I would like to talk this morning about courage; moral courage; the ability to stand up and speak out sometimes against overwhelming odds because you feel that this is the right thing to do. I have faced down bullies who were literally twice my size and strength, I have stood up for others; I have complained in the strongest possible manner, I have literally laid my job on the line in pursuit of a real safety-at-work worry: all because of the Mantra by which I live, which, loosely translated, states: ‘If you believe that something is wrong, you have to do something about it!’
In that spirit, I would like to write about George Ciccariello-Maher, who is a Professor at Drexel University, a University in Philadelphia, whose published slogan is:- Set it free at Drexel University. ……….Ordinary students take tests. At Drexel, you will test the world. So this Professor was seated on a jet, and watched as a First-Class Passenger stood, and offered his seat to a serving uniformed soldier. Never said a word, kept his loose trap tight shut, despite the very real moral outrage occasioned by an ordinary American showing courtesy to a uniformed killer (the professor’s definition) by offering his much more comfy seat.
Only when his journey had finished, and he was off the aircraft, did this intellectual burst into electronic outrage by ‘Tweeting’ about this immense horror he had been forced to witness. Just imagine; that super-comfortable seat was being befouled by having a chocolate-chip camouflage BDU-wearing killer lounging around in its truly expensive isolation! Or was he simply outraged at not being offered the upgrade himself; being as he deserved it, because professors are part of the elite.
I just wonder if the good professor, ultra-secure in his tenured post at Drexel and with his no-doubt palatial home in the sleepy Philadelphia suburbs, would be quite so vocal if his home, and all the other homes, were not protected by policemen carrying guns, and were subject to the random violence which is the hallmark of a failed State. Would he have burst in digital messaging if the Armed Forces, represented on that aircraft by a uniformed soldier; were not deployed ready to protect their fellow Americans? Does he know, and does he even accept; the thought processes behind the aphorism:-
“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”
Or as Orwell wrote:- In his 1945 “Notes on Nationalism”, Orwell wrote that pacifists cannot accept the statement “Those who ‘abjure’ violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf.”,
And as Aaron Sorkin said, through his character’s scripted speech in ‘A Few Good Men’:- “I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it.”
It is true that Drexel University has already provided cover for the seemingly-pacifist professor when he spoke of ‘Wishing for a White Genocide’ by labelling his words as ‘protected’, but methinks the professor might wish he had kept his big trap shut, and his hands in his pockets, instead of insultingly tweeting because he had to share a jet with a serving soldier; and one in a first-class seat at that!