And there it was, from a man in the Utah National Guard I’d recently met whom I’ll call “Dave.” I always read anything sent by military men, active or otherwise. But this time I had another reason that immediately woke me up. The subject line, in all caps, which read:
Fwd: POTUS MESSAGE REGARDING THE SHUTDOWN (UNCLASSIFIED)
First my eyes narrowed with curiosity and more than a little confusion. Why was the President writing to Utah Guardsmen about the shutdown? It all became crystal, and ominous, within the forward message sent by Dave:
In addition to my part time position in the Utah Guard, I’m a full time civilian employee of DoD and am among those who have been furloughed this week. I went into work anyway this morning to check on some things and saw this email from the President (below). I was stunned. I have been doing this for a long time and have never seen our communication system usurped like this. I filed a formal complaint with the IG (also below), but do not expect anything to come of that. I feel compelled to do more. There are some things I can’t do because they would involve misusing official networks and equipment, which is what the President did only I wouldn’t get away with it like he probably will. I think it could do some good if a group of us furloughed employees could make it known that we are not buying it. That would really undermine the narrative that those guys are trying to sell. I don’t have a Facebook page, a twitter account, or a blog and have never wished that I did. I can’t stand to just sit still for this.
That’s the story. Any thoughts?
Well, so much for the narrow-eyed Dirty Harry look. As I read the formal complaint he had filed with his Inspector General, Clint Eastwood vanished and I segued with break-neck speed into wide-eyed Home Alone.
In his formal complaint, Dave listed the following outrages and concerns:
- The message contained no instructions or practical information.
- It was a brazen political message whose purpose was to push the President’s agenda.
- This is the first time in his career that he has seen such a blatantly partisan message sent via National Guard networks and equipment.
- This is not compatible with UTNG Regulation 25-1a, USE OF FEDERAL/STATE GOVERNMENT COMMUNICATIONS AND SERVICES, which states in paragraph 3-1-i, “Employees will not access, retrieve, store, process, display, send or otherwise transmit…partisan political activity; political or religious lobbying…”
- These rules serve a good purpose in protecting the reputation of this institution and the morale of service members.
- This has caused him to question, for the first time in 25 years, his desire to continue to serve, as being subjected to condescending, misleading, and highly questionable propaganda at work is intolerable.
- This letter is unprecedented, at least in his 25 year career.
- It needs to be corrected.
- Was the National Guard compelled to distribute this email?
- If the NG wasn’t compelled, can a second email be sent out explaining the October 1st email was inappropriate, and if it was compelled, perhaps also send the contrasting political point of view?
- If there is no recourse available, can we expect more such emails in the future?
I was frozen for a moment, my eyes now gritty from having not blinked for more than a handful of seconds. It was just stillness, the kind where you feel sucked out and back in, no images around you and completely silent, save for the loud thumping of my heart in my ears. Dave is not the type of man to over-emote. He is a rational, hard-working and self-disciplined individual. So the determination tinged with anger in the complaint he filed filled me with a sense of dread. I paused long enough to mentally check my emotions before I read further. This would require reason on my part since I knew that was something utterly lacking in the President.
That and a soul.
I copied and pasted exactly what was sent to me, the only alterations being to remove any identifiers that might reveal the names of my friend and his associates, and to tighten up spacing. I didn’t even adjust the font. I wanted you to see it as Dave saw it…and as I saw it.
From: NG UT UTARNG Mailbox Message Board
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 3:07 PM
To: NG UT UTARNG List ALL Members;
Subject: POTUS MESSAGE REGARDING THE SHUTDOWN THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON
To the dedicated and hard-working employees of the United States Government:
The Federal Government is America’s largest employer, with more than 2 million civilian workers and 1.4 million active duty military who serve in all 50 States and around the world.
But Congress has failed to meet its responsibility to pass a budget before the fiscal year that begins today. And that means much of our Government must shut down effective today.
