"....If you leave here with the word DUTY implanted
in your mind; if you leave here with the word HONOR carved in your
soul; if you leave here with love of COUNTRY stamped on your heart,
then you will be a twenty-first century leader worthy...of the great privilege
and honor...of leading...the sons and daughters of America..." -
General H. Norman Schwarzkopf to
Corps of Cadets on May 15, 1991
military knows and exudes an air of confidence and competence. Even
with the occasional reported failings of command or individual
service members, our military has for twenty years remained the most
highly regarded institution in America according to Gallup polling.
And, no matter what one's politics, it is generally agreed; they
execute their mission with an unparalleled professionalism and are
recognized for their hallmark attitude of honorable service.
The truth is,
they do their duty irrespective of the partisan politics,
philosophical predilections of foreign policy mavens or profit
motives of the military contractors who produce their weapons and
supplies. Their motivations are for the nation, the families they
have left behind, and their hopes yet to be fulfilled; but even more
so for the fellow-soldier with whom they stand shoulder to shoulder.
They go where ordered, when ordered, whether to execute righteous
relief efforts or failed foreign policy fiascoes.
An example of
this service commitment can be found in Navy Seals Glen Doherty and
Ty Woods who were killed when the American diplomatic mission in
Benghazi, Libya came under attack on September 11, 2012. Though
ordered to stand down and allow our ambassador and embassy personnel
in Benghazi to fend for themselves, these warriors decided to
forward - to protect, defend, and rescue fellow Americans. Putting
their own lives at risk, they disobeyed orders and attempted the
rescue of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and Foreign Service Officer
Sean Smith. Duty and honor demanded it; country came first.
their fight defending other Americans until they lost their own
lives. They did their duty most honorably. They died in the service
to their country and those who served on the "front lines"
with them. They fulfilled their oath, never knowing that their heads
of state who were ultimately responsible for their mission never took
their "3:00 AM phone call" for support or rescue.
American men and women have lost their lives, sacrificed their health
and their bodies, and suffered physically visible and invisible
scars, honorably carrying out their duty to their country. They have
done this for over 12 years in Afghanistan, Iraq and other hellholes
around the world fighting the war on terror; fighting for a nation
whose political leaders seem irresolute and unconvinced of the need
to resolve these conflicts and to fulfill their duties to our
military and our citizens.
considering the high standards of our military and its commitment to
duty, honor, and country, the quality of our political leadership is
all the more disheartening to say the least. Each party points the
finger at the "other guy". But, truth be told, there is
plenty of blame to go around.
supposedly passes as political leadership on the Right side of the
aisle, Conservatism seems to be offering no answers just a loud shout
of "No!" Republicans are unable to get their house in
order. They seem more intent on fighting a civil war than in offering
well reasoned and articulated alternatives to the economic, social
and medical concerns of a nation staggering through war and economic
In a confluence
of incompetent political opposition, bad strategy, and horrible
timing Republicans put aside the call to Duty, Honor, Country and
sought to burn their own house. Fortunately for them, in the midst of
forming their "circular" firing squad, the Left fumbled and
the nation suddenly shifted its attention and focused on the Democrats'
problem - the failed beginnings of the Affordable Care Act
Since 2008 our
President told us - in 36 separate broadcast speeches that - if you
like your insurance plan, you can keep your plan and if you like your
doctor, you can keep your doctor. Elections were won on the basis of
the reliability of those repeated statements as fact.
Now the public
finds out that the rollout of the website is just the latest in a
string of missteps, miscalculations, improper, inopportune and
illegal manipulations of the legislative process. It can prove rather
disconcerting, if not outright enraging to realize you've been
repeatedly and deliberately misled.
President and their Capitol Hill leadership on down to the local
spokesperson, Democrats have been trapped by their campaign rhetoric.
