#237 “When did you…?”

By Hetty Gray

February 28, 2017

“When did you….?”

Most of us who recall readily old truisms recognize the catastrophic damage of an unsubstantiated accusation. Once launched at a person, even when disproved, it is immensely difficult to repair or restore one’s good reputation. In a total reversal of the basis for our U.S. system of justice, the accused is guilty until proven innocent.

Slurs and mud stick like glue and denials on the part of the accused rarely dampen the flames lit by detractors. When facts do not work, smears do their dirty jobs to mask the venom and animosity most often fueled by a warped ideology.

It’s the old scenario yet again. Yes, again….

We see this now. For more than seven decades our government began a disappointing moral and ethical decline. Eisenhower warned of it…. Few paid attention to his prophecy. The last time America was on the winning end of a conflict was World War II. That was 1945 — using my head and not a computer device, that is seventy-two years this summer.

ETO’s General George S. Patton saw Russia for what it was — a real threat to freedom and liberty. But, before he could move toward countering the spread of Communism that would encase Eastern Europe over forty years, he died in a car driven by someone other than his regular driver. Verdict? A very brilliant soldier’s vision of reality tabled forever. Likely no accident….

My father’s generation fought World War II. He worked in a defense plant. A pilot, he wore glasses, and that alone rendered him unacceptable to the then U. S. Army Air Corps (later to become the U.S. Air Force). An overlapping of two generations fought in Korea, but it was my generation fought in Vietnam. I lost a classmate in that. He was a very good person.

The Vietnam War lined the pockets of determined, unscrupulous Americans among the military, political and business ranks across this nation. Not quite the testament to respect for our soldiers…. The conflict was the continuation of the old boys’ network where payoffs in office were in the form of appointments or financial gain. Let’s look at the wide picture. Lots of money changed hands at the expense of tens of thousands of lives.

Today, we have elected a man who owes nothing to the establishment or the entrenched politicians. That is enough to put them on their own war footing. The accusations against President Trump will continue ad nauseum. Because the establishment and the undergirding bureaucracy cannot control President Trump, they must disgrace him. While he is the elites’ worst nightmare, he is the average American’s brightest hope. Someone who operates on common sense as a knowledge of what the bottom line is when it comes to money.

This past week I heard Retired General Jack Keane say that there are no better military minds those in the Pentagon, but they are not businessmen and women. They do not see at the world in terms on dollars and cents. They see the world in terms of strategy and the means to achieve goals.

Pentagon spending is legend. For years, The Golden Fleece Awards have highlighted some of the most inane examples. Remember the high dollar toilet seats? The coffee makers? Egad! Budgets are easily appropriated, but budgets must be cost effective. When we remove graft and corruption from the contract process, we can leverage at its highest efficiency.

For example, is it better to award a contract because of “connections” or “friends” or to do so with a business mindset — getting the best product or service at the lowest cost?

I am reminded of a line uttered by Frank Gilbreth. Sr. (portrayed by Clifton Webb) in the 1950 movie “Cheaper by the Dozen.” In the true story of an amazing man for his time, Frank and his wife Lilly (Myrna Loy) reared a family of twelve children. Accustomed to running the household with a family meeting, Frank decided that the chores were a bit too much for the live in- help, housekeeper Mrs. Monahan and handyman Jim Bracken.

The back fence of their Montclair, New Jersey, home needed whitewashing. Bill, one of the boys, said he would do it for $10.00. Frank, astonished, replied, “You must think this is a government job!”

Isn’t it amazing how things change so little over the years? The plot was set in the 1920s. Here we are nearly in the 2020s — a hundred years later — and government expenditures are still seen as ridiculous.

Let’s give this businessman a chance. Accusing him of racism, bias, and anti-everything is akin to the old question, “When did you stop beating your wife?”

The query alone taints the targeted person. It was never fair in the past and it is not fair today. A refreshing change would be to see the government operate well and give us the most bang for our tax bucks.

There is nothing more frightening to career politicians, bureaucrats and lobbyists than to have the lid placed on their cookie jar. Think about it.

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