Do Not Meet With Mike Pence, Go to Jail, or Join the Military, by David Swanson

Don't Enlist - Resist

Image by Mario Klingemann via Flickr

by David Swanson
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Let’s Try Democracy
May 12, 2020

We don’t know what the long-term damage is of coronavirus in those who recover. We don’t know who will die among those who catch it. We do know that we each have a responsibility to avoid catching it and avoid spreading it. Here are some ways to do that.

1) If you can’t relocate to a well-run country, do get booked for a meeting with Donald Trump or Mike Pence, so that you qualify to be tested; but don’t actually go to such a meeting because,

a) The White House is a hotbed.
b) The reckless attendees won’t be careful.
c) You’d be meeting with Donald Trump or Mike Pence.

2) Do not go to jail. Avoid it at all costs. The place is likely to be a hotbed with cramped quarters and non-existent basic rights — almost like an aircraft carrier (and I do mean carrier) or a military base, only with nicer guards.

3) Do not join the U.S. military. The place is rotten with coronavirus and you can’t get away from it. And if you disobey orders trying to get away from it, you can be sent to jail. (See #2 above.)

Now, here’s a bit of good news. Most people who join the U.S. military do so through the Delayed Entry Program. If that’s you, and you haven’t yet started your so-called service, there’s a very simple way to change your mind: just don’t show up. That’s all you have to do. You don’t risk jail. You don’t risk catching a deadly disease. You don’t risk a parking ticket. You don’t risk an unpleasant comment on social media. Nothing. What you’re supposed to do if you don’t want to show up for your first day in the supposedly volunteer military is not show up. That’s how you unvolunteer, something you can no longer do after first showing up.

Want some more good news? You may have just saved yourself and the rest of us a world of trouble. Participation in the military isn’t actually a real service involving real heroism. On the contrary, it endangers us, through immoral actions that produce moral regret and increase suicide, mass shootings, drug use, and unemployment. Military participation threatens our natural environment, erodes our liberties, impoverishes us, and promotes bigotry (the thrill of which is never lasting or satisfying).

Consider the myths that we’re taught about war and peace, and how false they are. Read this: “I Never Expected To Become A Conscientious Objector.” Consider alternative and more effective ways of creating safety. Military recruitment ads needed health warnings long before this pandemic hit:

David Swanson on Jun 18, 2010

This is a parody and not a real U.S. Army ad. You can tell by the honesty.

There are millions of ways to actually be heroic, to sacrifice for an actually good cause, to provide an actual service. People need food and healthcare and transportation and childcare and job protection.

I wish I could offer a huge number of jobs. I know they are hard to find. I know it is not particularly helpful to warn you away from a job without offering you a different one. But I also know many people who deeply regret joining the military and who believe the best advice out there is this: make joining the military what the military has never ever made starting a war, namely an actual last resort.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson’s books include Curing Exceptionalism: What’s wrong with how we think about the United States? What can we do about it? (2018) and War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Support David’s work.

From the archives:

Chris Hedges and Matthew Hoh: The High Rate of Suicide Among Veterans

David Swanson: Free Ourselves From the Virus of War

Michael Hudson: US Coronavirus Bailout Scam is $6 Trillion Giveaway to Wall Street + How The US Makes Countries Pay For Its Wars: Economics of American Imperialism

HR 6415: The Dumbest Idea in Congress + Now Do You See How Evil They Are? by David Swanson

Abby Martin: US Empire Exploits COVID-19 For More War

Sick and Sadistic: World Fights COVID-19 Amid U.S. Sanctions, by Finian Cunningham

U.S. Army: 0 — Internet: 1 by David Swanson

Don’t Enlist, But Don’t Just Take My Word For It by Lo (repost)

Don’t Enlist, But Don’t Just Take My Word For It by Lo

2 thoughts on “Do Not Meet With Mike Pence, Go to Jail, or Join the Military, by David Swanson

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