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The Guardians

The Coast Guard

A few weeks ago, the morning news broadcast a story about the Coast Guard being called to help some utility workers who were stranded on top of a light pole one hundred fifty feet in the air when the cherry picker they were using malfunctioned. Amazingly, the fire department wasn’t able to make a quick rescue. One man was hanging onto the light pole and were tiring. The news video showed the familiar red and white Coast Guard helicopter dropping a rescuer down a cable to pluck each man from his perch. Everyone was saved.

I was reminded of the images of two and a half years ago when the Coast Guard worked overtime and double time to pull people off the roof tops of their flooded houses, businesses, and other structures. At the peak of the storm the Coast Guard and its helicopters were at work plucking people out of the way of danger. When other arms of the government were arguing about who had jurisdiction and who filed the proper paperwork and who was to decide if the federal government had the right to trample over the rights of the state in order to save people. The other arms of the government were paralyzed into doing nothing because everybody needed time to put together a plan for a disaster that was predicted years ago, the Coast Guard acted.

The Coast Guard didn’t stop to get permission from its higher ups in Washington, DC. The people in the Coast Guard weren’t paralyzed into protecting their territory or offending the sensitivities of government officials who were more concerned with scoring political points. When the President George Bush was in California strumming a guitar there was a Coast Guard helicopter in New Orleans saving a life. When Condoleezza Rice was buying expensive boots and attending a concert in New York someone from the Coast Guard was helping a poor elderly person into a basket so they can be rescued.

Such quick action has bought this government institution a lot of goodwill in my book. If someone was to ask me to vote for a tax increase to increase funding for the Coast Guard I would return the favor and would not hesitate to give this measure my utmost support. I don’t need to know how many helicopters they plan to buy or if the helicopters are being used for personal trips. I don’t need to know the salary of the guy who is flying the machine or the guy who lowers the basket or the guy who gets lowered with the basket. I don’t need to know how much of their funds are going to no bid contracts and I don’t need to know how much of their funds is going to some war effort. Unlike a lot of government entities, I am sold on the belief that the Coast Guard operates with integrity. Why, because the Coast Guard was there to save American lives from a real and immediate threat at the very moment when the American people needed them most.

A few months ago there was a news story about a noose hanging in the locker room of the Coast Guard academy. I don’t remember all the details because it was at a time when there seemed to be a noose hanging every other day. The last thing the coast guard needs is the specter of racism among its personnel. I would hope they found the racist and expelled him. If not I hope the Coast Guard expelled the entire class. Better to err on the side of caution and expel everyone than let a cowardly white racist who was willing to express his or her intolerance of others under the cloak of anonymity infiltrate the system. If those other cadets wanted to stay in the coast guard they’d better help identify the bigot in their midst.

I don’t know how many people in the Coast Guard would be willing to let their racial prejudices interfere with their ability to do their job. I can imagine someone wrapping the harness around a black person’s neck instead of their waist and giving the hoist operator the thumbs up to lift them up. I can imagine a coast guard pilot intentionally picking through the houses looking only for white people to help. Racist so bold yet cowardly as to put nooses in front of black people would be the same type of people who would claim that the Coast Guard would need a plan before it could just go in willy nilly saving people from a predominantly black area. The Coast Guard doesn’t need to be saddled with such dishonesty.

The Coast Guard is one of the few government agencies I trust without reservation. I would hope they will forever move to keep and protect the trust that I, as well as a number of other Americans, have in them. I applaud them. I thank each and every one of their personnel for their work in protecting and saving all Americans. They truly are the guardians.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - Posted by | Hurricane Katrina, Life, New Orleans, Thoughts

1 Comment »

  1. BrotherPeaceMaker, I applaud you on your post here. My son is a officer in the Coast Guard, and has spoken of the racism in that service. He did not attend the academy, but did go through a program on his college campus, like many young Blacks wanting to finish college opted for their program to pay for college. He has told me the hoops he has had to jump thru that his white friends have not had to face. He had to basically teach himself the rules of operation on a Coast Guard vessel because the whites resent the Blacks on board, but has not seen any noose incidents. This is a service many Black people have been overlooking. He was told during basic training, by a Black officer that he was going to be extra hard them because as is the normal case they, the Black recruits will have to be 200% to be accepted as equal to the whites 100%. Yet, this is the case most of the time for us. Overall, it has been an enjoyable experience for him without many issues. I agree with you the Coast Guard has been a government agency we can trust a bit more than the rest.

    Comment by supremeultimate | Thursday, May 1, 2008 | Reply

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