News & Politics

If Donald Trump Wants to Get His War on With Syria, Have Him Send His Own Kids First

What if Trump's sons and daughters — and their spouses — were as likely to be deployed as kids in my family are?

Photo Credit: Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock.com

“Oh my God, yo! Oh my God, yo!” my younger cousin yells at me. “Yo, cuz, Trump on some bullshit — he’s blowing up Syria and ready to pop off at North Korea! You ain’t worried?”

He’s halfway through his first political science course at a community college and has quickly turned into an MSNBC, CNN and hate-watching-Fox addict. I told him to fall back — even though we supposedly live in a form of democracy, this is still way out of our control. I know that’s easier said than done because of last week’s Syria missile raid and the administration’s disturbing talk about North Korea, but somebody has to be cool. I’m older; that’s my job.

“Cuz, you think Trump’s gonna reinstate the draft?” he asked me while pacing back and forth. “Man, I ain’t trying to fight for this racist-ass president in his racist-ass country. Fuck that. Send them clowns that voted for him over there. Matter of fact, he needs to send his ugly-ass kids over there!”

“They’ve probably never been in an un-orchestrated fight; what are they gonna do?” I said.

“I’m just saying, yo, I’ll feel better if his kids were at war with the rest of us. Keeps him honest,” he said.

I told him to stay away from cable news for a minute. “It’s cooking your brain.”

On the ride to work, I thought about my cousin’s temperament, his uneasiness with the current administration and how so many other Americans are probably feeling the same way. And I thought about what he said about Trump needing to send his own “ugly-ass kids” to war. Genius.

What better way for the new president to show his commitment to our country than for him to send Eric and Donald Jr. off to fight? I think those two would make great infantryman. After all, the Trump boys claim to love this country as much as their pop does. They definitely love guns — there are pictures of the two all over the internet holding the carcasses of dead elephants, cheetahs and other animals that probably didn’t know they were being hunted. This would a great example for little Barron to follow.

Maybe deploy his son-in-law Jared Kushner, too? They all love playing G.I. Joe dress-up, just like their dad and other presidents have. They might as well do the real thing, right?.

I think back to former President George W. Bush in the flight suit he wore for his televised visit to the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln to deliver his “Mission accomplished” speech, when he claimed victory for a mission that was never accomplished. And the bulk of our soldiers involved in Iraqi combat died after that address — and that’s the part that is normally left out of these silly pretend-solider narratives.

Wars are real and people die in them. Trump knows this because he chose to file for deferments — four student exemptions and a medical one for bone spurs in his feet — instead of entering the Vietnam War draft. And I’m sure George W. Bush knows this because of the controversy over  his lost National Air Guard records, such that he wasn’t able to prove if he had fulfilled his requirements. People like Bush and Trump are fortunate enough to get to play around with outfits, planes and weapons that they will never have to really use because they aren’t poor. They don’t have to risk their lives for college money, don’t have the heart to truly fight for America and don’t have to because they have the luxury of sending your kids instead.

It easy for Trump to send others people’s children to war from beautiful Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, to punish Syria for attacking its own citizens while American citizens are oppressed, being murdered by police officers in record numbers, all while the good people of Flint, Michigan, still don’t have clean water. These reasons make so many of us reject politicians and politics. My little cousin just gained his political awareness, and he’ll probably be jaded by the end of his first semester. It answers the question why so many millennials sat out the last election.

But I’m an optimist; I believe that these feelings can change with one simple gesture. Trump can prove that he’s the one with the power to bring us all back under the patriotic umbrella if he simply sends his kids to war and leaves them in the field until all our conflicts are over.

I called my cousin to share my idea and asked he could see Eric and Donald at war. “Tell him send Ivanka, too, while he’s at it,” he said with a laugh.

D. Watkins is an Editor at Large for Salon. He is also a professor at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project. Watkins is the author of the New York Times best-sellers “The Beast Side: Living  (and Dying) While Black in America” and "The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir."

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