By Michael Graham
Friday, August 22, 2008
Imagine for a moment you're the principal of a Massachusetts high
school - say, in Milton or Cohasset - and you get a call from PETA.
"We understand," the caller from People for the Ethical Treatment of
Animals says, "that you're having a Career Day for the kids and that
KFC will be there taking job applications and, well, we just don't
think that's right. So we want to set up a PETA table telling the
kids that meat is murder, that chickens are people too and that
working at KFC is morally unacceptable."
What would you do?
If you're like me, your reply would be "Harry, is that you? Stop
pulling my leg, I've got work to do!" Then you'd laugh, hang up and
go on about your business.
Because the idea of having a protest group at a job fair is simply
ludicrous, whether they're anti-capitalists protesting Wal-Mart or
anti-communists protesting the Massachusetts Teachers Association.
The point of Career Day is to bring organizations to high schools
that can help students pick a career, not pick a political fight.
Unless you're the principal of Milton or Cohasset high school, and
the employer being protested is the U.S. Armed Services.
Three times a year, according to The Boston Globe-Democrat, Milton
High holds a Career Day, and at every one, military recruiters are
greeted by "counter-recruiters" discouraging kids from choosing to
serve. When recruiters go to Cohasset High, they're greeted the same way.
And now the so-called Citizens for An Informed Community is asking
Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School to let them in, too. They
think it's unfair that military recruiters don't tell both sides.
"We just think that when someone enters the military they should have
the full background," says CIC founder Ray Ajemian. "We're talking
about somebody dying or having trauma or killing someone."
What? If I join a combat organization, there might be fighting? Gee,
I wondered why they had all those pictures of Marines holding guns
and soldiers riding tanks. You mean those aren't just old photo-ops
with Michael Dukakis?
If it's true that 18-year-olds in Raynham are, in fact, unaware that
Marines kill people, Ajemian should be protesting the high school
history department, not the military.
Choosing to serve America as a member of our armed services is
serious business. In 2006, about 60 out of every 100,000 members of
the military were killed on the job.
However, more than 100 of every 100,000 employees in the fishing
industry were killed that same year. Where are the anti-fishing
activists? (Other than PETA, that is.)
Loggers, professional pilots and members of some construction trades
all have more dangerous jobs than our military, but if tree huggers
or anti-hardhat activists asked to be part of Career Day, they'd be
laughed off the campus.
So why is the U.S. military the only employer that faces officially
sanctioned propaganda at Massachusetts public schools? Colleges,
unions and schools of over-the-road trucking all send recruiters to
our high schools, but the only ones who face protests are those
wearing our nation's uniform.
CIC members are openly political, but claim their job-fair activities
are not. However, they also admit they have no intention of hiring
anyone, either. So why are they allowed to even participate?
Political protests are fine if you're organizing Debate Day or
Political Week or 9/11 Was An Inside Job-Fest.
But this is Career Day. And young men and women interested in making
a career of defending America should be celebrated, not hassled.
Michael Graham hosts a talk show on 96.9 FM WTKK.