Monday, July 17, 2006

Of Science Fiction and Voting

I was browsing the usual suspects after doing my 8 hours when I saw this little snippit in a thread of little snippits:

Rolling Stone wonders if the draft might make a comeback. I've already gone on the record supporting mandatory national service (which can be non-military). I also understand I'm in the vast minority in thinking people should serve their nation for at least a few years to avail themselves of the benefits of citizenship.

And I thought I was the only one that read Starship Troopers (yes read. It was a book first). For the uninitiated --most of you, unfortunatly-- the Starship Trooper universe is one in which there are two citizens of earth: Civilians and citizens. Everyone is a civilian at first. They have all the rights necessary to living, such as fair trial, freedom of speech etc... They cannot, however, vote. Only by becoming a citizen can one vote. Citizenship is obtained through military sevice (though possible through other means, service is the most common choice by far).

I've always fancied this idea, especially when drinking (like now!). It's compelling to have voting be a privilage of service rather than an inaliable right. It would definately prevent the 101st Fighting Keyboardists from polluting the pool with their votes, as well as anyone who doesn't ahve the balls to fight for what they believe in. But on the other end of the looking glass, it is a blatent denial of basic rights given to citizens.

But is it? In Starship Troopers, the rights given to citizens is gained through military uprisings after a true world war. Fed up with what politicians have done to the world, veterans overthrough governments around the world and create a world government that brings peace to earth (though not peace for earth...). How much different is this from our right to vote? Initially gained through military uprising (American Revolution, anyone?), we've had to fight for the expansion of that right beyond the initial white, land- owning male. It's really only a change of direction in voting rights that frankly can be abused by the wrong people.

I won't pretend to know the answer to this right now, wine has boggled the higher functions too much. On one hand, it makes sense to make a trade for something as important as voting. It creates a sense of commitment. On the other hand, denying voting to a large segment of the population simply because they haven't joined the military doesn't seem fair at all.

Then again, tell that to the 2,550+ that have died in Iraq so far. They may have voted, but it wasn't vets that chose to go to war in Iraq. Indeed, the Bush Whitehouse seems to have the highest deficency of any military service of any recent presidency (or any at all. I'm too lazy to check). And yet they seem to want war more than anyone from the past. Big suprise, but this little logic formula leads me to not trusting those who haven't gone to war with issues of war and peace; for they surely haven't seen both sides. When you think about it, that's a very frightening thing indeed. I disagree with George Clemenceau when he says that "War is much too serious a matter to be entrusted to the military." I agree much more with Thomas Mann when he says that "War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace." But that's just the cynic in me swimming to the surface through the wine. In all honesty, it could be the truth.


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