Senator Kerry didn’t just say something stupid. He said something that is absolutely wrong. I know. I did the analysis myself four years ago.
I spoke with Steve Gill on his show about this today. Children living in the poorest 20% of our neighborhoods in America are the least likely to serve in the Army. I was actually surprised by my findings. Yet, once I though about it, the reasons seemed obvious.
There is a high correlation between poor neighborhoods, and under-educated communities. Since 25% of our nation’s kids don’t graduate high school (it’s even higher in Nashville), and since a high school diploma or a GED is a requirement for enlistment, kids without, can’t even be Soldiers.
Furthermore, as much as I love my service, traditionally, the Army has the lowest enlistment standards. That means that Marines, Sailors, and Airmen are probably even less likely to come from under-educated communities.
Senator Kerry is a victim of his Vietnam era experiences and a Vietnam era stereotype. That being the stereotype of an Army filled with ignorant Southern rednecks and poor inner city blacks. That stereotype may have been true once (I’ve seen no data proving it either way), but it most certainly isn’t true now. We truly do have a top-notch military full of quality people, and Senator Kerry’s remarks betrayed his belief that he doesn’t really think so.
If Senator Kerry wanted to be accurate, he should have told kids that if you don’t study, and don’t graduate from high school, you won’t ever have the opportunity to serve this great country in our nation’s military.