"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President Obama

At last, the endless election season is over. And the result is hardly surprising. Barack Obama will become the 44th president of these United States in January, elected by a convincing margin. There is no doubt that this is a historic moment for this country; as a student of history, I'm only too aware of the many trials and tribulations endured by many selfless Americans to create a nation in which anyone, regardless of race or creed, can fully realize the American Dream. Hopefully, we can finally and permanently turn the page on our union's racial dischord. Obama outfought McCain, and to the victor go the spoils. Congratulations.

This regime change will also mark a change in the format and content of my blog. In the past, I've made comments and criticisms, openly and freely, about the president and various members of Congress. Many of those posts came close to crossing the line about what I'm permitted to say under the Uniform Code of Military Justice; some, no doubt, crossed it completely and never looked back. Well, that can no longer continue. I agreed to a certain code of conduct when I took my oath of office; just because my readership doesn't crack double digits doesn't mean I can flout that code with impunity. So, from now on, discourse on this blog will fall within the bounds set by the UCMJ. This doesn't mean (I hope) that it will become uninteresting. I will continue to comment on social and political issues to the extent that I'm permitted. You'll probably see more 'hard-core' military content here, with accompanying acronynms and jargon (translations will be provided). Foreign affairs will remain a staple of my discussions. And as always, you'll be the first to know when Battlestar Galactica makes me cry.

As to the future, perhaps there are some doubts among you as to whether your dear author, so clearly partisan as an individual, will bring the same motivation to the table with a new commander-in-chief. I'd first like to point out that everything I said here was as an individual; my opinions in no way represented official Marine Corps or Department of Defense policy, and I think I made that clear. And second, I'd remind you that my oath of office is not to one man, or one party. It is this:

I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

I have sworn that oath three times now in my career, once with each promotion. I would swear it again in a heartbeat. Barack Obama is my new commander-in-chief. I will obey every lawful order he gives me because that's what I swore to do. When he says, "go here and destroy this enemy", I will go and destroy it. Because it's not about loyalty to a person; that's what dictatorships do. Mine is a loyalty to an ideal as expressed by the Constitution, and to the offices of government delineated in that document. I did not don this uniform to defend only blue states or red states. My sworn duty is to defend the United States, period. My left hand is a shield for my family, my friends, and all who call themselves Americans; my right hand is a sword for striking down those who would attack those I love and the ideals that make this country great. I will vigorously wield both sword and shield for as long as I wear this uniform.

Finally, I've gotten some email traffic from both family and friends bemoaning our future and making snide remarks about moving somewhere else. I know this election didn't turn out the way you wanted it to. But you will have another chance to affect this nation's future every two years. Some years will be dark; others will be filled with hope. In the meantime, I ask you this: where would you go? What other nation offers more than this? If there ever comes a time when America has foresaken all that that makes her great, I will join you in your exodus; but we'll be fleeing to Mars, because if America is no longer worth our sweat, our blood, and our loyalty, then nowhere else will be either. This country is the last shining city on the hill our planet has left. No other has her prosperity, her liberty, and her amazing propensity for correcting past sins. Remember that.


Meghan said...

I'm kind of excited that you aren't going super heavy political on your blog anymore. As much as I respect your opinions, (okay, I respect that you are an intelligent person who has every right to have his own opinions) sometimes it didn't always seem like you respected the people who don't share the same political ideoligies as you. We are not bad or unintelligent or uninformed people because we support Obama. BUT it seems like it will be all sunshine and rainbows again! :) Or at worst some overcast skies and drizzle.

Cincinnatus said...

Well, if I ever gave the impression that I thought people who disagreed with me were stupid and ignorant, I'm sorry. My blogging intention is not to simply mock and belittle those whose beliefs I don't share; it's to post my own thoughts, challenge those of others, and debate the area in between. Believe me, if I didn't want feedback or feared debate, I wouldn't bother leaving a comments section open. I enjoy the give and take, heated as it may be sometimes. And believe it or not, my opinions DO change in the face of the evidence. I probably made the biggest turnaround in my perception of the conduct of the Iraq war, largely on debates I had here and in other blogs. I will always remain open to evidence that might change my thoughts on an issue; likewise, I will always base the strength of my arguments on the evidence available, and while I may not always do so tactfully, I always try to back myself up with proof.

As for sunshine and rainbows, I can only say: I hope so. I sincerely hope so. Because we are facing problems here and abroad that would challenge even the most seasoned political veteran. I would love for the Obama administration to go down in history not just for the symbolism of his mere election, but for his positive achievements for this country. But we have some storms ahead of us; I hope Obama can provide a sufficiently large umbrella.