The Affordable Care Act suddenly proved anything but affordable. A
President who entered office with so much hope, proclaiming to lead
the nation to a promised land of reconciliation and reclamation of
the American dream for all Americans - instead has returned to the
usual politics of division and derision.
But, he didn't
ride this horse into town alone. His Republican counterparts have
given him and his fellow Democrats ample targets about which to
deride them! Where is the duty, honor, and service to country that
these political positions demand?
taxpayers are being left behind by the political gamesmanship played
by both parties. National problems remain unaddressed. However, at
the same time, campaign contributors, business cronies, special
interests and insiders continue to prosper. Unfortunately, that's
what we are becoming used to from our national capital.
The transfer of
wealth from the American tax payers around the nation to the
lobbying, governing, bureaucratic and chattering, classes of
Washington has grown at an unprecedented rate. While the nation is
roiled by economic distress and downturn, six of the 10 most
prosperous counties in America are located immediately adjacent to
the national capital.
in Washington are on the upswing. Salaries in Washington are on the
upswing. Employment in Washington metro area is on the upswing.
Rush-hour traffic is increasingly more snarled. How does your area
compare to this?
Tom Van Riper,
wrote of the DC boomtown economy in Forbes Magazine:
economy may still be struggling to break out in much of the country,
but not in Washington, where local federal spending has doubled over
the past decade, boosting federal agency employment and contract
spending. Lawyers and lobbyists have rolled in from anywhere and
everywhere. The local unemployment rate of 5.5% lies well below the
national average. It's also where median household income levels are
the highest in the country.
For the second
consecutive year, Loudoun County, Va., a 520-square-mile suburban
mass that sits 46 miles from the White House, weighs in as America's
richest county. . . .The neighboring counties of Falls Church City,
Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William in Virginia and Howard County
in Maryland all make the cut, giving the D.C. area six of the
nation's ten wealthiest counties. All boast median household incomes
between $93,000 and $117,000 annually." (America's Richest
Counties, Forbes Magazine April 2013)
As most of the
nation continues to suffer economically, the DC gang moves along at
an unbounded pace that has never been seen in American history. The
amount of taxes sucked up by the insatiable desire to spend in
Washington has never been greater. And if our political leaders have
any idea of the military code of Duty, Honor, Country, their
behavior would best fit this, admittedly, cynical and inverted
- Duty to self!
- Honor ourselves
- Country, after I get mine!
ago, George Orwell wrote, "We sleep safely in our beds because
rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who
would harm us." He spoke of military men and women who uphold a
noble code - Duty, Honor, Country. To this they always remain
faithful. They ever remain true.
If only the same
were true of our civilian leadership who, too often, employ their
intellect and energies to further their own political interests and
enrich themselves. The public having lost almost all confidence in -
both Republicans and Democrats - must demand that they return the
political arena to a place of honor, where duty is cherished and the
country is served.
We too must join
in this cause. We don't face a pledge of our life or fortune as the
Founding Fathers did when signing the Declaration of Independence.
But what if we consider that last concept in the Declaration - Sacred
Honor? When did we quit demanding Honor of our elected officials?
When did we quit demanding it of ourselves?
Most parents try
to rear their children in such a way that they will be a noble
success throughout their life. This principle is rooted in the
Scripture: "Train up a child in the way he should go,and when he
is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 (RSV)
us return again to the honor and integrity with which we were brought
up. As citizens let us join our soldiers and set ourselves to the
rough duty of defending our nation's character. Let's first demand of
ourselves the integrity that we want, and then insist it be displayed
by those who offer themselves to be our political leadership, no
matter which political party they belong to. For, these qualities,
duty, honor, service to country, are not just for the left or right -
they are the sacred obligation of us all.
Change does not
come easy but it is necessary. We can and indeed must change America,
one heart at a time, one character, one life, one vote. It will
require our time; some of our money and most definitely some hard
work. But, surely it's worth it.
For in the end, we will truly have returned to One
nation under God - for our time and our children's.