One recent slow morning in August, the grocery store circulars in the newspaper caught my attention. And I began to wonder how things might be different if certain fortunes were reversed.
Instead of “back-to-school” it’s “back-to-basic-training” discount offers. Imagine the following:
- At Ingles, earn $1,000 for mops for the Navy, boots for the Army, when you use your Advantage™ Card. And keep your eyes out for our “Box Tops for Top Guns” special deals to ensure cockpit decal maintenance.
- Whole Foods brand purchases ensure a steady supply of camouflage face grease for our special forces. Don’t forget to relink for special deals at Lockheed Martin. SEAL Teams count!
- Bi-Lo offers tools for troops. Every one of the more than 800 U.S. military bases outside the U.S. have benefited from this unique program, netting more than $9 million in free equipment for every branch of the service.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, these headlines from major media outlets:
- Fox News: “Whining base commanders grousing again about the amount of personal money they have to spend decorating barracks.”
- NBC: “Congressional leaders unable to round up votes necessary to defeat another multi-million dollar ‘supplemental’ educational appropriation. The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives claims Department of Education budget already ‘bloated’ with unnecessary pork.”
- ABC: “Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee hearings under way for alleged corruption in ‘no-bid’ contracts to fulfill private companies’ ‘end-of-grade testing’ services.”
- CBS: “Pentagon brass say ‘bake sales no way to adequately fund quality national defense.’”
- Associated Press: “Investigative reporter uncovers widespread complaints by Marine officer corps that merit pay is tied to low combat injury reports and exaggerated readiness testing.”
Oh, almost forgot, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the plan to upgrade the U.S. nuclear arsenal will cost a half-trillion dollars. The Department of Defense will need to up its game to raise these funds. There are plenty of options. Here are a few suggestions for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
- Mobilize designated Girl Scout cookie sales and ramp up lemonade stand sites.
- Produce special star-studded concert fundraisers at the Grand Ole Opry, Carnegie Hall, Preservation Hall, and the Hollywood Paladium.
- Offer corporate naming rights to the 440 military bases in the U.S. (A few international conglomerates might be interested in the same for the 800-or-so U.S. military bases abroad.)
- Create a lottery for active duty non-commisioned personnel: Winners on thousand dollar bets get to eat in the officers’ dinning room for a month.
- Launch a GoFundMe campaign, marketed by billboards, public service announcements, and social media ads. Rent out National Guard armories for square dances and local cornhole competitions.
- Put in rows of seats in a B-2 bomber for billionaire joyrides. Strip the Nimitz aircraft carrier to a skeletal crew and rent out the remaining bunks as a family cruise option.
- Offer weekend packages at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune shooting range for weekend warriors to hone marksman skills with automatic rifles and machine guns. (Participants must provide their own ammo.)
- Offer late-night drone parties at Randolph Air Force Base, with free bourbon and joy stick access to unmanned combat aerial vehicles, to fire off one or more Hellfire missiles anywhere in the world. ($150,000 per shot, plus drone fuel cost.)
- For those on a budget, rent seats on a U.S. Coast Guard rescue helicopter (barf bags at no additional cost). Or ask President Biden to host major political donors on Marine One chopper party day trips to Camp David. (Barf bags extra and you must tip the pilot.)
Written with thanksgiving for the teachers and educational administrators who know that knowledge is more than information, that character is not subject to cost analysis, and that learning potential exceeds the boundaries of test results.
Don’t just thank a teacher. Argue for a different definition of national security.
Ken Sehested writes at prayerandpolitiks.org. His most recent book is In the Land of the Willing: Litanies, Prayers, Poems, and Benedictions.