One of my least favorite duty assignments in the Navy was when I was First Lieutenant on the USS Reeves. For those not in the Navy, First Lieutenant is a position, not a rank. I was in charge of how the ship looked, the small boats, the lines (ropes) that were used to tie the ship to the pier and the anchor windlass amongst other things. The anchor windlass is the machine that is used to pull the anchor off the sea floor when the anchor is used. I hated the job because my CO, who I affectionally referred to as the Anti-Christ, only cared about two things: how the ship looked and how it communicated. It could all be going to hell inside the ship, but as long as no one could see it (from the outside) or hear it, then we would look good compared to other ships. Sure Jan. My daily beatings were fun and my boss, the Operations Officer, was kind of useless. Nice guy, but he just had a warped perspective. He couldn’t see the bigger picture. What was important and what wasn’t.
I specifically remember coming to see him one day when we were in port in Pearl Harbor. The ship was coming off a major overhaul and we were out of dry dock but trying to get the ship ready for sea trials. And I had a problem. Well two of them really. So I went to the OPSO and said, “Um we’ve got problems: the anchor windlass is broke and the radio on the Captain’s Gig is broken.” And he went off on the Capt’s Gig radio. What were we doing to fix it? How long has it been down, etc? Sure, with the Anti-Christ as the CO, the Captain’t Gig is important. I’m not saying it’s not. But we had two other small boats. The real issue was the anchor windlass. At the time (and no clue if it’s the same way today), an inoperative anchor windlass meant that we couldn’t get underway. We had to submit a CASREP (Casualty Report) up our chain of command letting them know we were not able to support any operational missions or even continue our sea trials which were kind of important. After answering all of the questions about the Captain’s Gig, I finally got the OPSO to understand and acknowledge the problem with the anchor windlass was more important but yikes it shouldn’t have been that hard.
So why am I telling this sea story now? Well because in the past two years, it seems like conservatives have lost their bearing (to continue the Navy analogy) and their sense of what is really important.
Why are you mad about a professional football player kneeling during the national anthem to protest the killing of black men, but you aren’t really upset that black men are being killed in record numbers?
Why are you mad that so many people don’t pay taxes, but aren’t upset that the reason so many people pay no taxes is because they are living at or below the poverty line?
Why are you so mad about the national debt, but aren’t upset about the ginormous, and unneeded, tax cut where 90% of the benefits went to 1% of the richest in America?
And it’s not just their anger that’s dis-enheartening. It’s their silence.
Why are you silent when the President engages in trade wars and withdraws from free trade agreements?
Why are you silent when the President treats our allies like the enemy?
Why are you silent when the President lies? Repeatedly?
Why are you silent when the President kowtows to Putin or the Saudis?
Why are you silent when the President claims to be the “biggest” support of the troops, but has never visited troops in a war zone, or even gone to Arlington Cemetary?
I remember when conservatives believed in fiscal responsibility, free trade, strong national security, and personal responsibility. What has happened?
Where are the conservatives who would speak for conservative values and against the clearly not conservative President?