Stewart L. Beall: The tenets of community

Advertisement

While all Americans struggle with our present difficult economic conditions, the worst since the Great Depression, my thoughts and dreams continually reflect on the America that I believe is my heritage and the heritage of my children.

Regardless of what is said in the accusatory polemic discourse about our present state, we have inherited the freest country with the most flexible market opportunities in the world. We are limited only by our “victim” stance and our “Chicken Little” fears. The sky is falling, the Muslims are coming, our President is not one of us — my, oh my!

Instead, I hope we can reflect on what it means to participate in the national community we inherited.

There are many ways to sacrifice, but one of the greatest community activities we ask anyone to perform is to fight and defend our great nation. Soldiers do not fight and risk death for polemic arguments. They fight for our communities to be safe and free. But our freedom is not unfettered. It comes with responsibility.

In my opinion, paying taxes is another patriotic sacrifice that all of us can make. I know it is popular to avoid taxes. But I think through hard work and paying taxes, we contribute to our community.

Why is this topic of taxation so important? I think the actions we have taken as a nation since Sept. 11, 2001, had a direct effect on today’s economic conditions. After that date, we went to war. We drank the Kool-Aid and thought we would not have to pay the costs of war. We collectively agreed that only a “few” would bear the burden of our defense, because there was no draft. Additionally, we refused to sacrifice economically, as well, by not rescinding the revenue reductions of 2001 and adding more reductions in 2003. This was very different from my parents’ behavior during World War II with their victory garden, chicory coffee and sugar rationing.

We must quit being victims, accept our responsibility for our nation’s present travails and develop a course of action to improve our situation.

We can do this by re-establishing three basic community tenets:

  1. We should never again go to war without “forcing” our elected political leaders to follow the Constitution and declare that war.

  2. We should agree that we all will share the difficult burden of our men and women in the Armed Forces by insisting on the reinstatement of the draft.

  3. We should ask what economic sacrifices are required to defend our great nation and take responsibility for them.

If we take those steps, I think the national discourse about declining job markets, deteriorating infrastructure and struggling education and health care systems again can become civil. Collectively, we will have re-established our connections to each other with our shared sacrifice.

My early history books spoke to me of our great American expansion from “sea to shining sea.” But as a young man, I realized America’s spaces were filled, and my dreams for my country expanded to include the unexplored territories of fairness, justice, equality and generosity toward my community, the United States of America.

Stewart L. Beall was a commissioned officer in the Army, awarded the Ranger Tab and served in combat in Vietnam. He has lived in Steamboat since 1971, working 25 years for Energy Fuels and its successive companies. For four years at Arizona State University, Beall conducted research on supply chain practices for Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies.

Comments

Scott Wedel 3 years, 7 months ago

Evelyn Barr, Do you have any idea how rude and disrespectful your comment is?

1) It is none of your business. 2) Mr Stewart Beall did serve honorably and with distinction. That fact means anyone questioning his family's service is fundamentally failing to show respect for Mr Stewart Beall's service and the whole idea of military service.

0

Scott Wedel 3 years, 7 months ago

And that response also answers my question - that no, even after having it explained to you why your original question is rude and shows a callous lack of respect that you fail to understand.

0

ftpheide 3 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Wedel, I'm an Army wife. My husband retired as a Lt. Col.. He was the commanding officer at Fort Carson for many years. I taught the soldiers at Fort Carson , so many could get their GED's . You are becoming defensive for no reason. Failure to show respect for military service- you're way off. I do not believe in the draft. Military service isn't for everyone.

0

Fred Duckels 3 years, 7 months ago

Hi Stewart, I liked your article, it would certinly be a change. When I look at our young people today I often see the need for military service to improve respect and responsibility. It seems that many are clueless in this, area and worse is the fact that they seem to take pride in such behavior. Our industries could be much more efficient if they were not required to be a mother to the workforce.

0

JustSomeJoe 3 years, 7 months ago

Evelyn - what's your point? Stewart's son has free will, and with a volunteer armed forces, he has the choice to enlist or not. Are you thinking because Stewart has an opinion he should force his son to bend to his will, or his opinion is less valid because his son didn't go in the service? I think your question is inane, but feel free to tell us why it's not.

Well said Stewart. We have been paying for the last 10 years on the country's credit card and the bill is due. The years of lower taxes for the wealthiest people and corporations, wars and deficit spending have not helped our country, in fact it is why we are in the hole we are in today. It's time the tax burden is reset back to the Clinton years level, we starting making tough spending choices and start the road to a balanced budget.

0

Fred Duckels 3 years, 7 months ago

Hi Stewart, I liked your article, it would certinly be a change. When I look at our young people today I often see the need for military service to improve respect and responsibility. It seems that many are clueless in this, area and worse is the fact that they seem to take pride in such behavior.

0

ftpheide 3 years, 7 months ago

JustSomeJoe- I don't understand your question. What is inane?

0

Neil O'Keeffe 3 years, 7 months ago

Thanks Stewart, unfortunately many are missing the point. What about the prospect that if we had a draft it is far less likely that we would so brazenly enter into needless wars. With "everyone in" under the draft, do you truly think we would still be involved with either of these corporate/military complex follies? Surely not, far better if only a silent minority are paying the price and making the sacrifices (largely for economic reasons). It's not the behavior of our youth that is the issue here, rather it's the behavior of the "head in the sand " general public along with our adult elected officials that needs to be questioned. Please don't get me started. God Bless America and Capitalism! LETS ALL GO SHOPPING!!!

