By Chinedu Ezeocha for Ezeocha PostOriginally Published on Saturday September 20, 2014 at 00:45 AM CT
TIMES Magazine reported two days ago that henceforth the United States Air Force (USAF) have promulgated a new policy saying that airmen trying to join USAF will no longer be required to say “So help me God” during their oath-taking ceremony.
This was in reaction to the threat of a lawsuit last week against the USAF by an airman that was trying to re-enlist into the service but was prohibited from doing so until he uttered the phrase “So help me God” during his oath-taking ceremony. Which he chose not to do.
For analysis sake, the prospective airman has previously served in the Air Force. He was trying to re-enlist. So he know the initiation rituals and code of conduct at the USAF. I beg to assume therefore that he enjoyed his service years in the Air Force and that was why he wanted back. You never try to go back to a job you never liked or enjoyed.
Now if an individual is trying to join an organization, that organization makes known to him both the rituals of initiation into the organization and the expected code of conduct he is to abide by once he is initiated into the organization. If the rules appeal to his sense of purpose, Good. And that will be a good marriage of convenience. If not, well, he will not be the first to discontinue a pursuit to join an organization he likes but whose ethos he believes he cannot completely abide by. I know some good men who wanted to be freemasons but had problems with their initiation rituals once they were made aware of it. They just walked away.
You do not indicate interest to join an organization and once they present to you the qualifications you need to meet in order to become a member and because you do not like the rules, you threaten to sue them if they do not bend their rules to suit you. That, my friends, as the English put it, is bollocks.
And that the USAF rushed to change century-long rite because somebody threatened to sue them, in itself embodies a sinister phenomenon eating away on the fabric of America. America has lost its conscience. No organization has a soul anymore. There are no more set of rules or values that guide people’s conduct in an organization. Courage has taken flight at most places, both in the public and private sectors of the society especially where such are most needed. The threat of a lawsuit and the apprehension of tirades from morning talk shows have made decision-makers at several aspects of the American polity running around clueless as to what they and their organization really stand for. There are no more original well-thought out policies that guides organizations. Only reactionary policies borne out of pressure from TV shows. And that, my friends, is a regrettable thing.
Last July, Steve A. Smith, a sports analyst at ESPN, in reaction to report of domestic violence by Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens did not in any way endorse Ray Rice’s action. He condemned it. But to be objective in his analysis as an analyst, he also opined, rightfully so, that sometimes women provoke violence against themselves. He didn’t say that the reaction women get from all these men who lay hands on them are always proportionate to whatever they did to provoke the reaction. He just stated the obvious. Women some of the times provoke violence at home against themselves. Period. And whoever denies that fact is as complicit in this conversation as whoever endorses domestic violence. Steve A. Smith was right in his analysis but as usual, the wave of liberalism, which is sweeping through America, and which in its nature does not tolerate objective debate, but like a whirlwind, sweeps off every person of moral conviction that challenges it, came to play. And pressures from morning television talk shows – imposters and charlatans (forgive the tautology) – came down on ESPN. And like USAF and the White House, ESPN caved to pressure. Steve was forced to apologize and make a fool of himself on TV after which he was still suspended. For stating the obvious.
Nobody stands for anything any longer. The fear of losing primetime television spot. The fear of losing a job. The fear of losing money if some fans chooses not to buy season tickets. The fear of a lawsuit “which can be a distraction.” The fear of a backlash to the first African-American president who rightly called out a Cambridge, Massachusetts police officer for acting stupidly! Courage has taken flight. And fear rules.
The Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank based in Washington D.C. Before President Obama even declared his intentions to run for the highest office of the land, the Heritage Foundation was already advocating for universal healthcare system that is similar to what Hillary Clinton pushed for when she was the First Lady. By the way the kind of healthcare reform the Heritage Foundation was proposing was more liberal in its prescriptions than the healthcare law we have come to know as Obamacare. Would you believe that? Then Barack Obama entered the Oval Office and conservatives hate him. Consequently every policy issue that conservatives had previously championed and rightly so for the good of the country, once the president signs up for it, they do everything in their power to resist its advancement. Key & Peele couldn’t have demonstrated this better in their sketch. How do I articulate this? “Yes, we know your ideas are good for the country but we rather deny the people a shot at a better life and let the country suffer retrogression because we do not like you and do not want you to have a legacy to brag about after you leave office!” And that is putting it mildly. For conservatives who claim to be custodian of The Constitution, I wonder why they miss the part in the Preamble that says “In order to form a more perfect Union…… we need to promote the general Welfare.”
