Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Retrograde Leadership

Retrograde Leadership

In football, all teams have a coach. The coach’s job is to win games. He sends players out to play the game because he’s actually not allowed to do it personally. Some Coaches are Great and become living legends.  Others are horrible and get hustled out of town in the middle of the night. Some of those are legends too. Either way, the coach’s responsibilities’ are pretty straightforward.  Recruit a team, train the team, take care of the team’s needs and send them out to win games. He can hire assistants, but the responsibilities remain his.

Football can be a rough game.  Players get hurt pretty often.  Sometimes they are hurt badly and permanently. All of these are tragedies.  Injuries are unplanned and frequently not fixable.  At that point the coach has responsibilities to the player and his family.  Emotional support, medical care and financial obligations, and therapy if necessary are owed. The expectation of the players and their families is that they will be met.

Now let us imagine a coach who for some unknown reason hates the game but won’t quit and can’t or won’t control himself even in the face of scrutiny. Who even when warned about his behavior, for whatever reason, can’t be easily fired. 

Imagine this coach beating up his hurt players.  I’m not talking Woody Hayes, I’m talking about  a coach who would smack around a kid in a wheelchair, a coach who would charge up into the stands and smack the kid’s mother.

That is not a tragedy. That is a betrayal!  It is a complete abdication of the responsibility given to him.  This is not just being a lousy coach.  There is no reason good enough to do that. It violates the trust of the injured, their families, the players and all who have played or supported them.

OK! OK! So I’m not talking about football.

It’s not just the military funerals and death benefits during the shutdown either. Obama seems to positively delight in denying military families their benefits and in maximizing their pain. He called Fort Hood attacks “workplace violence” to block and specifically deny the wounded and their families’ benefits.  He outed the members of Seal Team Six and their families endangering them all.  He even kicked all veterans to the top of the “domestic terror” watch list out of pure spite.  This is a well-established pattern that has raised many doubts among service members and ex-service members as well of those who watch that sort of thing out of simple love for our heroes and a basic respect for their sacrifices.

However, the shutdown “crisis” offered Obama opportunities he simply could not stop himself from taking. I believe his disdain is pathological, but past a certain point it no longer matters.

The one that bothers me most is closing the base Exchanges. The military is chronically underpaid. Nobody joins for the pay, but the way military families can eat is by buying their food from the post exchanges where they don’t have to pay taxes on the food.  He’s literally taking food off their tables.  Then there is the complete ban on contracted military chaplains giving services on bases, even unpaid, on pain of prosecution.  In addition to denying service members and their family whatever comfort their faith can give them, I believe that to be flatly unconstitutional. It’s difficult to imagine a man who taught constitutional law not being fully aware of that.

Locking our veterans out of National Monuments built to honor them due to lack of funds just stinks.  When you are spending more to lock them up than to leave them open, the spite is blatant and shockingly petty. The outrage over this surprises no one, yet this President could not stop himself.

There are many more outrages than just what has happened to our military, their families and our veterans.  All are outrageous, and pretty much everyone is outraged. I am not sure even I could have made people any more furious, and I’m gifted.

We've had presidents before who weren't fans of the military.  I am not entirely sure what Bill Clinton thought of the military, but at least he kept one eye on the polls and treated them with the basic respect anyone should give the tools of their trade. Carter, I am told almost destroyed it, but the good thing about presidents is that they eventually lose that job.  It’s why we don’t have kings.  Our military will survive even Obama. But they, and those of us who support them, should be prepared for three more years of spite.

Now, I expect Obama’s defenders to come out of the woodwork, and call me and any person with a similar opinion a liar and much worse. They will sing his praises to the world at large while providing him with excuses.  The thing is, this is far beyond words.  I believe Obama’s Media Meat Shield will make excuses and call people names until he’s out of office or they are. I have heard many words, from both of Obama’s faces. They prove nothing. Trust, and any benefit of the doubt are now gone.  If Obama wants to make me a liar, he’s going to have to do it through his actions.

And I would welcome it.

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