There are times in some parts of the world where mostly third-world countries in crisis turn to their military for leadership. There are times when coups, juntas and dictatorships that in the name of law and order suspend or do away with the freedoms of a people and cause national tragedies.
In the past when discussing these events, I have asked why turn to the military when there are other political institutions with elected leaders closer to the people. The answer I usually got was that in third-world countries the military officer corps includes some of the more educationally prepared and disciplined managers that may be equal to the challenge of governing.
However, if we were to look closely at these countries in crisis, we find that it is the weak political institutions that are the cause of their vulnerability. This in turn creates opportunities for a country to become victim of corruption, authoritarianism and dictatorship.
In America, we rarely see our military leaders engage in the give and take associated with politics. That is why it was of most interest to see that Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Robert B. Neller, Marine Corps Chief of Staff, Gen. David L. Goldfein, Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark M. Miley, Army Chief of Staff, Adm. John M. Richardson, Chief of Navel Operations and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Chairman of the Joints Chiefs weigh in to condemn the NAZI, KKK, White nationalists and Alt-Right for creating the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia that killed 1 and injured 19 others.
The statements of the Joint Chiefs against racism, bigotry and violence by White nationalists underscores the lack of leadership of the President of the United States on this event that, in turn, created a vacuum that the Joint Chiefs felt they had to fill. Where they would normally defer to their Commander in Chief, the military this time acted as a strong and responsible institution dedicated to the defense of the values that characterizes the American way of life.
There are 4 areas of our institutional life that tend to exert significant influence on what we do and how we see the world: business and economics, social and political, military and the international community. Business institutions have dramatically withdrawn their support for the President, the military is opposing his equivocations on race, ethnicity and equality, the West is mostly not with him and the political sector with the exception of his base is looking for alternatives to his leadership.
Charlottesville represents a defining moment in the Trump presidency as he was forced to reveal his true cultural vision of America in a critical historical moment. This also revealed his desire to be, not the President of all Americans, but of a small but growing fringe that wants to do away with neighbors that do not appear to match their DNA.
This is the first time in the history of the United States that a president has deliberately set out to represent only some of us. Not even Abraham Lincoln, whose election in 1860 in part sparked the Civil War in 1861, wanted to represent less than the whole as he fought to preserve the union.
The good thing is that we have strong institutions that are already intervening to try to make up for a faulty leader that does not measure up. This should also put every citizen on notice about the need to get our country back on track.