Consider the case of one Idris Lepple, a Barnard College senior majoring in political science. She wrote an opinion piece for the Columbia College newspaper moaning about her brother's decision to attend the U.S. Naval Academy without somehow figuring out that his free education would require him to actually serve in the Navy! The message didn't get through to his family either, including the "really smart" Ms Lepple.
But let's let her tell the story, with a little editorial help from me:
I know why I chose Columbia:...I could look at a stranger, tell him or her that I went to Columbia, and hear the predictable, “Wow, you must be smart.”
When my brother was getting ready to go to the Naval Academy, everyone ooohed and awed* about how brave he was. Aunts and uncles would say, “John, you must be one of thousands of kids who wanted to go—you must be so smart!”
Before he left, my family had countless talks about what it might mean to be at an academy. While we knew that someday he would be required to serve, we also were drawn to the top-tier education he was promised to receive....
We were told that [at the] Naval Academy...He would be able to learn history, economics, political science, and even engineering. He would play lacrosse on a nationally ranked team and play the bugle in the marching band. He would have seminars about leadership and selflessness. He would even go to school for free...
Soon that pride turned to anger and fear: after my mom dropped him off at Annapolis, she came home with an acute sense of grief. The only thing she could talk about was how to get him out...she was scared by the extent to which her son had suddenly become the property of the U.S. Navy.
She begged me to call a naval lieutenant...to start the out-processing forms for my brother. After leaving countless messages for the lieutenant, he finally called me back, at which point he informed me that my brother would have to go through 13 exit-interviews to be dismissed, including an interview with the head of the Navy**. When I asked him whether this might intimidate him out of leaving, the lieutenant reminded me that my brother had signed an oath legally binding him to the Navy. When I reminded the lieutenant that he had signed that oath after he had been yelled at all day and that his hair had just been shaven off during his first day there, he comforted me that John was not at all forced to sign the oath.
When I looked at the course catalogue, which boasted seminars about leadership and selflessness, they were in fact seminars about weaponry and leading troops into combat. The reality of sending my brother to the Naval Academy began to set in: this was not a school; this was the military. While they boast a first class education, the main goal of this institution was to get my brother “combat ready.” During the first two “induction days,” the head of the Navy openly admitted that their goal was to transform these boys into men who would willingly die defending our country***...When they talked of courage and bravery, they showed a video of a Navy marine**** rounding off an unlimited supply of ammunition. During my brother’s plebe summer (his first summer), he could not talk to us for more than a few minutes once a week for fear that we might unduly influence him.
My brother ended up liking Annapolis and he has decided to stay. While it has been difficult for me to accept that I have a brother in the military*****, I must allow him to pursue whatever path he is drawn toward, and he has admitted to me that he feels called to being there. However, for anyone else out there considering a career in the academy, let it be known: the U.S. Naval Academy is not an elite college; it is first and foremost a branch of the U.S. military and the prestige comes at a big price—it taxes parents, siblings, and participants if they do not understand what they were signing up for******.
Frankly, both Idris and her mother sound like prize idiots. One can only hope the Naval Academy can turn the son/brother into a man. In fact, I'm guessing Ms Lepple could use a good healthy dose of Boot Camp, too.
This kind of politically correct crap burns me up.
* Either Idris or her editors were sloppy here....
** The "Head of the Navy," eh? Are we talking Secretary of Defense here or the Chief of Naval Operations, currently Admiral Mullin?
*** Oooh, how dare they train volunteers to defend their nation?
**** Not "marines," ma'm. Capital-M Marines!
***** "Code Pink" in training, Ms Lepple? How loathsome to have a brother serving his country....
****** A "smart boy" of college age who can't tell the difference between joining the Navy and joining the military? Sheesh....