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We’re losing a generation of young black men. Trapped not only within geographic ghettos, but cultural and mental ghettos, with walls built out of dependency, ignorance and a poverty of vision. Young men with better than average intelligence, but with minds and imaginations left to wither on the vine in progressively failing public school systems.

Young men and boys growing to adulthood in female headed households, without fathers or even father figures. Drowning in a degenerate and spiritually bankrupt miasma of rap music, drifting through extended family networks tethered weakly to incomplete family units with no idea what an intact family even looks like except for Cosby reruns.

Now, these poorly educated, improperly socialized, fatherless boys are adrift in a faltering information age economy indifferent to their lack of skills, initiative or circumstance and its not working out.

Meanwhile they are coddled and indulged by mothers or grandmothers or girl friends and baby mommas who shelter them in basements, spare bedrooms or apartments into adulthood and beyond to a point where their instinct for dignified independence is dulled and senile.

I have such drifting young men in my family and you probably have one or two in yours. Whats to be done? Send them to war.

We should be encouraging, exhorting, cheering on these unemployed and underemployed boys and men to join the military in droves, droves I say. Employment, opportunity, training, benefits, values, honor, duty, country, God. Its all right there, everything they are not getting as they slowly molder on momma’s couch. They are drifting through a failing economy while the military’s offer of opportunity and advancement is ignored because momma is afraid her baby might get shot. So we let them drift and rot into stunted manhood, stumbling through our cities, urban zombies of disfigured and maimed potential leaving neglected children in their wake.

Wasn’t there a time when mommas told their young men “you got to get out of my house and stand on your own two feet”? When the barber at the shop would say “if you don’t know what to do with yourself, join the service”. Now we eschew such advice, and why? Because its not cool for black boys to go to war, to go serve anymore? Because somehow we think we’re selling out to send black boys to the military? Its crazy talk. There is no honor nor value in being undereducated and unemployed and incapable of supporting a family, but we indulge and tolerate that very outcome for multitudes of our young men despite the fact that military service is a readily available alternative.

The armed services have often been the leaders in providing opportunity, in demonstrating equality and a culture of merit. Its a place where a boy can learn how to be a man, where he can be tested in the fire and forged into something stronger. Its structure, its discipline, its hierarchy. Its a job, its honorable and instead of ginning up yet another midnight basketball program over at the church, maybe we ought to be ginning up the armed services urban recruit escort program, to walk our boys right from that high school graduation where they picked up that worthless diploma and into their billet in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard or Marines.

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