“A Better Idea” From The United States Air Force Academy

By Susan Kuebler

Earlier this week, racial slurs were painted on the walls the United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School telling black students to “Go home” and using the “n” word.  According to Newsweek, the incident came to light when the mother of one of the cadets posted the offensive language on her Facebook account.  The Academy took immediate action.  The Superintendent of the USAFA, Lt. General Jay Silveria issued a statement Thursday where he stated “There is absolutely no place in our Air Force for racism.  It’s not who we are, nor will we tolerate it in any shape or fashion.  The Air Force Academy strives to create a climate of dignity and respect for all…Period….Those who don’t understand that are behind the power curve and better catch up.”

But General Silveria didn’t just leave it at that statement.  Yesterday he called all the cadets together and gave an impassioned speech on what it means to be a member of the United States Air Force and to be a human being to the 5,500 cadets and staff of the Academy. A link to his speech from the official United States Air Force Academy account is shown below.  You are strongly encouraged to listen.

He tells them that “You should be outraged not only as an airman but as a human being.  The appropriate response for horrible language and horrible ideas is a better idea.”  He goes on to list all the leaders and personnel attending the event, which not only included the Academy and staff but also active-duty Air Force personnel.  The reason he brought everyone together was because, as he said “We have a better idea.”

One of the better ideas he mentioned was a discussion that was held with the cadets on what happened in Charlottesville.  Another better idea is the power of diversity that makes everyone better people.  “This is our institution and no one can take away our values.”

As shown above, he wanted to leave everyone with his most important idea “If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect-then you need to get out.”  He goes on to reinforce that concept using numerous examples.

For those people who hunger to hear a leader uniting people and not dividing them:

Listen to this speech

For those people who want to hear a leader speak about American values:

Listen to this speech

For those people who wish to be inspired rather than derided:

Listen to this speech

General Silveria is one man and one voice.  But he is also shaping a molding leaders of tomorrow.  As long as there are General Silverias in this world, willing to take a strong stand against bigotry and hatred, there is hope for the United States.  Right now their voices have been drowned out by the hate and rhetoric of Donald Trump and his followers.  But it only takes a single candle to drive out the darkness.

Save this speech and listen to it the next time you feel that the future of our nation is in doubt.  Our future is secure as long as we have leaders such as this to inspire, encourage, and even scold us when needed.  Leaders who understand what being a true leader means.

Remember also that after Charlottesville, every single leader of each branch of the armed services and the national guard spoke out, individually, against racism and hate.  We don’t need a Donald Trump to “make us great again.”  We are already great.

Thank you, General Silveria.

"All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well". Julian of Norwich.

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