Providing for the Common Defense

February 5, 2010 | NeW Staff

As I blogged about earlier in the week, the University of Kentucky hosted a 33 Minutes Screening here in Lexington on Thursday. Dr. James Jay Carafano was able to join us from The Heritage Foundation to provide commentary and answer questions. We had a great turn out- it was the first time I have seen College Republicans, The Federalist Society, NeW, and Kentucky GOP members together all in the same room. What a great networking and learning experience!

While I have seen 33 Minutes in the past, I am amazed every single time I watch the documentary. Amazed at how little the United States actually spends on missile defense (4% of our GDP), how little Americans know about missile defense (didn’t we take care of this a long time ago?), and how important it is for Americans to become more informed about the reality of our lackluster capabilities for defending ourselves from a ballistic missile.

As a mass communication instructor, I have the privilege of teaching my communication 249 class about several of the most prominent mass communication theories. McCombs and Shaw (1972) discuss the ability of the media to set our agenda so to speak with their “agenda-setting theory.” In many ways the media doesn’t necessarily tell us what to think, but what to think about. I think this theory is still relevant, and now that I have drawn your attention to this idea I bet you will take notice of it when you turn on the news at some point today. The media is discussing health care, Scott Brown, the economy, maybe what President Obama is doing this weekend. I assure you, however, most local and national news will not be discussing the problems associated with our national security. 

It’s up to you to seek out and utilize information about our missile defense systems. Whether you think it’s irrelevant in current times, thought we already had the means to accomplish ballistic missile defense, or have no idea what I am talking about I strongly encourage you to become more informed on the issue. Visit The Heritage Foundation’s website, or even start searching online news for current events concerning missile defense systems. Even the Obama administration isn’t denying they may be useful in the future, especially as President Obama’s attempts of unsuccessful diplomatic outreach to Iran continue to pile up. 

I think the United States should prepare itself for any number of possible threats. As someone who grew up in the beltway when 9/11, anthrax, and the beltway sniper happened, I think I have come to expect the unexpected.  We may have a completely different crisis to deal with in the next to 5 to 10 years, but I don’t think that justifies abandoning and under funding missile defense. What do you know about missile defense, and where do you stand? 
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