter observed recently that the U.S. has enjoyed just sixteen years of peace in its 243 year history. Critics disputed the number but could only add an additional thirty years. His conclusion, that the U.S. is the most warlike nation in modern history, is credible. Our recruitment age young people should be able to consider this and its implications to inform their decision if they want to sign on to being a part of the instrument prosecuting these endless wars, and in the doing subordinating their own moral standards to the military mindset.
808truth2youth provides environmentally and socially sustainable options for our youg people to serve country and humanity, and has done so since 2012. We have a guide to degree programs, and realistic advice for how to pay for them, that prepare for careers in conflict resolution and diplomacy. We are hopeful that when the Trump era ends and the hollowed out State Department, and diplomacy, are restored, any Hawai`i high school student today can pursue and achieve a rewarding and good paying job, making the world a safer place.
We have a guide to trade occupations that don’t require a college degree, and how much they pay, and encouraging and realistic facts about college, even if grades are not so good. On our People You Know page, fourteen successful young adults explain the path that took them from high school to where they are now.
808truth2youth is meant to be a learning tool for young people to see now and revisit at a time later when important life decisions are being considered.
“Our Island Youth are precious. We don’t appreciate them being plundered away from Hawai`i to potentially violent and harmful ends.”
- Caki Kennedy, Hawai`i Island youth activist.