It is easy for civilians to forget how much the military way of life revolves around rank. Politeness, respectfulness, and even common courtesy may be in short supply in the civilian world, (and almost non-existent in politics) but in the military they are still the law of the land.
So the average civilian may not have noticed what didn't happen on Christmas in Hawaii.
"President Elect Obama stopped by the Marine base in Keneche Bay where servicemen and -women were eating Christmas dinner in Kailua Thursday evening. The diners represented seven military units-Marines and Navy-some of whom were joined by their families for Christmas dinner."
The reporter from ABC news noticed what didn't happen next-"As Obama entered the room, it was absent of the regular fanfare of cheering and clapping. The diners were polite, staying seated at their respective tables and waited for the president-elect to come to them to stand up."
Some pundits are calling this a snub, and some are even saying it was almost disrespectful to the incoming Commander in Chief. It was neither, but it does tell a civilian a whole lot about the attitude of the military today.
First and foremost, it shows just how highly regarded President Bush is by the military. Not just for his sense of duty and desire to keep it private, but for his dedication to letting us win the war in Iraq. It is easy to forget that while general population opinion about the war in Iraq has fluctuated wildly, the military has consistently supported the war by a large majority.
So what happened in that chow hall in Hawaii? Despite the fact that at least 70% of those in uniform didn't vote for Obama, in the military we have to respect the rank, even if we don't respect the man. So the troops showed the respect that they were required to. The best analogy would be a long running Broadway musical that switches to a new lead actor. After 8 years of standing ovations every night, polite and respectful applause seems like a snub or a letdown. Am I exaggerating when I say standing ovations? You decide-
You can't fake that kind of emotion, nor can you order people to display it if they don't actually feel it. So don't let a liberal tell you that the soldiers in this video are cheering because they were ordered to, or because the general wants them to. These are men and women in Iraq, far from home and family, facing danger every day, and cheering wildly for the man who sent them there.
Compared with that kind of emotion, polite and respectful sure seems like a snub.