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General Kelly as one of ĎA Few Good Mení

By David Conde

It appears that Marine General John F. Kelly came to serve the Trump administration and got stuck in some of that toilet water that flows from Washington D.C. into the Potomac River. This distinguished officer is fast becoming another casualty of the decadent and divisive atmosphere that pervades our politics today.

He has chosen to align the personal prejudices that define his own humanity with that of a President that personally, politically and publicly does not value the opposite sex or the new emerging color majority. In doing so, he is staining the very uniform of the most honored military branch in the historical journey of the United States.

Throughout the life of Latinos in America, the favorite branch of voluntary military service for young people has been the Marine Corps. The allure of announced toughness in being a marine resonates in a community that has a tradition of providing the most fight for their numbers.

I know that this was true with respect to my nephew Joey Cabral who joined the Marine Corps in time to see action in the invasion of Iraq. He was a Lance Corporal the last time I saw him in his formal dress uniform at momís funeral.

He looked beautiful that day standing by the grave-site as momís body was lowered to its resting place. Little did I know then that the demons that follow a warrior into the battlefield may one day catch up as they did with him in civilian life one early Saturday morning on I-25.

This brings to mind the movie ĎA Few Good Men (1992) that depicts a trial of two Marines that served in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The movie displays a duality of values as it relates to the human condition that can become contradictions to each other.

On the one hand we see the toughness and honor of those that stand on a wall to guard our freedom and on the other we see a cover-up of the death of one of those standing on the wall that is also a symbol of the people to be protected. Those two values that become contradictions are part of the same character, the Marine commander played so well by Jack Nicholson.

The contradictions and the Marines that act on them end up staining the uniform. But in the movie those transgressions have a remedy that involves an exit from the scene.

What is the remedy for General Kellyís outspoken criticism and untruths about women, his calling the Dreamers ďlazyĒ or his mishandling of White House scandals involving high level male members of the staff that beat-up on wives and girlfriends? His removal as Chief of Staff does not begin to address the stain because he is still in uniform and as such continues to represent those on the wall that protect all Americans.

This is not to say that General Kelly cannot hold private social, economic and political view like everyone else. But when those views become part of a public stance while in uniform, it is disappointing.

General Kelly has been an enlisted man as well as an officer during his long career that began in 1970. He has suffered the loss of one of his two Marine officer sons in battle and is to be commended for his leadership.

Why then does he stain the uniform with this kind of stuff? He owes more to himself, his family and the Corps than to the cesspool in Washington D.C.





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