It's not about you, Madam Speaker

For those of you who have never served your country in the military, let me tell you one of the first lessons you learn: it's not about you.  Regardless of the person who wears the rank, you respect the rank.  It's what makes your company, your platoon, your squad, your team function regardless of the personality or personalities behind the rank.

Early in my military career, I had the good fortune of serving in a company with a big 6'4" first sergeant who had served in Vietnam.  He exuded leadership and compassion for those in his charge.  He was confident without being arrogant, and he was compassionate without being weak.  Those who had the privilege to serve under his leadership felt honored and inspired to give him their best.  He was more of a coach and a father figure than an infantry first sergeant, and you never wanted to disappoint him.  He knew who he was as a man and a leader.  His men would have followed him with or without his rank.

It came as a great disappointment and shock when he transferred out of our unit.  He had received orders to the Sergeants Major Academy, and though no one was surprised that he had been selected, we were all sad to see him go.  Our new company first sergeant was a man small in stature and in character.  Everything he did, from riding a Harley to bragging about himself at every turn, was to compensate for the inadequacies he so obviously felt.

He would stand in front of our company formation on the coldest days in Germany and talk and talk and talk.  It didn't matter to him that his men were tired and freezing.  He had a captive audience, and he was going to make sure that he milked his time on stage down to the last agonizing minute.  As the snow blew sideways into our ears, he regaled us with stories of his great accomplishments and heroic feats.  It was obvious to everyone in the formation that he was nothing but an empty cloud and a hollow poser, but we stood there, shivering dutifully, and listened because regardless of the man, we respected the rank.  We respected the office he held.  We were trained to do so, and it was vital for the proper functioning of an infantry unit in times of war and peace.

It is obvious that Nancy Pelosi has never served her country in the military.  In fact, she's lived her entire life enriching herself and placating her fragile and expansive ego at the expense of the American people.  She has no concept of what duty and honor mean, and she proved that when she ripped up the president's speech over his shoulder and in the face of the American people.  I can assure you that, seated on her perch up behind the president and overlooking the gallery, she suffered far less having to listen to the State of the Union speech than my fellow infantrymen did standing in a German snowstorm listening to a vapid little man talk about himself.  The vapidity in our braggadocious first sergeant is shared with our nation's speaker of the House.

Regardless of who occupies the presidency, and regardless of the animosity you may feel toward the occupant, you respect the office.  You respect it for your country, and you respect it for your fellow citizens.  It's what makes a country function in seasons of ease and hardship.  You swallow your petty pride, you get over your petulant self, and you respect the office.  That's what professionals do, and that's what those whom you have the privilege of serving expect you to do.

Speaking for myself and many of my fellow citizens, we are praying for Nancy Pelosi, too, as she has told us, with feigned sincerity, that she prays for our president.  To quote a line from one of my favorite movies, Gladiator, we are praying most fervently that "the time for honoring yourself will soon be at an end...highness."  It's not about you Nancy, and it never has been.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

For those of you who have never served your country in the military, let me tell you one of the first lessons you learn: it's not about you.  Regardless of the person who wears the rank, you respect the rank.  It's what makes your company, your platoon, your squad, your team function regardless of the personality or personalities behind the rank.

Early in my military career, I had the good fortune of serving in a company with a big 6'4" first sergeant who had served in Vietnam.  He exuded leadership and compassion for those in his charge.  He was confident without being arrogant, and he was compassionate without being weak.  Those who had the privilege to serve under his leadership felt honored and inspired to give him their best.  He was more of a coach and a father figure than an infantry first sergeant, and you never wanted to disappoint him.  He knew who he was as a man and a leader.  His men would have followed him with or without his rank.

It came as a great disappointment and shock when he transferred out of our unit.  He had received orders to the Sergeants Major Academy, and though no one was surprised that he had been selected, we were all sad to see him go.  Our new company first sergeant was a man small in stature and in character.  Everything he did, from riding a Harley to bragging about himself at every turn, was to compensate for the inadequacies he so obviously felt.

He would stand in front of our company formation on the coldest days in Germany and talk and talk and talk.  It didn't matter to him that his men were tired and freezing.  He had a captive audience, and he was going to make sure that he milked his time on stage down to the last agonizing minute.  As the snow blew sideways into our ears, he regaled us with stories of his great accomplishments and heroic feats.  It was obvious to everyone in the formation that he was nothing but an empty cloud and a hollow poser, but we stood there, shivering dutifully, and listened because regardless of the man, we respected the rank.  We respected the office he held.  We were trained to do so, and it was vital for the proper functioning of an infantry unit in times of war and peace.

It is obvious that Nancy Pelosi has never served her country in the military.  In fact, she's lived her entire life enriching herself and placating her fragile and expansive ego at the expense of the American people.  She has no concept of what duty and honor mean, and she proved that when she ripped up the president's speech over his shoulder and in the face of the American people.  I can assure you that, seated on her perch up behind the president and overlooking the gallery, she suffered far less having to listen to the State of the Union speech than my fellow infantrymen did standing in a German snowstorm listening to a vapid little man talk about himself.  The vapidity in our braggadocious first sergeant is shared with our nation's speaker of the House.

Regardless of who occupies the presidency, and regardless of the animosity you may feel toward the occupant, you respect the office.  You respect it for your country, and you respect it for your fellow citizens.  It's what makes a country function in seasons of ease and hardship.  You swallow your petty pride, you get over your petulant self, and you respect the office.  That's what professionals do, and that's what those whom you have the privilege of serving expect you to do.

Speaking for myself and many of my fellow citizens, we are praying for Nancy Pelosi, too, as she has told us, with feigned sincerity, that she prays for our president.  To quote a line from one of my favorite movies, Gladiator, we are praying most fervently that "the time for honoring yourself will soon be at an end...highness."  It's not about you Nancy, and it never has been.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.