Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This Year We Choose the Best of the Least

People who ‘rise to the occasion’ are generally no different than the people from whom they emerge. If the people are focused on good character, sound leadership, selfless service, a sense of personal responsibility for the good of the nation, an understanding of good and responsible nationalistic spirit, then those who are chosen to represent them will display these qualities.

However, what we have seen happen far too often are men who are missing an innate understanding of what should be moral eligibility for the positions they seek. I for one am astounded that anyone could not feel inadequate or disqualified for federal political office having not served, in some capacity, in the Armed Forces of this nation. What kind of arrogance is it that allows a man to consider himself – or herself eligible for a position of service that bears the authority to send others to their deaths having first exempted themselves from that heavy responsibility when it was their time?

While the US Constitution does not require Military service as a prerequisite for holding the position of President of the United States, the voter certainly can demand it simply by refusing to consider men who don’t have this essential experience in their resume. This irresponsible voter oversight creates an opportunity for the kind of degenerate decisions that continue to endanger better men on the battlefield. It is this kind of selfish, self-centered, sociopathic vision that allows unqualified men to rise to the highest levels of authority in this country. And make no mistake, ‘we the people’ have not only ignored this missing qualifier in too many of our candidates, we have encouraged people who should have disqualified themselves to run in the first place.  

This is not a complicated issue it is in fact a stance that we all take every, single, day. As business owners, we regularly fire people who do not display a minimum of talent or the character necessary for the jobs we offer. Truly successful corporations typically hire men for leadership positions who have an innate understanding of the industry they will be leaders in. Even Churches glean resumes, interview candidates and listen to the sermons given by men who apply for positions as Pastors of Congregations. Law Enforcement personnel suffer a gauntlet of interviews, academy training and lengthy probationary periods before being put on the permanent rolls. We all spend a significant amount of time with contractors, service personnel, mechanics and babysitters before hiring someone to perform any one of their services in our homes or on our equipment. And yet the process of choosing someone for the position of President of the United States is run more like a popularity contest than a period of deeply considerate vetting.

How else do we wind up with one man whose entire personal experience is summed up by college and a position as a community organizer on the one hand while on the other, a business man who never grew anything, built anything or created any substantive thing. And I know, in some cases both of their efforts probably allowed for the creation of some jobs but their efforts certainly contributed more to personal aggrandizement and personal wealth than the former. In any case, that nagging, desire to serve others with your very life seems to have been lacking in both – at least as it pertained to military service. President Obama simply chose not to serve while Mitt Romney sought a deferment for school. Please keep in mind that this is no small matter for as President of the United States because they hold the authority to press others into service and harm’s way even through selective service if necessary.

The last election cycle reaped a man with no military experience and personal prejudices for a specific religious institution. The men whom he has appointed to positions of authority within the DOD and military circles have shared his historically incorrect and skewed view of this religion and it’s worshippers. Our Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Coastguardsmen continue to bear the devastating consequences of that election, the appointees and the strategy they chose. Their price is measured in thousands of deaths, tens of thousands of life altering injuries and a prohibition to hold the enemy accountable on the battlefield.

The greatest sin however is that this country squandered the greatest gift that can be bestowed upon man for if the 1% of this generation can truly be said to be gifted by God, called by God to selflessly serve their country in the uniformed forces of this nation then it can also be said that those in whose hands they placed their lives and their gifts, betrayed them. They betrayed them by dangling the aura of pure service in the fires of combat in front of their faces and exchanged it for senseless death and mutilation void of a righteous fight with the enemy or even righteous retribution. By denying the Warrior ‘his day’ they have emboldened the enemy, moved the Afghan population toward the Taliban, made this country less secure as a result and mystified the thinkers in this nation!

Short of Divine intervention, our last hope is for a last minute, life altering personal epiphany on the part of at least one of these candidates. However, if these two men truly represent the heart of this nation a policy changing personal epiphany is unlikely. Their ‘epiphany’ would have to be inspired by the heart of the people from whom they come and there is little evidence that a plurality of the electorate understands either the significance of their responsibility or the effect it will have on those who are compelled to function within the constraints of COIN fantasy.

An additional cost that is more difficult to measure is the loss of respect for all current leadership in this country. Even if the White House can be blamed for its vision and it’s appointments, and Congress for its lack of oversight, the ultimate blame for the devastating decisions on the battlefield lays at the feet of the General Grade Officers who bear the final responsibility to decry what they know to be wrong.

I am reminded of one of the tenets of good counseling and that is to never leave a counseling session without an uplifting note or a piece of sage advice; while the outcome of this election is likely sealed, the responsibility of the electorate is not. We face election cycles every 2, 4 and 6 years nationally and more at local levels. As long as we are American citizens and as long as the US Constitution remains a viable cornerstone of jurisprudence and a declaration of personal freedom, we will have elections. And as long as we have elections, we have a responsibility to choose from among us the best to represent our interests rather than the least of the bad.

Now is the time to become educated on all of those issues that affect us as a nation, as individuals and most certainly those among us who have chosen to place their lives and their posterity in the hands of those we will elect to the highest positions of authority in the land. It is time for the uneducated, the insufferable idealists, the pessimists and the optimists to lay aside their uneducated opinions, their personal prejudices and that bowl of cherry blossoms.

It is time to become a responsible citizen who recognizes they hold the lives of Warriors in their hands at the polling booth!