Runaway Wokeness at the Air Force Academy
As the softest of the service academy targets, the AFA just keeps lowering the bar for the woke mob.
Integrity first. Service before self. Excellence in all we do. These are, ostensibly, the core values of the United States Air Force Academy. These days, though, they seem of a bygone era.
It’s hard to identify a moment or even a date at which the Air Force Academy stopped living up to those core values, when it started putting progressive politics above all else, but it didn’t just happen overnight. Instead, it’s been a death of a thousand cuts.
One of those cuts, a deep one, occurred seven years ago, when the academy removed a Bible verse from one of its cadets’ whiteboards, which are posted outside their rooms. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” reads Galatians 2:20.
Sadly, that simple verse was too much for an atheistic zealot named Mikey — yes, Mikey — Weinstein, the director of an organization called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. At the time, Weinstein insisted that 29 cadets and four faculty and staff members had contacted his organization to complain about the Scripture. So Weinstein contacted the academy and filed a complaint. Barely two hours later, the Bible verse had been scrubbed from the cadet’s whiteboard.
Weinstein said the Scripture created a hostile environment at the academy, and he showed his anti-Christian bigotry in the diatribe that followed: “It clearly elevated one religious faith over all others at an already virulently hyper-fundamentalist Christian institution. It massively poured fundamentalist Christian gasoline on an already raging out-of-control conflagration of fundamentalist Christian tyranny, exceptionalism and supremacy at USAFA.”
Wow. We don’t know what’s worse — the unhinged nature of Weinstein’s outburst or the fact that responsible adults at one of our nation’s service academies actually acted on it. But we suppose Weinstein knew what he was doing. The AFA is recognized as the softest target among the academies, and therefore the most attractive target. (Incidentally, our Mark Alexander has fought the good fight over the years with the AFA, and rightly so: His son was a graduate of the academy a few years back.)
But things have only gotten worse since then.
Last Thursday, the academy held a seminar titled “Transgender Visibility and Awareness in Our Air Force,” which focused on “awareness for transgender communities in the military.” Why on earth such a topic would merit even a single minute of time at the Air Force Academy is beyond us, but such is now the sorry state of affairs there.
“Events of this nature,” as The Washington Free Beacon reports, “are part of a wholesale push by the U.S. military to foster a more culturally inclusive environment. Critics say this type of training is part of a woke cultural agenda that is being mainstreamed by the Democratic Party’s far-left flank. The Army, for instance, mandates gender identity training and instructs its officers on the best time to offer subordinates gender-transition surgery.”
If that weren’t enough, last week we also learned of a diversity and inclusion training session being presented by the academy. Among other things, it instructs cadets to use words that “include all genders” and to refrain from saying things like “mom” and “dad” because some families are headed by “two moms, two dads.”
Finally, as we reported on Friday, the AFA is restricting “cisgender” men from a particular fellowship application. Indeed, the academy recently notified cadets interested in applying for the Brooke Owens Fellowship that only “gender minorities” will be considered. “If you are a cisgender man,” the application stated, “this program isn’t for you.” What about minority men, you ask? There’s a Patti Grace Smith Fellowship that’s only available to black cadets. Call it discrimination in the name of “equity.”
In an obvious effort at damage control — and obviously in response to an outpouring of anger from cadets’ families — USAFA Superintendent Richard Clark penned a letter to alumni, parents, cadets, and supporters which stressed: “Some of you may think this ["diversity” and “inclusion” training] is about political correctness, but I assure you this is all about preparing future warfighters.“
The Air Force Academy is located just north of Colorado Springs in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and it hardly seems possible that there’s a more magnificent location anywhere in which to learn. That learning, though, is costly. According to its website, an Air Force Academy education, which is granted at no cost to its cadets in return for their military service obligation after graduation, is valued at more than $416,000.
Those are our tax dollars at work. And we should demand better.
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