March 16, 2008
Lt. Col. Allen West and Michelle ObamaBy James Lewis
I just sent my first political contribution to the Congressional campaign of former Army Lt. Colonel Allan West, who is running on the "R" ticket in Florida House District 22 --- that's in Broward County. Colonel West is a man who has proved himself, not just in the rigors of combat, not just in leadership, not just in the technical craft of military tactics and strategy, but in the most difficult life-and-death dilemma a human being can face. He made an agonizing moral decision to save his men from a likely ambush. To do so, he shot off a pistol next to the head of a suspect, forcing him to confess vital lifesaving intelligence. Col. West didn't do that to punish the man, but to save lives. It worked.
When Col. West reported his own actions to superiors, he must have known that his decision would cost him his military career. He might have ended up in prison for years. He knew it would lead to months and months of personal agony. But he made the right decision in the face of a life-and-death moral dilemma.
I think I know what kind of a human being Colonel West must be, and I'm deeply pleased to support him. We need many more like him in the US Congress, because he is an adult who can make a moral decision under immense pressure. Far too many of our politicians just slip around real moral decisions; those are the people we don't need as leaders.
Consider the contrast with other people in the news.
Michelle Obama, the wife of the Senator, is a bright and talented woman. Perhaps she was unlucky to go to Princeton University and Harvard Law School, because she has now become deeply cynical about this country. That's not surprising, because our top universities teach their students to be cynical. They think it's terribly, terribly sophisticated. All their friends are cynical. Worse than that, they think their cynicism is true.
So Mrs. Obama can say things like ""for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country." She means it. She believes it. But she utterly lacks a mature perspective on that question.
Here's what a Staff Sergeant who served with Colonel West has to say.
SSG Josh Turner
Nov 29, 2007 SIR, YOU MAY NOT REMEMBER ME, MY NAME IS JOSHUA TURNER. I WAS IN 2/20 WHEN YOU WERE IN COMMAND AND DEPLOYED WITH YOU IN 2003. I WAS A SPC AT THE TIME, I JUST WANTED TO SAY THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DID IN IRAQ TO SECURE THE SAFETY FOR US AND TO STAND UP FOR US SOLDIERS. SIR, I DON'T KNOW WHAT ELSE I CAN SAY TO RELAY THE DEEP FEELING OF GRATITUDE I HAVE FOR YOU AND YOUR ACTIONS. I HOLD YOU EXTREMELY HIGH IN REGARDS TO ALL THE COMMANDERS THAT I HAVE SERVED WITH. SIR, YOU ARE WITHOUT A DOUBT THE MOST REALISTIC, DOWN TO EARTH, CARING, PASSIONATE COMMANDER THAT I HAVE EVER HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SERVE WITH. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR THE SACRIFICE THAT YOU MADE FOR US. SSG TURNER, JOSH "YOU DO NOT NEED TO EXCERT FORCE TO SHOW POWER"
What's the difference between these individuals? Age, education, income, race? My guess is that it comes down to the culture of victimization versus the culture of earned pride. Mrs. Obama's high-priced education has persuaded her that she is a victim; or if she personally happened to luck out, she has been told that millions of others are helpless victims. They cannot be trusted to survive as self-sufficient adults.
Well, victimization is a self-fulfilling prophecy. So is honest pride and self-confidence. (This is not news to anybody but our professors on the Left.)
For some mad reason our best universities now teach self-victimization, especially to Blacks and minorities. They thereby handicap and undermine the very people they claim to help. It's bizarre beyond belief, but not for our perverse Left. Fortunately some of our institutions, like our military, still inculcate pride based on real achievements. The colonel didn't get his chestful of ribbons for being a victim.
It's the Hurricane Katrina story all over again, pitting New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin against United States Army Lt. General Russell Honoré. Mayor Nagin panicked when Katrina hit, and thousands of his constituents ended up miserably stuck in the flood, waiting for somebody to help them. In General Honoré 's immortal phrase, City Hall was "stuck on stupid," along with the rest of the political class.
"Don't Be Stuck on Stupid" is a phrase that should be emblazoned in every single schoolroom in the country. Forget giving out gold stars for self-esteem. Just tell our kids not to get stuck on stupid. To drown in the culture of victimization in the land of opportunity is really being stuck on stupid. It is teaching people how to starve in the midst of plenty.
Electing Lt. Col. Alan West to Congress sounds like a good way to start getting our political class off being stuck on stupid. When he gets to Washington, D.C., he may have find new depths of toleration and patience with the idiocies of the political system. But the more people like him we can send to Congress, the healthier we will be as a country.
My big question is, how do we get General Honoré to run for office?
Oh yes, and all four of these folks are African Americans: Col. West, General Honoré, Mrs. Obama and Mayor Ray Nagin.
So what? Victimhood and earned pride are human universals.
James Lewis blogs at dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/