By Andy Weddington
Thursday, 29 November 2018
You don't get any medal for trying something, you get medals for results. Bill Parcells
With November coming to an end I've been at this commentary for 10 years; with words published about every three days.
That's a lot of writing. More than foreseen. Especially when starting the target was to give it a go for six months.
Sense of duty, growing follower base, being republished in all sorts of venues, and frequent notes from strangers (most on a positive note) world-wide have fueled the additional nine years and six months.
I've kept it clean. Resisting advertisers. No donation buttons. No GoFundMe efforts. Free.
But nothing is free. The writing means painting time (and pursuit of other interests) is sacrificed and at a cost. And just when I've about decided to gracefully bow out something comes along that compels one more commentary.
And so that happened, again, early this morning.
A retired Marine friend sent link to Ann Coulter's latest article - TRUMP'S GREAT WALL BECOMES TRUMP'S GREAT STALL - published yesterday.
Funny, her timing. The wall's been on my mind too.
Ms. Coulter I like - she calls it the way it is.
Her opening sentence ...
"For those of us who were ecstatic the night Donald Trump was elected president, who watch election night videos over and over again, it used to be easy to defend him against the charge that his is just a BS-ing con man who would say anything to get elected."
Her closing sentence ...
"Trump will leave no legacy whatsoever. Without a wall, he will only be remembered as a small cartoon figure who briefly inflamed and amused the rabble."
And in between many sentences outline President Trump's excuses.
While reading, Paul Moore, Jr. came to mind.
More than 35 years ago on a Saturday morning I reported to Lieutenant Colonel Paul Moore, Jr.'s office for duty as a new series officer in his Second Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina.
As I recall, four of us reported at the same time having just graduated a two-week school.
Clad in the Service C uniform we were shown into the CO's office - he seated behind his desk, too in the service C uniform.
Lieutenant Colonel Moore did not rise to greet us.
Rather, he cordially welcomed his new lieutenants and told us to have a seat (a sofa, couple of arms chairs, and coffee table fronted his desk).
What first caught my attention was a sentence on a wood sign positioned just above his head on a bookshelf behind him. To that in a moment.
Lieutenant Colonel Moore could not have been more welcoming.
After introductions and not 15 minutes into his comments he broke into a smile, laughed a little, and stood up. He was not wearing a belt. Oops!
Somewhat embarrassed, he confessed forgetting his belt and his wife was inbound with one.
How could a new member of the command not like this guy!
His wife arrived. He slipped on his belt. And we continued.
The sign behind his desk had made an impression.
Lieutenant Colonel Moore - a regular visitor to training areas to assess his officers, DIs, and recruits - was an exacting personality.
If things were not right they were wrong. And he was not bashful, always professionally, about pointing out imperfections and his expectations.
He was demanding. Necessarily and rightfully so. Turning recruits into Marines is important business.
The occasion not important but during a visit early in training to my first series as the commander he took a look around at the lay of land and after I completed my report of the series he said, "Lieutenant, I've been the CO for about a year and a half. You're the first to figure this out." He smiled and left.
I did not rub it in to the DIs who had tried their best to talk me out of my idea. So that idea became series SOP. Everyone was happy; especially the CO (and I did not see him as often as other series commanders).
The sign behind his desk had set the tone, had made for the idea.
"Don't Confuse Effort With Results."
Simple as that.
President Trump, as to his "great big beautiful wall," is confusing effort (posturing; brash public comments; tweets; etc.) with results.
That's the bottom line. And Ms. Coulter's point.
I have not seen Lieutenant Colonel Paul Moore, Jr. in more than 33 years. But am still thankful for all he taught me.
And his successor was a damn good (teaching) CO, too (whom I have seen and enjoyed visiting with on a few occasions in recent years).
Leaders both. Gentlemen both. And for them, and a lot of superb officers and drill instructors, three years at Parris Island was my defining tour of duty; there was no confusion between effort and results.
I'm not happy - nor do I suspect neither former CO, who measured success in results not effort - is happy about the stalled wall.
Build the wall, Mr. President.
The rabble expects results!
Otherwise, Ms. Coulter has foretold your fate - for starters, you won't get a medal.