Will ROTC Survive On Campus?
By: J.D. Gordon
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Oh, the humanity.
With so many micro-aggressions in the air, how can the aggrieved masses in college bear all that pain and suffering? Can they even survive their university experience?
Well, as the radical left surges on campus, here’s one institution that might not: ROTC.
And that would be a tragedy.
That’s because for 99 years, the Reserve Officer Training Corps has been a key program in recruiting and training young military leaders. It accounts for roughly 40% of officers commissioned through over 1,000 universities. It’s been a win/win for America — the military pays for college and in return graduates serve our country in uniform.
The four years I spent as a Midshipman in the Naval ROTC unit at Penn State were among the most rewarding of my lifetime. That was during the Reagan and Bush 41 era — when most campuses leaned left, yet still respected military service, generally tolerated conservative values and supported free speech.
Of the few professors who winced when they saw me in uniform on Thursday military drill days, they were definitely out of the norm. But I noticed they were among the younger ones, most likely coming of age during the turbulent 1960s and into the 1970s. That’s when ROTC was widely viewed as an accessory to the Vietnam War, with some units attacked and many others shuttered.
Well, that “flower power” generation behind the anti-ROTC sentiment back then, now runs colleges and universities today.
Though they may have faded into the background for decades, most haven’t forgotten their roots. So they’ve gradually built far-left indoctrination centers, where openly conservative professors can’t even get tenured for job security. The campus bullies are even more biased than Hollywood.
Not surprisingly, America’s history and reputation have been the next casualties.
When the campus P.C. police teach about our Founding Fathers, instead of focusing on how and why they fought a tyrannical king for liberty, including the original Tea Party, they’ve shifted the conversation. Now it’s fashionable to discuss how many slaves the early presidents had, and how many fathered children behind closed doors.
Instead of faulting Nazi German and Imperial Japanese aggression which led to 60 million deaths during World War II, punctuated by the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the lectures now appear more about how a “racist” country put Japanese-Americans into internment camps, and not German-Americans.
The social justice warriors who courageously pushed for civil rights during the 1960s have ironically come full circle and are among today’s worst oppressors of freedom. Their weapon of choice is character assassination. Anyone who dares to challenge them is branded a racist, bigot, sexist, xenophobe, Islamophobe, homophobe, etc. etc. Facts be damned, it’s the allegation that counts. One has to wonder if they still teach about the 1692 Salem Witch Trials?
They like to blame America first, push the victim narrative, and look for dragons to slay. They raise themselves up by tearing others down.
Thus it’s no wonder why hysteria is sweeping college campuses today.
At the University of Missouri, a graduate student whose father makes $8 million a year as a top railroad executive, went on a hunger strike to protest his victimhood in a “racist” campus. Though he couldn’t produce any substantive proof, the mass protests took out the university’s president and chancellor. And let’s remember the journalism professor who called for “muscle” to remove a student journalist from covering the protest.
At Yale, a video gone viral on You Tube shows a “shrieking girl” going on a profanity-laced tirade against a senior staff member who didn’t want to enforce politically correct Halloween costumes in the dorms. She screamed that he wasn’t “creating a place of comfort and home!”
At Princeton, student activists with Black Lives Matter occupied the dean’s office because they want the name of the university’s most famous alum, President Woodrow Wilson, erased from all buildings and programs. And why? Well, obviously he was racist.
Though ROTC hasn’t been the target of mass protests these days, unlike many fraternities and sororities, there are warning signs.
Earlier this year, a student at Brown penned an Op/Ed in the campus newspaper arguing against a new university partnership with Naval and Air Force ROTC. Calling it “criminal,” he wrote, “this is not science, this is the art of killing and torturing.”
On one hand, I chuckle with schadenfreude to see the faculty and staff reaping what they’ve sown. After all, when you teach pyromania, don’t be surprised when you get pyromaniacs.
Yet on the other, I’m also concerned that unless there’s a common sense mass movement to take back campus, the next guys will be even worse.
And combined with $1 trillion in defense cuts hollowing out the military this decade, a shrinking military might just cut their losses and run from loony left universities. And then ROTC just may be doomed – perhaps forever.
J.D. Gordon is a retired Navy Commander and former Pentagon spokesman who served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2005-2009. He is a graduate of Naval ROTC at Pennsylvania State University.