Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
Tuesday, March 21, 2000
By Smokey Briggs
to boot camp
"Boot Camp," has apparently become chic _ but military service hasn't fared
so well in the last couple of years. That's the story, reported by the
Associated Press last week.
Yuppie-corporate types are apparently flocking to pseudo-boot camp experiences
where the little maggots pay big bucks to be physically treated like "boots"
for a couple of hours, or even a week _ but certainly not long enough to
interfere with their busy lives.
Without even blushing, these young men and women manage to praise the
discipline and physical rigor of these programs, and then quickly brush
aside any possibility of actually serving in the military _ too inconvenient.
Only a society that has managed to completely divorce military service
from mainstream culture could develop such a phenomenon. And this does
not say good things about our society.
Edward Gibbon wrote about this same phenomenon in his, "Decline and
Fall of the Roman Empire." Gradually Rome evolved from a nation where military
service was mandatory and expected of its citizens, to a nation where military
service was considered beneath a citizen's station in life _ something
you paid less important people to do. Gradually foreign mercenaries became
the backbone of the legions, rather than Roman citizens.
Eventually, Rome paid the price for this when they discovered that you
couldn't pay someone to die for you _ that soldiers not supported by higher
ideals like patriotism tend to run when the odds look long.
When the barbarians were at the gates, the Romans looked to their legions,
only to find that the legions were populated by the same barbarians battering
down the gates _ and joining their brethren looked a lot better than fighting
We are heading in the same direction.
Bringing back the draft would be a good step in preventing this terminal
The draft forces kids from all walks of life into military service _
smart and dumb, wealthy and poor. In the long run everyone profits. I've
never talked to anyone who didn't gain something from his experience in
America as a nation would gain the most. Her military would be stronger
as a broader cross section of her young men stepped up and did their duty
_ rather than having an increasingly large percentage of recruits who simply
can't find a job that get mixed with the patriotic few who sacrifice their
career for awhile to do their duty.
Just as important, a large portion of mainstream society would have
direct experience with the military. They would know the hardships of deployment
overseas firsthand. They would have permanently impressed own their minds
the consequences of politicians' actions hold for regular men like themselves.
When they went to the polls to vote, this empathy with the next generation
of soldiers might just come into play. We might elect a few leaders who
didn't think the military was a political tool for distracting the public,
or simply a semi-necessary evil to be scorned and shortchanged in favor
of more handouts for the lazy.
On the downside, a few folks might lose jobs. Men who have been through
a real boot camp probably aren't going to pay a retired drill sergeant
to yell at them while they do a few push-ups before work.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the
Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at:
Politicians prey on helpless elderly voters
Letter to the Editor:
Our elderly, 65 and over voters of Reeves County are continiuosly becoming
victims of the worst unscrupulous and unethical practice on the part of
the campaigners and candidates who election year after election year prey
on these helpless citizens. They harrass, hound, threaten and intimidate
these voters to no end and with no witnesses to their "deeds". Politics
are taking advantage of the "vote by Mail" method where people can vote
What started as a service and was implemented as a plan to help those
that could not get to the polls to cast their vote and be heard has become
a market for free votes for some of the politicians of this community.
Some of the politicians and their campaigners have decidedly turned this
service into a farce and an exploitive practice that shouldn't be tolerated
by honest, concerned citizens in our community.
These so called "politicians" invite themselves into these voters' homes
invading their privacy, pretending to be there to help, but instead they
pick and choose and punch the ballot at will, voting for themselves, of
course, and ignoring the request of the elderly, perhaps illiterate or
even blind or semi-blind voter, thus taking their right to cast his own
Some of these "helpers" vote only for one person, THEMSELVES. Depriving
the voter of voting for other important issues or for all other candidates
on the ballot, as long as the selfish purpose is accomplished who cares?
What happened to "Honesty and Integrity " printed on every politician's
The illiterate, the disabled and the Senior Citizens of our community
are deserving of our respect. Why then are we allowing them to be plagued,
exploited, harrassed, intimidated and lied to so openly by the very people
who are pledging trust, honesty and integrity, people in our own comunity
pretending to help?..
By politicians intimidating the needy with messages of Food Stamp control,
and other benefits being affected if they do not vote the politic's way.
Please advise these voters that County Commissioners and county elected
officials have no authority or control over State or Federal programs for
We are not in Guatemala, we should be able to run a fair and clean election
for the benefit of our good citizens of Reeves County, without preying
and pouncing on the helpless. We are the middle of the great USA, the only
country in the world with a free democracy! Please allow these few to cast
their vote freely. STOP the abuse of the powerless, the illiterate and
the elderly. I am addressing the candidates, men and women running for
positions in these elections to please give our older citizens back the
respect they deserve and the right to vote as THEY PLEASE, NOT AS YOU PLEASE!
"Honesty and Integrity " is that you proclaim and promise the voters.
Practice it! It isn't just a slogan!
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Peggy McCracken, Webmaster
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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