I want you to know that I will keep working to get Congress to reopen the Government, restart vital services that the American people depend on, and allow public servants who have been sent home to return to work. At my direction, your agencies should have reached out to you by now about what a shutdown means for you and your families.
Today, I wanted to take a moment to tell you what you mean to me-and to our country.
That begins by saying thank you for the work you do every day-work that is vitally important to our national security and to American families’ economic security. You defend our country overseas and ensure that our troops receive the benefits they deserve when they come home.
You guard our borders and protect our civil rights. You help small businesses expand and gain new footholds in overseas markets. You guide hundreds of thousands of people each day through the glory of America’s national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Statue of Liberty. And much more.
You do all this in a political climate that, too often in recent years, has treated you like a punching bag. You have endured three years of a Federal pay freeze, harmful sequester cuts, and now, a shutdown of our Government. And yet, you persevere, continuing to serve the American people with passion, professionalism, and skill.
None of this is fair to you. And should it continue, it will make it more difficult to keep attracting the kind of driven, patriotic, idealistic Americans to public service that our citizens deserve and that our system of self-government demands.
Public service is noble. Public service is important. And by choosing public service, you carry on a proud tradition at the heart of some of this country’s greatest and most lasting achievements.
In fact, more than 50 current or former Federal employees have received the Nobel Prize for their efforts. It was grants from the Department of Energy that helped businesses unlock new sources of renewable energy, and from the National Science Foundation that helped entrepreneurs like the founders of Google change the world. It is your efforts that will help this country meet the great challenge of our time-rebuilding an economy where all who work hard can get ahead.
So while the budget fights in Washington are too often partisan, your service to the country must never be. As one of my predecessors, President George H.W. Bush, once said, “There is nothing more fulfilling than to serve your country and your fellow citizens and to do it well. And that is what our system of self-government depends on.”
This shutdown was completely preventable. It should not have happened. And the House of Representatives can end it as soon as it follows the Senate’s lead, and funds your work in the United States Government without trying to attach highly controversial and partisan measures in the process.
Hopefully, we will resolve this quickly. In the meantime, I want you to know-whether you are a young person who just joined public service because you want to make a difference, or a career employee who has dedicated your life to that pursuit-you and your families remain at the front of my mind. Your agency leaders and I will continue to defend your work at a time when that work has rarely been more important. We will continue to work with your agencies to keep you and your families apprised and informed of what is happening. And I will continue to do everything in my power to get the House of Representatives to allow our Government to reopen as quickly as possible, and make sure you receive the pay that you have
Thank you, again, for your service, your sacrifice, and everything you do every day for this country we love so much.
HOW DARE HE? Who told this epic mental midget that this was a good idea, that this would assuage the masses? This letter clearly portrays the ill-gotten attitude of one who thinks he just turned in the top essay at school, and that all the other kids will agree. Why, he can practically see the standing ovation now!
It has now become business as usual that this President and those who prop him up have no problem at all breaking every law, oath, and covenant they have ever made. Some of the time it is clearly their profound ignorance…let’s face it, they are a low IQ’d lot, every last one of them.
But generally, it is narcissistic lawlessness. The arrogance and elitism is so overwhelming now, so despicable that the players are actually taking on a troll-like appearance, a phony veneer devoid of light, intelligence, or justice. Watching them is painful; hearing their foolishness sickens the stomach and grieves the soul.
And we can’t even feign ignorance. He has a long pattern of deception and disregard for the law throughout his life, starting with the confusion over his birth, lies and deceptions at every turn, pretends (poorly) at Christianity, robs the coffers, ruins careers and lives, runs guns, steals elections…and those are just the ones we know of. God help us when the floodgates open…no ark can save us from the flood of sin we have allowed to be unleashed.
So I end, stunned as Dave was, with this one carefully-worded, nostril-flaring sentence: Can we arrest him NOW?
Keep the faith, bros, in all things courage, and no substitute for VICT