Thursday, February 01, 2007

Leave No American Behind

If history remembers President Bush for anything besides Iraq, it might be for the No Child Left Behind education reforms. Bush advisers no doubt spent hours brainstorming that name. They crafted a title that would speak to Americans' aspirations for their children and for their country. They crafted a title that would make it difficult for political opponents to stand against it.

But if No Child Left Behind is an ideal both conservatives and liberals should eagerly get behind, then why not No Worker Left Behind? No Family Left behind? No American Left Behind?

That last one is something we teach our military. For Marines it is a code of honor: never leave a Marine behind.

So why -- if No Child Left Behind is responsible, and Leave No Marine Behind is taught by the government as honorable -- is an America where it's Every Man For Himself the apparent goal of conservative politics? Why is not the Marines' esprit de corps a model for public policy? Why is Leave No American Behind good enough for the Marines, but not good enough for you?

Certainly not because the Marines foster weakness? Or a governmental "nanny state"? Certainly not because the military is another hated "big government" program? The military is probably the single largest government program, held by classical conservatism to be one of the few essential and desirable functions of government.

It is a puzzlement, and a question Democrats should have a ready answer for as we do combat in the marketplace of ideas.

I invite your analyses and observations.

1 comment:

Mark Withrow said...

Speaking as a prior-service Marine*, there is another Marine Corps saying that neatly answers your question:

"Marine - Always earned, never given"

That is the basis of Marine Corps esprit de corps, as it is with other elite groups: the recognition that the other Marine who you will sacrifice for (and who will sacrifice for you) has EARNED that right/duty of entitlement/obligation.

Unfortunately, it seems that the title of American is simply an accident of birth for many people, as evident by their complete lack of the concept of citizenship and civics.

*Your only called a "former" Marine if you're dead.