Sitting in the boardroom, a dozen social workers, salesmen and developers were waiting for the Health IT CEO to kick off the meeting. As we rocked in our chairs, my boss — an MSW-cum-Chief Sales Officer — complained about his “black sheep” cousin who was shaming the family name.
“The rest of us went to college but he’s stuck in the Army,” he said.
“Sounds like a good start to me,” I replied, as the only employee with military experience.
Those assembled rolled their eyes while my boss looked at me with pity. “He enlisted, Jon. He obviously isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.” Pausing for a beat he added, “no offense.”
None taken, jerk.
As my boss knew, I joined the Navy right out of high school. The comment on all my report cards was “smart kid; doesn’t apply himself” so I knew college would be a bumpy ride. I read about the Naval Nuclear Power School, the military’s most demanding academic program.
I’d be spending up to 80 hours a week in classrooms studying calculus, thermodynamics and nuclear physics, and if I didn’t try hard enough, I’d be mopping decks on some oiler in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Just the motivation I needed.
After graduating near the top of my class, I worked as a reactor operator on a fast attack submarine. Once I completed my obligation to Uncle Sam, I returned to civilian life. Compared to nuke school, college was a breeze and I noticed that employers liked to hire summa cum laude grads even if they bore the black mark of military service. Which brings me back to my boss.
Granted, he had barely eked his way through a Master of Social Work degree on his parents’ dime. But the fact I had joined the Navy put me in a lower caste — not just socially and economically, but intellectually.
All in all, he was a great guy; but like many left-of-center Americans, he knew nothing about the military. I have repeatedly noticed this casual contempt, especially from those raised in northeastern states or academic circles. They never considered serving and don’t associate with anyone who has.
Team Obama fits firmly into this group. As we saw with the VA scandal and again with the Bergdahl debacle, President Obama and his defenders continually ooze contempt — often without even realizing it. Their utter tone-deafness on military issues regularly turns bad news into all-consuming nightmares.
Just a few recent messages coming from the White House and its defenders.
GOP ’14 msg so far – attacking POW, attacking those getting health care, loving on Putin and running down economy. Inspired.
— David Plouffe (@davidplouffe) June 3, 2014
Unlike the Democrats’ inspirational message of attacking the military, killing veterans, loving on the Taliban and running down the economy.
@CuffyMeh I didn’t make it up
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) June 4, 2014
“Swift Boat” is a slur used to attack veterans who served honorably at John Kerry’s side, but stayed in theater much longer than a few months.
Here’s the thing about Bergdahl and the Jump-to-Conclusions mats: What if his platoon was long on psychopaths and short on leadership? (1/5)
— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) June 5, 2014
Every solider in Bergdahl’s platoon was a psychopath… except the guy who joined the Taliban.
Many of us have Qs about #Bergdahl and his dysfunctional platoon as chronicled by Michael Hastings. Awaiting Army investigation of all that.
— sfpelosi (@sfpelosi) June 5, 2014
Obama has gone from allowing veterans to die at the VA, to confusing cadets at West Point, to saluting the heroism of an apparent Army deserter (if not enemy collaborator), to calling the honorable soldiers he betrayed “psychopaths.” And much of the DC press corps has little idea how to cover military issues because they share this cultural contempt. Enlisted soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are considered stupid or insane — either way, indigent victims who must be enlightened by the liberal elite.
Let me offer a friendly reminder to our “betters”: If you’re more impressed with a college diploma than a DD214, you aren’t nearly as sophisticated as you claim.