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15 November 2013

A Functionalist Take on the Draft

I caught this nugget on The Writer's Almanac this morning:
Most Americans were happy about the end of the draft [in 1973], but in 1999 the historian Stephen Ambrose wrote: "Today, Cajuns from the Gulf Coast have never met a black person from Chicago. Kids from the ghetto don't know a middle-class white. Mexican-Americans have no contact with Jews. Muslim Americans have few Christian acquaintances ... But during World War II and the Cold War, American (men) from every group got together in the service, having a common goal — to defend their country ... They learned together, pledged allegiance together, sweated together, hated their drill sergeants together, got drunk together, went overseas together. What they had in common — patriotism, a language, a past they could emphasize and venerate — mattered far more than what divided them."
Interesting stuff.

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