Semper Fi? Not Always

(Strangely, this blog disappeared along with its comments, so I’m reposting it. I wish I could repost your comments, too, but I can’t. If you commented, please repost your comment or post a fresh one.)

John Kelly (top photo) is a man of high esteem. He is a four-star general. A Marine. And you know what Marines say about themselves – Semper Fidelis.

But it seems even Marines are not always honorable.

It seems that sometimes a Marine can act dishonorably, concocting a false story in defense of his boss.

That’s what General Kelly, one of the most illustrious Marines, just did.

The retired general, who lost a son on the battlefield and has another son serving in harm’s way, enjoys a sterling reputation. But he tarnished it in a spiteful attack on a Democratic member of Congress last week.

I’m sure you know the story. It has been all over the news, drowning out the other important issues of the day (such as the looming possibility of a nuclear war).

I think it started when a reporter asked Trump if he had contacted the survivors of those four Special Forces troops killed in Niger. Trump hadn’t phoned any of the bereaved family members, so he decided to remedy the oversight.

But being Trump, he messed up at least one of the calls. He told Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow that the marine must have known what he was signing up for when he joined the force.

The president probably meant well, but the remark sounded insensitive – at least as far as the marine’s widow was concerned. And Representative Frederica Wilson (lower photo), who listened in on the call, reported the widow’s hurt feelings to the media.

At first, Trump denied saying anything like that (an audio has since been released and – guess what – it supports the congresswoman’s version of events).

Then he sent Kelly to lie to the media.

After recounting his tragic experience as the parent of a fallen soldier, Kelly launched an attack against Representative Wilson. He shamed her for listening in on the call and referred to her as “an empty barrel” because, he said, she once sang her own praises at an event honoring fallen FBI agents.

(Interestingly, “empty barrel makes the most noise” is an old Jamaican saying. I wonder where Kelly heard it. )

I guess Kelly didn’t know there was a video of the event out there. And a newspaper got hold of the video. It showed Kelly was lying.

Is this how far we have fallen in Trump’s America? Are dignity and honor things of the past?

Apparently, it’s even worse. When a reporter questioned Kelly’s story at a White House press briefing, Trump’s mouthpiece Sarah Sanders said it would be “highly inappropriate” to “get into a rebate” with a four-star general.

So now, the press must not question those in high places? Even when they’re caught in a lie?

I thought that was what being an American was all about – the right to confront the high and mighty, the right to speak our minds to great and small alike.

That’s what I thought when I applied for US citizenship, anyway. Was I wrong?