Yesterday, on my post Rattlesnakes and Kings Trevor Nagle made a comment that brought something out that we should talk about some, because it is important. Here is his comment.
November 4, 2013 at 11:06 am
This isn’t an Obama thing at all, rather a several decades move to reduce the individualism expressed by servicemembers on their uniforms. In fact, we saw this under Bush Sr. in the move to prohibit unit and squadron deployment-specific patches on flight suits and flight jackets. We saw it in 2000 with the prohibition of multicolored t-shirts allowed under flightsuits. The effort is not POTUS-specific, but the continual ebb and tide between allowing individualism and insisting on uniformity. As an aircrewman, I resented the changes we saw under Bush Sr. and Clinton, but it really wasn’t ever about the Man in the Office, so much as senior leadership reacting to situations that could be (errantly, in my opinion) chalked up to as attitudinal displays of individualism in the military. And in hindsight, it never really was that big of a deal….and neither, I’d argue, is this.
A couple of things here, I like Trevor, and I respect his teaching on leadership a lot. His blog is a wonderful source of information.
Also, I looked at this story for a while before I decided to write about it for exactly the reason he said. I chose to go with it in part because it gave me a vehicle to talk about some American history that we don’t talk about all that much, and to tie it into the present day.
That said, I think part of our trouble, maybe a large part, is that we immediately assume the worst of our opponents lately. That’s true on the left, and it’s becoming more and more true on the right as well.
We seem to be starting on the path of demonizing each other, and while I try not to do that, I do it some too. Part of the reason, is that I just plain get tired of listening to the abuse directed my way, and decide to throw some back. I’d like to say I’m going to quit, but I’m probably not, at least not always. And that’s a sad thing.
Part of the reason America has worked in the past is that we have always assumed that while the other guys may have been stupid, or misguided, greedy, or many other things; almost never have we questioned his patriotism. Now we are starting to do that, I understand it, because in some cases, I do too. But it is a very bad thing if untrue, and worse if true.
In this particular case, I suspect Trevor is correct. As he says at some times our military has encouraged (or tolerated) a lot of individualism, witness the nose art from the aircraft in World War II, at other time it has projected a uniformly (pun intended) drab image. It’s sort of a fashion in the military that comes and goes. It matters and can lead to resentment but it’s not earthshaking and even the guys involved know it.
We are in this country dealing with very important things, which include the proper sphere of the government. In some ways we are very like the generation that crafted the Constitution. We may well be deciding the course of our country for somewhere between the next generation and the next century. It behooves us to think rationally, not to mention long, hard, and objectively about these matters. These are issues, and this includes Obamacare, that will fundamentally affect how America looks and performs far into the future.
We need to try to not be distracted by trifles, like whether the SEALs wear a patch with the Navy Jack, or their unit crest or whatever. It’s not a mission critical thing for them, let alone a strategic issue for us as the United States.
We need to keep our heads clear and our eyes open, and live up to the vision our founders had of a free, happy people who could prosper, in this vast and bounteous land.
Now that we have that straight:
Back to the battle.