Elected leaders Must Work Transparently to Close the Growing Divide, Not Assist America’s Steady Fracture

Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance when the Senate convened last Wednesday, citing her solidarity for San Franscisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. While the issue of Colin Kaepernick has certainly been commented on, perhaps over-commented on, I find this particular incident to be of particular interest.

…Mrs. Nasheed was arrested by authorities with a weapon, despite her staunch support for anti-gun laws…

Why one might ask?  There are several reasons, first among them is the fact that I whole-heartedly believe that all individuals who choose to live in America should respect the hell out of our flag and stand at attention, whether during the National Anthem or Pledge of Allegiance.  I have stated it time and time again, we are not perfect -not even close -but there is no better country in the world in which to live, raise a family and achieve your dreams.  Furthermore, too many brave men and women have died defending this great nation for us to disrespect the flag, whether at a football game or in a Senate chamber.

In the case of Mrs. Nasheed, she is a State Senator and in a position of public office.  That of course does not mean she is not entitled to speak her mind or stand by those she feels are oppressed. Obviously, that is very much a part of being an elected representative.  However, that is not the point I wish to make. I believe that individuals in office should be able to choose the causes they are most passionate about and commit to making change for good.  I am certainly fine with the fact that Mrs. Nasheed truly believes there is inequality for African-Americans in the U.S., and I am quite certain that we can improve upon race relations as a country.

if this course is not corrected soon, our nation will fracture…

However, with this issue being so divisive and the perception of racism increasing to a level rivaling that of fifty years ago, I would hope that someone in elected office, or any other position of status, would try to quell the rapidly escalating situation that threatens to divide our country, perhaps more than any issue, and fight for change in a meaningful way.  Stand up for the flag and stand by America. We do not live in a third world country where the only option to stop violence and oppression is with more violence and oppression.

Sadly, no one seems to be rising to the occasion to defuse situations and I fear that the train has left the station and is speeding down a track for disaster.  What is further troubling is the fact that instead of leading from the Senate office on issues related to inequality and violence, Mrs. Nasheed has furthered the divide between her constituents and law enforcement by participating in protests that, as the world has witnessed, turned violent such as those in support of Michael Brown and the Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson. In fact, during said protest in Ferguson Mrs. Nasheed was arrested by authorities with a weapon, despite her staunch support for anti-gun laws.

I comment on all this as a national security expert, because we need accountability in public office, on both sides, and more importantly, because if this course is not corrected soon, our nation will fracture requiring mine and my colleague’s skills will in a location we never thought we would be deployed to, America.

By a Senior OpsLens Contributor


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