The other day, racist graffiti was found outside the rooms of five black cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy. The superintendent there, Lt Gen Jay Silveria, addressed it swiftly and bluntly. , Superintendent of the US Air Force Academy. He assembled the school and in no uncertain terms lectured them.
It starts off well, though somewhat generically, though the grip of his voice, look and demeanor spoke much more forcefully than his words. But soon enough, those words changed. And they matched his presence.
I'll only quote one sentence. "If you demean someone for any reason -- get out."
As I watched Lt. Gen Silveria, it was not difficult to think, "This is how a leader deals with a problem when racism occurs." And nowhere in his speech did he suggest that bad as the racial slurs were, there were some very fine people among those who participated. Nowhere did he say that there were many sides to the issue. There was one side causing the problem, and he excoriated it. It was difficult to to think, this is how a leader deals with racism, not by a tweet or a couple sentences, but a pointed, blunt 5-minutes tongue-lashing.
"The president has dealt with that," his spokesperson tried to tell us when question about why Trump didn't actually address racist hate after Charlottesville. No, he didn't and hasn't. And he waited days to try to pretend he did. Lt. Gen. Silveria dealt with it. Immediately. He even brought up Charlottesville. He understand that what happened there was disgraceful. And there was only one side.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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