Commentary

July 24, 2014

Life is moving, move with it

Commentary by Senior Airman Jarrod Grammel
23d Wing Public Affairs

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — “You can’t be neutral on a moving train” is a famous quote, and the title of a memoir and documentary about the life of author, historian and activist Howard Zinn.

What this means is that things are happening all around us, and everything in life is moving in a certain direction. In the Air Force, we see force shaping, raising of the enlistment age and the countless other changes happening daily. We also currently see the events unfolding in Gaza and Iraq, the crisis at our border, social and economic inequality. All of these things affect us, whether we care about them or not, and to not be informed or have an opinion on these things is to follow the status quo, an often times dangerous path, especially in times of moral crisis.

Elie Wiesel, who was a prisoner in the Auschwitz, Buna and Buchenwald concentration camps, knows all too well what neutrality means in a world filled with moral, political and social crises. He said, “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

One could take this rationale as a false dichotomy, or black and white thinking. “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” This isn’t the case. The bystander is not equally as guilty as the tormentor or oppressor, but a world full of bystanders wouldn’t exactly be considered a beacon of morality or progress.

This is also something Air Force leaders take seriously, especially in regard to sexual assault and harassment. Classes like bystander-intervention training teach Airmen the importance of being a good wingman and stepping in when they see another Airman being mistreated.

In matters other than sexual harassment, such as in politics and current affairs within the Air Force, being informed is a critical component. I urge everybody, whether in uniform or not, to read up on contemporary issues from a multitude of sources and viewpoints, and think critically about them.

Democracy cannot properly function without well-informed citizens who care about what’s happening and are willing to stand up for what they believe.

Take, for instance, the recent outrage from veteran’s organizations, retired service members and many lawmakers when a 1 percent cut in the cost-of-living adjustments for military retirees under 62 was announced. When enough veterans, service members and advocacy groups spoke out against the cut, lawmakers quickly moved to repeal the cut, passing it almost unanimously.

In this case, if all those veterans and retirees would’ve just stayed neutral by not reading about these issues or standing up for their convictions, they would’ve followed the status quo, meaning those retirees would’ve likely lost their benefit.

So be an active and informed member of society. Don’t just hop on the train without knowing where it’s going or why. We all have to live in the world and in the Air Force, so why not be a positive force and have a say in where the train is going.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
headstones-with-flags-300-dpi

This Memorial Day, honor those who gave all

Courtesy photo   Memorial Day. A long weekend, barbeques, parades, door busting sales at the mall, and the un-official start of summer . . . With all the excitement of warmer weather and fun in the sun that come with Memor...
 
 
(Courtesy photo/Liz Jacobson)

Ten seconds later and that picture still exists

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) — There is a conversation many teenagers have had with their parents or friends, me included. “Hey, don’t worry! It’ll be fine; all of the pictures I send disappear after ten secon...
 
 

Have faith in the Air Force system

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, AZ — Throughout our Air Force careers, we have all received extensive training covering the Air Force core values — integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. We talk about them on a daily basis in one capacity or another using them as buzz words to drive our point...
 

 

Who has heard of Special Victims’ Counsel?

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — When I first briefed the Special Victims’ Counsel Program at Right Start and First Term Airman Center briefings here, audience participation was slim to none. It appeared as though the group I briefed was not interested in learning more about our program or that they didn’t know anything about...
 
 

Make time to mentor your Airmen

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, AZ — The Air Force is comprised of Airmen with many skills and talents. The backbone to our continued success is our men and women who strive to be excellent on a daily basis. However, there are times when our focus is derailed by our own personal and professional guidelines. I was taught...
 
 

Becoming stronger through failure

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D.  — Failing the Air Force physical training test: my greatest fear since joining the military. It is embarrassing to admit recently that fear came to fruition, but what I have learned through that failure has become one of my greatest strengths. After failing, I definitely felt like a weak person for not...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin