Over the years of working with refugees from Burma, I have often wondered what their most important possession is. We have even made lists of the things that they bring with them as they flee the attacks of soldiers: a machete, cooking pot, tarp, lighter, rice and salt. All those things are essential for survival in the jungle. The same with medicine and warm blankets. These are possessions that give life.
Our son is turning 18 this summer, which qualifies him to vote in the upcoming presidential election. When I turned 18, the draft had just been disbanded. I’ve heard my oldest brother talk about his brush with the draft, his near induction. Even though my dad was a military man, we five kids were all vehemently opposed to serving in the military. Like my wife Colleen’s mom and dad, Colleen and I would be the first to pack our bags to emigrate if any of our children were drafted. The thought of sending an 18- to 25-year-young person to war is completely incomprehensible to us.