[December 4, 2020] The U.S. has experienced an anti-military ideology since the 1960s. This kind of thinking has become a key component of Progressive dogma. In the city of San Francisco, this line of Progressive thinking is strong. Recently, community leaders in San Francisco saved their JROTC program from school board members’ intent on removing the program.
Those of us who study leadership know that being a leader means convincing people to do things they would not ordinarily do. It is practiced, not so much in words, as in attitude and actions.
In November 2006, San Francisco board members, openly hostile to the United States military, persuaded other members to “phase out JROTC.”1,2 Despite open support from all seven High School Principals, Parent Teacher Student Associations, numerous politicians, and students, the board remained unimpressed.
Social media was coming into its own during these years. Facebook and other media platforms were used to unite those with interest in saving the JROTC programs. For more than a year, the group “Choice for Students” rallied community support, contacted politicians, and made clear, well-organized arguments for keeping the program.
Eventually, using the democratic process, they gathered enough signatures to place the measure on the ballot. Students, parents, and local supporters talked to voters about the values of JROTC, about the skills taught that are relevant to jobs and life, and about choice.
“You may not be connected to JROTC, but if the School Board can eliminate a program they dislike on ideological grounds, they won’t stop with JROTC.” – Michael Bernick, parent
In the poem, “First they came …” by Martin Niemöller, the Lutheran pastor who survived the concentration camps was prevalent. Democratic Party officials urged parents and students to “compromise” (eliminate uniforms, remove the JROTC name, and cut official ties to the U.S. military). They were told to “be reasonable.”
On election day, the measure to keep JROTC won overwhelmingly. Following the election, anti-JROTC board members used delay tactics to stop any formal decision to keep the program. But in May 2009, after a long night of waiting, the Board voted 4-3 to restore the program.
A popular radio show host offered the School Board members and Superintendent the opportunity to explain their views of opposing JROTC. Not a single one returned calls to speak on the radio show.
This fight to keep a vital JROTC program is an example of what can be done when most voters see through empty ideology and recognize excellence.
- http://www.usarmyjrotc.com/general/program_overview.php Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) is one of the largest character development and citizenship programs for High School-aged youth in the world. The U.S. National Defense Act of 1916 established JROTC programs.