Revolutionary Paideia’s June 2010 Person of the Month: General Stanley A. McChrystal

Brigadier General Stanley McChrystal, US Army

Brigadier General Stanley McChrystal, US Army (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Each month (towards the end of the month), Revolutionary Paideia will honor a living or dead person who embodies (in some way) the notion of “unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing” this site represents. Revolutionary Paideia does not have to necessarily like the individuals it selects, but every effort will be made to honor someone for doing something that “unsettles,” “unnerves,” and/or “unhouses” people. When Revolutionary Paideia likes one of its monthly honorees, this will be openly disclosed.  At the end of each year, Revolutionary Paideia will select a living person (or one who has died in the same year) as Person of the Year. Living people who have been selected as a Person of the Month are not ineligible for the Person of the Year award.


Revolutionary Paideia’s inaugural Person of the Month award is presented to General Stanley A. McChrystal. If you do not agree with General McChrystal receiving this award, I would simply like for you to go ask President Obama if General McChrystal did not “unsettle, unnerve, and unhouse” him. Revolutionary Paideia supports General McChrystal because he was willing to break with tradition and criticize the current U.S. President and his administration. One of the core problems that General McChrystal expressed to a freelance writer for Rolling Stone with President Obama is his lack of engagement with the counterinsurgence efforts in Afghanistan.  General McChrystal has had a history of being outspoken on issues.  Before this incident, he had been outspoken about his advocacy for the “surge” strategy in Afghanistan before President Obama even had a chance to make a decision about whether he supported an increase in troops in Afghanistan. Although General McChrystal’s “surge” strategy was successful and President Obama supported it, many found that General McChrystal acted inappropriately. I just wonder why there was not this level of criticism for him as there was for his recent direct criticism of President Obama and his administration.


When General McChrystal was interviewed by the freelance writer for Rolling Stone, he knew that what he was saying would eventually get back to President Obama and the members of his administration referenced during the interview. This did not stop him from disclosing his problems with President Obama and members of his administration about their handling of the war in Afghanistan. I agree with General McChrystal that President Obama has seemed to lack engagement with the efforts in Afghanistan. It took tremendous courage for General McChrystal to challenge the U.S. President in the way that he did. While people can view what he said as being disrespectful all they want to, I think this incident reveals a serious flaw in the military code of conduct: a Commanding General should have the right to speak his mind in public about how he feels about anything or anybody, including the Commander-in-Chief.


While I would have preferred for General McChrystal to not have apologized for what he said, I understand the enormous political pressure his faced to cause him to give an apology. What is more important for me, however, is his great courage before he apologized. The apology represents his decency—not his cowardice. We need more people in America like General McChrystal who are willing to speak truth to power, and who are willing to tell people how they feel without being fearful of any repercussions. Now, I know President Obama really does not like dissent and I know that his creation of “a team of rivals” is a farce. He does not appreciate dissent—he made this clear when he “accepted the resignation” (also known as “fired”) of General McChrystal.


Again, Revolutionary Paideia congratulates General Stanley A. McChrystal for being Revolutionary Paideia’s inaugural Person of the Month. Americans should be proud of the distinguished service of this solider, leader, and hero. I appreciate your service General McChrystal and love your candor!


Antonio Maurice Daniels


University of Wisconsin-Madison


Happy Memorial Day

Filipino American World War II veteran in Hawaii

Filipino American World War II veteran in Hawaii (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


On this Memorial Day, I would like to give a special thanks to the men and women who serve so bravely and honorably in our American military. While great arguments and protests occur between civilians in America about foreign policy matters, the men and women who serve in uniform defend our liberty within our borders and abroad. I am so grateful for their service and sacrifice. The single greatest selfless act of compassion is for one to make the decision to commit himself or herself to defending our country. The purpose of this brief article is to celebrate our troops and veterans on this Memorial Day.


While you are debating about whether or not you support “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and whether or not you support wars being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan, I want you to realize that there are men and women who do not have time to worry about what side you come down on—they have to fight to keep you safe everyday so that you can continue to have these discourses. Our brave troops deserve our deepest support and appreciation. They face great dangers and threats so that we can live in peace in America. Our troops are our greatest treasure—we must value our precious treasure.


I really think that people should make a serious effort to thank our veterans in a meaningful way for their service, and pay homage to those who have given their lives in combat to protect our liberty. On a day like Memorial Day, Americans should united by the great purpose of this holiday. I am proud of what our veterans have done for this country. In the most personal way, they understand the real meaning and importance of freedom. We must never forget the great work of our veterans, and we should never allow a veteran to be homeless and/or to struggle economically. The great work that veterans have performed for freedom’s cause is enough for them to never have to worry about the basic necessities of life—we must make sure that they have these basic necessities too.


Today, I am thankful for all of my relatives and friends who serve and have served in our American military. I would just like to list some of them: Larry Tape, Willie Fred Flowers, Jerome Flowers, Xavier Kimbro, Ebony White, and Nicholas Head. I would also like to thank their family and friends who have to sacrifice so much for their loved ones who service in uniform. Far too often, we forget the sacrifices of the family and friends of people with loved ones in the military and those who have lost family and friends in combat. This is why I highly support First Lady Obama’s commitment to spouses of military families.


Instead of just throwing meat on the grill, make a special effort to show your support to our troops and veterans who allow us to enjoy this holiday. We live in such a great country and we should think deeply about those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to enable us to have the great country we have today and those who continue to allow us to enjoy this great nation. I am humbled and honored by all who wear and have worn an American military uniform. Today, I celebrate you and want you to know that you are truly appreciated!


Antonio Maurice Daniels


University of Wisconsin-Madison