November 16, 2016

Source: Wikimedia Commons

These students, on the other hand, apparently believe the election was a mistake and they should have a do-over.

The only reason we failed the midterm, Dr. Wilkins, is that we overslept and forgot to vote. Next time we”€™ll do better! Please let me have a second chance! My parents will kill me if I don”€™t get into law school!

There were demonstrations elsewhere in the country that day, but I doubt if anyone at NYU would be aware of them.

In Franklin, North Carolina, for example, the whole town dressed in red, white, and blue and followed the Franklin High School Marching Panther Regiment and the Daniel Boone Council of the Boy Scouts of America as they marched from Franklin Town Hall to the wreath-laying ceremony at the Gazebo on the Square, where the military veterans of Macon County were honored. Macon County voted 69 percent for Trump, 27 percent for Hillary.

In Ripley, West Virginia, more than 500 veterans marched alongside Jessica Lynch, the Gulf War prisoner of war, in a parade led by General James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard, who rode in a wagon drawn by eight Clydesdales. Most of the veterans had the difficult choice of deciding whether to march at Ripley or three hours south at Welch, West Virginia, site of the nation’s oldest continuous veterans parade, in its 96th year. Ripley went 74 percent for Trump. Welch went 75 percent.

In Dahlonega, Georgia, school was called off so that bands and drill teams could gather at the Lumpkin County Veterans Memorial downtown, where the population of 5,242 had voted 78 percent for Trump.

But I want to point out an important difference between the demonstrations in New York and Portland and the unheralded ones in Franklin and Ripley and Dahlonega: The three smaller ones involve real and immediate threats to safety.

One way to gauge how serious people are about their beliefs is to measure their willingness to die for them. The average military enlistment rate for the nation is 1.6 recruits for every 1,000 able-bodied citizens between the ages of 15 and 24. But there are some parts of the country where rates go as high as six, ten, or even twenty enlistees for every thousand eligible citizens. In fact, of the top fifty counties that send soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines into battle, eleven are in the state of Texas alone and nine are in Georgia. (The South as a region provides 46 percent of our rank-and-file military.)

But let’s break it down further. Of those fifty counties that have enlistment rates of six or above, 43 are in states that voted for Trump.

But let’s break it down further than that. Of the seven counties in Hillary states:

Pope County, in southern Illinois, went 79 percent for Trump.

Garfield County, in eastern Washington, went 68 percent for Trump.

Pershing County, Nevada, went 71 percent for Trump.

Churchill County, Nevada, went 72 percent for Trump.

Lyon County, Nevada, went 67 percent for Trump.

Mineral County, Nevada, went 59 percent for Trump.

San Juan County, in the Colorado Rockies, went 54 to 45 for Hillary!

Final tally: 49 to 1 in the places where people step up to die for their country if necessary.

So why am I making such a big deal about military service? Because, on the day we set aside for honoring our living veterans (as opposed to Memorial Day, which honors the dead ones), tens of thousands of blue-staters chose instead to cast aspersions on the legitimacy of the election. The biggest demonstrations were in places that would regard the parade in Macon County as hokey, overly sentimental, and downright dumb. NYU doesn”€™t even have an ROTC program”€”because nobody attending NYU would think of the military as any kind of real-life institution.

I”€™m acquainted with a high-ranking Army officer”€”I won”€™t name her because she spoke to me in confidence”€”who commanded a battalion of 9,000 men and women in one of our recent wars. Before being deployed overseas, she did a lot of what she called “€œbabysitting”€”€”dealing with various enlisted men who were jailed on base for misbehavior, including actual crimes, during a time when the Pentagon was trying to enforce a “€œno tolerance”€ policy that could result in your being discharged and sent home. Almost all of the offenders were males from small towns in the Deep South (in part because of where the base was located). The two most common reasons they would be brought to her office were “€œdrunk in town”€ and “€œwrecking a truck”€”€”and it was especially serious if the two offenses occurred together, since DUI was on the Army’s list of behaviors they wanted to banish entirely.

The offenders were rarely older than 22, and many of them would be trembling because, beyond facing court-martial, they were about to be dealt with by a woman, and they had grown up in the strong-female South where Mom was frequently more terrifying than Dad. One word from her and their Army career was over.

In almost every case she would find them guilty but let them work it off, with nothing going on their record that would activate the automatic “€œcall your parents to come pick you up”€ policy.

When I asked her why, she said, “€œBecause you could look into their eyes and know that the guy who is constantly wrecking the truck in town is the same guy who would throw himself on a grenade for his platoon.”€

Guys like that come from all those fuckin”€™ red states. You know, the Angry White Man. The White Supremacist. The economically disaffected guy who lost his factory job. The guy who goes to some hayseed Baptist church. The guy who’s out of step with our progressive times.

Interestingly, these guys don”€™t need a hug but they”€™ll make it possible for you to get one, Mr. Muslim-American, Ms. Feminist, Mr./Ms. Transvestite, and Senor Proud Latino. You don”€™t really need a girl named Muffy with a safety pin on the mock neck of her cashmere tunic. You need a guy from Coffee County, Alabama (enlistment rate: 9.04).

And here’s the best part. He’s already taking care of it.


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