Commentary

August 1, 2014

Life is moving, move with it

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 veterans 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.


 
 

 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Commissary hours The Commissary will be closed Dec. 25 and 26. Regular hours will resume Dec. 27. The Commissary will be open regular hours Dec. 31, and closed Jan. 1, 2015. For more information, call 661-277-9175. Museum hours The Air Force Flight Test Museum will be closed for the Christmas holidays starting Dec. 22 and...
 
 

412th Force Support Squadron Holiday Hours

Christmas Eve: Dec. 24 OPEN: Aero Club: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Arts & Crafts/Auto Hobby: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Airman & Family Readiness: 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Child Development Center: 6:15 a.m.-5 p.m. Family Child Care: 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. High Desert Inn: Open seven-days a week, 24-hours a day Information, Tickets & Tours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Library: 9...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Edwards First Sergeants council wraps up Christmas programs

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber The annual Angel Tree program will provide gifts for around 300 Edwards children this year. The Edwards First Sergeants Council puts on the event to help Airmen unable to buy their children...
 

 
afmc-q-and-a

Lean thinking, process improvement highlight Busch’s time at AFMC

During the last 16 years and six assignments in Air Force Materiel Command, Vice Commander Lt. Gen. Andrew Busch was challenged to find new methods to operate more efficiently in one of the most complex and diverse commands tha...
 
 
flu

Flu season: What you need to know

Flu is officially upon us. If you have ever had the flu, you know it can knock you out ó with members of your family, friends and co-workers not far behind. Today, it’s more important than ever to get your facts straight...
 
 
driving-safety

Driving safely on snow or icy roads

Unless you’re traveling through the mountains of Southern California in the winter, driving in the snow doesn’t occur very often. First off, don’t assume your vehicle can handle any road condition. Even four-w...
 




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>