Straight Talk

Times do change

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Letter to the Editor

In early March, Jack Teixeira, the former Massachusetts Air National Guardsman who posted classified intelligence reports online, switched his pleas to guilty in exchange for a sentence of 16 years in prison, avoiding espionage charges and a possible 60-year term. Teixeira will be 38 when he’s released, as opposed to 82.  Prosecutors found no evidence of espionage, he was just trying to impress his friends.

When I joined the Navy 64 years ago, my first assignment was a communications school in California. On day one the instructor announced, “Gentlemen, everything you will see in this school, everything you hear, everything you touch, is classified; don’t talk about it outside this space.”  

I thought, this ain’t rocket science, I can do this. Jack Teixeira apparently didn’t get the same message, and times do change.

I was in the workforce over 30 years following retirement from the Navy, many years in and around schools in five states. Near the end of my career, I had occasion to substitute teach. I was greeted one day, by an 8th grader, with “Morning Dude,” and he followed that up with, “I do pretty much what I want in this class; if you have any trouble with that you can speak to my mother, she works in the office.”  

Say what??? I cannot imagine any teacher I had in school having to accept that kind of disrespect … but times do change.

The last 60 years have exposed a notable decrease in acceptable standards, a consequential loosening of moral and ethical principles, and after three generations of depreciating parenting skills underscored by a lack of discipline and accountability, we find ourselves witnessing the collapse of American society leading to the irrefutable fact that simply telling the truth is as immaterial as violating an oath of office.

It seems to me that bad behavior has become the accepted norm in our homes, in our schools, the workforce, and throughout our society in  general. Consequently, the actions of the Jack Teixeira’s of our world surprise me not at all. He was sent out into the human community unprepared for obligations, responsibilities, or to be held accountable.

Unlike the former president, who is best described as a sociopathic narcissistic incompetent self-worshipping liar, he was sent out into the world fully cognizant and mindful that the crimes he was committing could lead to two impeachments and a 37-count indictment for stealing and storing some of the United States’ most closely held secrets – including information about nuclear programs, defense vulnerabilities, and attack plans – in his home at Mar-a-Lago, in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, his bedroom, an office, a storage room, etc. He then obstructed federal officials seeking their return.

Jack Teixeira has not been a free man since the day he was caught for what, in comparison, was a far lesser offense than that committed by #45, crimes which had global repercussions affecting our national defense and our allies, gravely serious acts for which the former president may never be held accountable. Meanwhile, he enjoys his freedom and the luxury of portraying the prosecutor in the case (Jack Smith) as “deranged,” a “thug,” and of course, a “Trump hater.”

That will appeal to the new Republican Party, the MAGA cult that Trump owns lock, stock, and barrel. However, I lean toward more equitable disciplinary action befitting the enormity of Trump’s crimes against the United States. As Saint Augustine would say, “Justice for the Unjust.” The lower level of the Pompeii dungeon seems appropriate. I’ve been there and it’s not a pleasant place.

David Snell, Franklin