Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Young Patriots

Pork in the freezer or on the grill is a good thing, and pork in the federal budget is of questionable value. But one item being touted by some as pork raised my eyebrows.

The item being cited is $1 million to help the Young Patriots produce a video promoting our patriotic holidays.

I'd have to know more about this Young Patriots group and the video in question before deciding whether this particular appropriation is or is not pork, but I have to say that the idea of spending $1 million on a video explaining to our youth why our patriotic holidays are important is not, in general, a bad idea. Our youth are growing up in an affluent society where the main purpose of patriotic holidays seems to be putting carpets on sale. They are not being taught patriotic values in their schools. If I hadn't had parents who were patriotic and explained the holidays to me, and grandparents who served their country honorably in WWII, I'd be as ignorant about them today as most kids are. The majority of kids nowadays might have a great-grandfather who served, but they don't spend much time with him because he's in a nursing home, and anyway their parents are divorced and they don't see that side of the family much.

One video, well-crafted and well-distributed, would go a long way toward helping these kids learn exactly why it is that our country is special, particularly in an atmosphere of popular nihilism and America-bashing. So maybe it's not pork after all; maybe it does serve a compelling national interest. It's worth looking into. $1 million is a paltry sum to spend to perpetuate our country and our American culture, and money for such a purpose definitely belongs in the Defense budget. In just a few short years, these kids will be old enough to serve in the military. Since we have an all-volunteer force, it is in our national interest to prepare them to want to serve our country.