Monday's "All Things Considered" had an Old Media-esque ditty about the children of our current Presidential Candidates. Frank Schaeffer, an Old Media tool, gave a commentary about the absence of presidential candidates' children in uniform. While the DN would prefer to give photo coverage to an attractive Meghan McCain over the horsefaced hybrid of Hill & Bill, a little narrative about Mr. Schaeffer's story is definitely worth space on our humble site as well.
The progeny of some potential Presidents show precious little interest in serving our country. Rather than spend the next 48 months in Baghdad, Chelsea Clinton opted for a six figure consultant job plus a few cameo appearances on Mom's campaign. The Clintons, remember, are disadvantaged outsiders. Mitt Romney's children work in varied forms of equally lucrative industry (Real Estate, Stocks, Etc.) while also workin the campaign trail. "Hittin doors! My kids are naturals," beams proud father Mitt. Huckabee's kids are too fat, John Edwards daughter is busy running a trendy internet site for recent relocatees to NYC. (Note: Obama's kids are still in diapers.)
The exception to this rule seems to be John McCain. The children of John McCain are either in, or are on their way to, Iraq. McCain's younger son is a Marine, the elder is at Annapolis. In a nod to our modern society, Mr. Schaeffer argues that though the McCain boys' service is laudable, each kid has the right to self-determination... you know, to choose between a posh job or a barracks in Anbar. But as I learned from a previous Senate Campaign in Virginia, for some the decision to go into the military isn't made at a High School counselors office. It is the centrality of honor and duty in one's life, inherited through generations, to forsake the trappings of privilege for tired ol' virtues like Country, Honor and Freedom. You know, all that shit spelled out in vulgar terms on the back of a Redneck's pickup truck.
Dated as those concepts may seem, it was a path followed by the children of every other wartime president. Eleanor Roosevelt said of her two children's heroic military service in WWII that her husband FDR, "...would have been terribly disappointed had they chosen not to serve." Lincoln's sole surviving son Robert served in the Civil War. Zach Taylor's only son fought in the Mexican American War and served again as a CSA General in the Civil War. Those whose children didn't serve simply weren't eligible. Wilson, Johnson & Truman fathered only daughters; JFK's kids, like Obama's, were babies.
We have the right to distinguish between the Gold Bars on the shoulders of McCain's sons' those in the bank accounts of Chelsea Clinton and the Romney Five. McCain's sons' service not only distinguishes their father, but highlights the mores and values that have, through succeeding generations, underpinned the leadership of our nation. We chose to ignore this fact when McCain squared off against the father of a pair of sodden sorority pledges. The apple don't fall far from the tree.