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.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Alan Boedeker)

AF to change instructions for oaths

WASHINGTON (AFNS)  — The Air Force has instructed force support offices across the service to allow both enlisted members and officers to omit the words “So help me God” from enlistment and officer appointment oaths ...
 
 

Draft Total Force Training Environmental Assessment available for public review

The revised draft Environmental Assessment for Total Force Training (formerly Operation Snowbird) was released by Air Combat Command here today. The release initiates a 30-day public comment period, which ends October 23.  Substantive public comments submitted by that date will be considered before the Air Force makes any determinations on the proposal.  These comments will...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo/Scott Ash)

AF signs Total-Force Aircrew Management charter

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Senior Air Force leaders signed a Total Force Aircrew Management charter Sept. 18, during the Aircrew Summit at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, Chief of Staf...
 

 

Information security part of everything we do

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — It’s been one of those days. You are super busy and your unit just received another tasking. You are trying to do five jobs at once and don’t even have time to think. You decide to help your unit deployment manager get the word out and forward an email...
 
 
leadership

When leaders earn their keep

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — It’s no secret that a key to being a good leader, military or otherwise, is taking care of your people. I strongly believe Airmen aren’t able to perform at their peak if their ...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau)

Fuels Management team finds a new home

The 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of their new Fuels Management facility and Type III Fuels Hydrant System facility at D-M, Sept. 17. The new facilities are equipp...
 




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