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It’s Really Not That Hard To Understand

By Tom Burbage
April 29, 2023
Views: 3576
Public Domain

Too much of our national debate these days are hyper critical of “the other side”. The negative debate that happens every day, non-stop, in the news and the partisan attacks on anyone that ‘doesn’t think like me’ has a corrosive effect on rational thinking. It reinforces the divisive battle lines that drive a wedge between our ability to debate and compromise which have forever been fundamental keys to our Constitution and our form of government. So, don’t tell me what’s wrong with the other side’s talking points, tell me what you stand for.

My father’s generation and many in my generation fought and died for a certain set of principles that reinforced the wisdom of our founding fathers and the Constitution that formed the foundation of the world’s greatest nation. Excuse us if we see a challenge to those ideals and sacrifices. Sometimes we need a reminder internally as to why we are OK with getting off the golf course or missing the weekly stretching class and committing our remaining days to some easily defined objective. Sometimes, complex objectives become endless debates and none of us are good debaters at this point. It makes it easier to understand in my feeble mind if I know why we are doing this.

So, who are ‘we’ and what are we for?

‘We’ is a community of like-minded citizens that believe there has been a not so sudden erosion of the constitutional fundamentals that define who ‘we’ are. Left unchecked, we believe our nation is on a path to a very different place in the world. Three unique American fundamental pillars have always been Faith, Family and Patriotism. Unquestionably, all three are currently under attack from the domestic enemy within.

Perhaps because of this, our preeminent global political leadership, backed up by the world’s most ready and powerful military force, is now also under attack from both the domestic enemy within and strengthening foreign enemies sensing a soft underbelly weakness in our resolve.

There has been no more significant monumental transformation in our lifetime than the erosion of America’s voice and symbol of leadership in the global world community. Why is that? It may reside in the narrow divide between real leadership and management. Leadership promotion incentives have had a decade to infect career success criteria. Arguably, the focus has shifted from maintaining preeminence and a commitment to our founding ideals to one of managing the inevitable decline. The applause factor has shifted from the ability to inspire ordinary people to do extraordinary things to managing the imposition of the new world order on the populace. Inevitably, the larger the threat, the faster the decline.

There are some inescapable factors. The philosophy of the school room becomes the philosophy of our government in the next generation. How are our public-school systems doing?

If your seven-year-old son/daughter came home with a sleeve tattoo and smoking a cigarette, would you counsel him/her? But if he/she decided to change his/her sex with major surgery and drug protocols without your permission, would you find that an issue? Make sure you use the right pronouns when you address this problem.

The purity of our election processes is fundamental to our longevity as a nation. How is that going?

Our borders are the last line of defense for protecting our national sovereignty. Its protection has major secondary implications on our laws, our voting rights and our economy. Forget about the new pandemic of fentanyl. How is that going?

Our service academies have historically been the chamber for developing our next generation of military leadership. How are they doing?

Our form of government is based on the principle of balance of power. Constitutional rights are very specific. Founders did not make the Executive Branch capable of legislating laws for good reasons. When Executive Authority is abused and infringes on rights, people and their representatives are being left out of the loop. Did we vote, as a nation, for the mess we find ourselves in?

So…what part of this journey are we missing? When did we decide to abandon all we stand for as a nation?

Some have argued that the debate lies somewhere between the senses of complacency and urgency. Historically, nations that have been the most prosperous are subject to greater oppression by domestic enemies from within. Often, that threat is insidious. Most of the nation does not live on the southern border. Most of the nation has not experienced the scourge of fentanyl. ‘I see it but I don’t feel it yet’ often results in turning a blind eye to the domestic enemy within across a broad swath of the voting population.

In recent years, conservative thinkers have become more and more irate over socialistic notions and, particularly, wokeism, however that may be defined. It is manifest in the criminal overreach of Black Lives Matter and its introduction of lawlessness, the strange tolerance of open borders, the controversy over climate change and the in-your-face elements of the LGBTQ++ movement. The hyper divisive charges of presumed white privilege and vaccine mandates have become increasingly controversial and are seemingly unending. Wealth redistribution in the form of reparation concepts, student loan forgiveness, credit score tax on those that manage their finances to support those that don’t and the introduction of equity schools with no grades, homework or extra credit are all floating in the national debate. While the underlying pieces of this puzzle may escape many, we are in a war against merit based, competitive performance which has always been the major success factor in the DNA of America.

The fatigue factor is rapidly becoming intolerable to increasing numbers of Americans and, in a free and fair democratic republic, the result would normally be that the tide will turn. But the operative words are ‘free and fair’.

Many of us believe the most critical institution that must not succumb to this movement is the military but it is clearly not an exception at this point. It is clear to many, especially veterans, that the infusion of this movement toward marxism into the military has created and will continue to create readiness, capability and lethality shortfalls that have historically been the hallmarks of American might and stature. Compromising these makes no sense to most American patriots.

So, what are we for? History has a strange way of repeating itself and nowhere was history more beautifully recorded than in the music of the 60’s when our nation was going through similar internal reflections. The Bard of that moment in time was Bob Dylan, a voice in protest. We now find that my generation, who defended their right to protest but who rose in defiance of their principles, now find ourselves in a protest mode. The song that resonates was part of ‘My Back Pages’ written in 1964. In the song's lyrics, Dylan criticizes himself for having been certain that he knew everything and apologizes for his previous political preaching. His lyrics are timeless:

My guard stood hard when abstract threats, too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking, I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms, quite clear, no doubt, somehow

Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

We now live in that world of abstract threats and most of us still believe we have something very important to protect.

It has been said that Democracies have historically died after about 200 years, almost always from internal threats. If true, we may be about to collapse. Although without historical precedence, rebirthing or recapturing our preeminence requires a willingness to think and act on two complex planes at the same time. As a nation, we must reject domestic threats while simultaneously strengthening our resolve to stand up to the emerging foreign threats.

It all comes down to whether Faith, Family and Patriotism can generate a wake-up call and whether real leaders will take up the challenge and stop the madness of managing the inevitable decline.

It’s really not that hard to understand.

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Author

Tom Burbage

Mr. Burbage is a Naval Academy graduate, former Navy Test pilot and industry leader. He is working with a group of like minded individuals concerned with the ongoing movement to fundamentally change the focus of our military and specifically our Service Academies.
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