This past Sunday Rev. Larry Campbell, pastor of St. Paul AME Church of San Bernardino preached from the book of James chapter 3 about our untamed tongue. He used as a subject “Loose Lips Sink Ships.” And of course one of his examples was General Stanley McChrystal who was relieved of his duty by President Barack Obama. While neither the scripture nor Pastor Campbell went into detail on why we do what we do, the tongue does do that to us from time to time. In the case of McChrystal, according to to published reports he and his staff were contacted by a writer of an article for corrections on the article before printing.
So it is clear to me that what McChrystal said about President Obama not being prepared or uneasy in the presence of military brass is truthful to the general.
I have listened to television and radio commentators talk about the incident trying to make sense of why McChrystal did or would do such a thing. Some agree, while others disagree with the general as well as him resigning or being fired. None of these commentators are Black which of course leaves me to draw my own conclusion as to why McChrystal said what he said and others scratching their heads as to why an intelligent and trained military man would do such a thing.
Verse 10 of James 3, gives us a clue as to the capabilities of the tongue with regards to praise and cursing from the same mouth. We as people are not like plants where if you plant a fig tree you will get figs. Paul in Romans 7:21, also gives us another way to look at humans when he wrote “when I want to do good, evil is always present.” We as a people want to do what is right but sometimes wrong wins and based on historical data of white and Black relations in America, evil won out.
General Stanley McChrystal’s action is rooted in a deeply held belief by many in America that a Black man has no rights or authority that they have to live by or take orders from, even as president of the United States. That was how seven of the nine members of the United States Supreme Court ruled in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case back in 1857. We still have many people who think that way today and McChrystal has not had to confront his deeply held position until he came face to face with Obama handing out the orders. There are many people in America like McChrystal and that is why the commentators are having a hard time trying to figure out why McChrystal would mess up his career over a stupid comment. Many people have had to come face to face with that situation not only in the military but in corporate America when the supervisor is of color.
McChrystal has studied the history of the military and he knows how Blacks were treated, first with not allowing us to carry guns and then not having White soldiers under the command of Black officers. I am sure he was taught at West Point how to follow orders especially from the Commander In Chief. But, like most people when you think you are in a safe zone with others who think like you, you will do and say what you really think. Even the reporter who wrote the story thought he had better let them review this before it goes to print. I’m sure the reporter was thinking I want to make sure I write what they said and capture the true meaning of what was said. By this time McChrystal was thinking the public would say I am right and join with me in belittling President Obama, after all he is a Black man who happened to get elected president.
But just like back in 1857 with the Dred Scott decision some people (believe it or not Republicans) were outraged and elected President Lincoln and he signed the “Emancipation Proclamation” that abolished slavery in America in 1863. That single act also gave birth to the KLAN and some racist politicians in the south joined the Democratic Party. These racially motivated politicians did not change political parties until President Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act Bill. Then the racially motivated Southern Democrats rejoined the Republican Party where they reside today. It is safe to say that McChrystal was banking on them to join with him since they are pro military with a cowboy maverick mentality. However, since the story was done in public, in writing, for the world to see they could not stand behind him and lose our form of government. If they were to support him we would no longer have a civilian Commander in Chief but military controlled government.
So back to the pastor’s message that “Loose Lips Sink Ships” it is also true that what is in you will come out when confronted with the right circumstances. It is equally true that loose lips will not only sink ships but will also get you fired by the president of the United States.