Typically when an advocacy group senses an assured partnership from the Oval Office for the advancement of any of their programs for the country, they put their resources to work to complement the Bully Pulpit in order to educate the country on the worthiness of their cause. But with Obama’s ascent to power, both conservatives and the Republican Party turned their back on both their own noble ideas and on the country they profess to love and rather amassed their resources in his first term to resist every progressive policies and programs of his to eventually make him a one-term president. And when that effort failed, they now turn to battling every legislative agenda of his to make him both unpopular with the American people, and to negate the gains he made in his first term in office. So much for real Americans.
The Senate has passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill. John Boehner and his House Republicans will not act on it. The president has sent a job bill to Congress. John Boehner will have nothing to do with it. And even though Obamacare was their brainchild and good for the country, albeit poorly executed by the Obama Administration, John Boehner has refused to re-evaluate the law and make it work better for the American people. And you wonder: who loves America better? The President who is trying to do something for the country, or the people who rather than meet him halfway, are resisting every attempt of his.
John Boehner stands at the precipice of history. Will he have the courage to dare his rebellious caucus and do right by the American people by meeting Barack Obama halfway or for the fear of losing his speakership, will he play to the fringe and let a moment in history pass him by? It is important to point out that Lyndon Baines Johnson was in worse situation than John Boehner presently is because a). Johnson was from the South; b). Southern Democrats from his own party opposed him signing the Civil Rights Act into law, and c). Johnson also faced the prospect of a second term defeat. A man of courage Lyndon Baines Johnson was. He rose above the fray and did right by America. Books are still being written on him today.
The Constitution separates the church and the state and gives individuals the freedom of religion. Which means the individual can choose any god he or she wishes to worship and can also choose not to pray to any. However, you cannot elect to join a Catholic college and when you are required to say our Lord’s Prayer, you start quoting constitutional rights. C’mon it’s a religious institution. And you have a foreknowledge of what is expected of you.
So for a prospective airman threatening a lawsuit against an organization that he is not yet a member is preposterous in itself because he haven’t even taken his oath. And without an oath, you are no airman, buddy. And as a former airman who have already passed through similar rite of passage earlier in his career life with this same Air Force and had no qualms with the ritual, for him to now turn around and start screaming religious rights smacks of nothing but a cheap ploy to defraud the government and call attention to self.
Meanwhile the USAF, I assume changed their policy of airmen signing off with “So help me God” during oath-taking ceremony because they may have thought it is nothing significant. It is cheaper to do than going through the legal rigors of a lawsuit. Yeah it takes more courage to resist the devil than to give in to him. Giving in has always been easier. But they are wrong. In the past and in the present, threat of lawsuits and lawsuits itself have forced the removal of plaques of the Ten Commandments from public schools across the country. Some are already gearing up for lawsuits to strike out “IN GOD WE TRUST” from dollar bills. The more we cower to these whirlwind of liberalism, the more they demand of our ethos and traditions as a people. If we do not muster the courage to stand up now for the principles that made us who we are as a nation and keep giving in to these corrosion of our values, someday they will demand from us what we cannot give up – our freedom – and by then it will be too late to do anything to defend ourselves because by then they must have amassed enough power and resources to crush us. How democracy will bring about the antichrist. The curse of democracy.
To be objective in one’s analysis of events, it is important to listen to all sides of the story. So I watch Fox News. And Fox News is a racist television. Period. But I admire them for one thing. They make no facade of what they stand for. Racism. No matter how much reasonable people like Jon Stewart ridicules the likes of Bill O’ Reilly, Sean Hannity and the herds at Fox News, they remain unapologetic and stuck in their brand of journalism. But that is courage. Courage misapplied.
But think about it for a minute: if John Boehner and his disciples in Congress will (I chose ‘will’ because they can) develop such a thick skin as the folks at Fox News and resist every special interest they are currently working for and pledge their allegiance to the flag and for the remainder of their terms in office work for ‘we the people.’ Now imagine how much progress this great nation will make in terms of growing the economy, creating new jobs, building 21st century infrastructure, having a comprehensive immigration law, and a tax code that works for all. Can you imagine that? Wouldn’t that be America the Beautiful redux?
Let the debate continue…
One thought on “When Courage Takes Flight”
We lack statesmen in contemporary America. Only politicians who represent the interests in businesses who put them there and not the people anymore. So sad but so true.