May 5, 2011
Of course all the talk this week has been of the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan by the elite Navy SEAL Team 6. I was hoping, at least in the U.S., that this event would allow America to come together, if only for a moment, and reflect on what makes America such a wonderful place. But, I guess I was a bit too optimistic!
The word SEAL is an abbreviation for SEa, Air and Land. They are part of the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC). They were formerly referred to as SEAL Team 6. They are based in Dam Neck, Virginia (outside of Virginia Beach, Virginia).
SEALs are considered the most highly trained counter-terrorism force in the world. SEAL Team 6 is comprised of the most elite of the SEALs (so, they are the elite of the elite). Members of SEAL Team 6 are the Michael Jordan’s or Kobe Bryant’s of the military—totally dedication to their craft!
As word began to break Sunday night about bin Laden’s death, I began receiving emails and texts from the political left and right—trying to score political points. I was totally disgusted; and the rhetoric has not gotten any better since Sunday.
In the words of Lionel Richie (a member of the Commodores), from his 1977 hit song “Zoom,” “I may be just a foolish dreamer, but I don’t care; ‘cause I know my happiness is waiting out there, s-o-m-e-w-h-e-r-e. I’m searching for that silver lining; horizons that I never see. Oh, I’d like to take just a moment and dream my dream; ooooh, dream my dream.”
My dream would have been for those on the left and right to give credit to President Obama for being willing to go against “conventional” wisdom (to just drop a bomb on the house) and go with the more risky SEAL team invasion!
This was a clear example of where our U.S. president was acting in his capacity as commander- in-chief. Thus, I was hoping that we could all rally around the “presidency”—just for this moment in time! There is plenty of time for partisanship; but could we put this off for maybe a day or two?
My dream would have also been for the media to focus more on the commitment and dedication that it takes to become a Navy SEAL and also what it takes to become a member of the elite SEAL Team 6.
These men are not a group of chickens who can just lay eggs indiscriminately and move on with their lives. Our nation has asked them to be like pigs—to provide bacon for our country—when you ask a pig for bacon, you are asking for a total commitment.
The training they endure is nothing short of grueling. To become a Navy SEAL, you must forsake everything else—even your wife and kids.
Bin Laden’s death showed me everything that makes America great. When America gets serious, we can tackle any problem or obstacle before us.
But, the question is, are we willing to pay the price again to be the best as a nation. Are politicians wiling to tone down the partisanship and do what’s in the best interest of America? Are parents willing to become more engaged in their children’s lives? Are corporate executives willing to create more opportunities for Americans, even if it means paying more taxes and not moving jobs overseas? Are college and university presidents willing to stop indoctrinating and start educating our students? Is the clergy willing to, once again, become the true moral compass of our society? Is the media really willing to report the news and not distort and become part of the news?
If and when we commit to become SEALs in our own spheres of influence, all of America benefits. We will become better teachers, parents, spouses, politicians, preachers, and businessmen.
SEALs are totally committed to being the best, but yet they seek no recognition. We will never know the names of those responsible for killing bin Laden; and that’s fine with them. They spend years of their lives training for opportunities that may never present themselves. They spent months training for the bin Laden mission and it was over in less than an hour!
But, if we can make America and Americans better, it can last a lifetime. Now that should get everyone’s seal of approval!
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com) & U.S. Africa Magazine (www.usafricaonline.com).