0

STEWART L BEALL JR 3 years, 7 months ago

Evelyn? I cant believe I am going fall for the bait. Well played.

This is Stewart's son and I willing to address the question about why I decided not to join the military.

I did not want to. I thought about it but in the end fighting in a war was not in line with my belief system.

Slashing powder turns > dropping bombs.

0

JustSomeJoe 3 years, 7 months ago

Evelyn - I think the premise of your entire question is inane. Why is Stewart Junior's record of military service relevant to the article?

0

bandmama 3 years, 7 months ago

Whoa. I tried not to comment. I really did.I know I will catch heck for stating my OPINION. But, by rights granted me in the constitution, I have that right. First, let me thank everyone who has died,has served and is serving to give me this right, Thank You! You can not in any way re-instate the draft without stepping on an American citizens right to fight for what they believe (ie: religeon, speech, ideals). Key words. Think carefully. By forcing me to fight for what I dont agree with,my government will make me my own enemy. I have to believe in what I am asked to kill for. Otherwise, demrocracy is shredded. stejr- Many respect your views, and kuddos to you for stating your beliefs.

0

cody heartz 3 years, 7 months ago

Justsomejoe- Evelyn's question is significant. If Mr. Beall feels so strongly about reinstating the draft--and by extension forcing other people's children to fight in a war they may or may not believe is just--why doesn't he hold his own children up to these same ideals? If Mr. Beall is suggesting that conscripting America's young people to the will of the state is an essential tenet of community, why doesn't he apply the same principals to his family? It is a fact that calls Mr. Beall's credibility into question. That said, I do not know the author and I'm not trying to suggest he isn't principled. However, Evelyn's question raises a point that is decidedly not "inane".

0

Matthew Stoddard 3 years, 7 months ago

Stewjr- Well said. While I agree with 2 of the points your father made, I'm not for a draft. It has no place in our society to force someone into combat any longer.

buffpasser- Do you always agree with your dad or son, depending on your age? I'd say no, because we can all remember a certain VP candidate who had a daughter that didn't seem to espouse the same feelings on birth control, but does seem to share mom's love of the limelight.

Evelyn- Nowhere in Stewart's letter does he say he exempts his family. Where did anyone see him type or say that? Any children of your own that didn't go military? From experience, most military brats tend to be turned off from joining because they get tired of moving every 2-3 years. (I was the 3rd gen in my family. I just wasn't a lifer; I was a drinker.)

0

bandmama 3 years, 7 months ago

Just a tidbit of thought. Why would a draft serve purpose when sending by "force" our young men and women to "serve"? While I am a peace loving dumbA$$ sometimes, I do realize the need, for those who are willing, not only to kill but, to die for their homeland and ideals. I am a big pu$$y. I dont want to die for my home till some commie comes over Rabbit Ears, yet that in NO way lessens my respect and appreciation for those that may stop someone WAY before they hit the Colorado state line. A major reason to say thank you to every person in uniform. By forcing individuals into service you weaken the main link in defense. I would think that sending a sensitive, long haired hippie, peace loving person as myself would weaken a countries front. I for one, if forced to carry a gun to kill would find it very hard TO kill. No matter how much I love my country of orgin, no matter how much I love my home, no matter the ORDER from a commanding officer. Killing is NOT in my nature (touch my kid in the wrong way and a different story...sarcastic LOL) So, why would a draft serve us well?

0

STEWART L BEALL JR 3 years, 7 months ago

It would create an environment that everyone was vested in our international war policy. The draft would make it very difficult politically for Washington to use our military outside of purpose of national defense in the period we live in today.

Republicans and Democrats a like, would have to be willing to make political sacrifices that they do not have to make now.

It would force us to sit down together and make serious adult choices about our future. ie. is going to war in Iraq truly in our best interests?

It would engage the American public. ie. Do we really want to fight this war? Are we willing to pay for this war? 10 billion a month, 100 billion a year for what 9 years now. Almost 1 trillion American dollars.

I am willing to bet, If the daft was reinstated everyone would think twice about voting for a hawkish politician.

I am not sure I agree about reinstating the draft however it would make the American more invested in our choice to go to war.

0

cody heartz 3 years, 7 months ago

The draft has never stopped politicians from entering us into socially unpopular conflicts. Prior to 1973 the draft conscripted men into every major war effort in american history, including the korean war, vietnam, and world war 1. None of these three conflicts presented an immediate threat to the citizenry of the US. The draft has historically been a political device for shoring up man power to engage in conflicts that don't have the popular backing of the people. We can all agree that vietnam, and for the most part the korean war, were cold war pissing matches. The draft doesn't deter unwise military engagement, it only supplies it with human capital.

0

John Fielding 3 years, 7 months ago

.

While we are at it lets consider a few other ways of creating citizen involvement. Compulsory military or equivalent public service is working well in Israel I hear. But I am intrigued by the idea of mandatory voting, still secret, but If you don't show up you lose your drivers license or something. Or we better off keeping only the active electorate deciding who will represent us and which ballot measures will pass?

.

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.