Many people on social media as well as some in the mainstream media are assuming that the “OK” signal flashed by some Army and Navy cadets during the televised football game on Saturday between the two military academies is symbolic of, or actually representative of, a “white power” sign.
And now, on top of these rush-to-judgment smears in today’s PC-drenched culture, officials at both West Point and Annapolis are trying to determine if indeed their cadets and midshipmen were flashing a racist symbol during the game — or not.
President Donald Trump, as has been his tradition since his election, attended the game this year in Philadelphia — his third time in attendance as president.
And his presence on Saturday, inexplicably but not unexpectedly, given the culture, gave some an excuse to start talking about white supremacy issues.
The young people, in this analyst’s view, were using the decades-old and familiar “OK” hand gesture when cheering on their teams during the contest.
Others have described the signs as the “circle game.”
Here’s what USA Today reported, in part, about the issue: “Questions erupted during the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia when students appeared to make the ‘white power’ hand symbol during a pregame broadcast. Spokespersons from the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy told USA Today Sports they have been made aware of the issue — which blossomed on social media as the game wore on — and the schools are looking into it.”
And check out this tweet on it all:
As an American,
As a Navy Dad,
As a decent human being…
…you hate to see racist West Point cadets emboldened by the presence of the Racist-inChief at an #ArmyNavyGame to throw up the "White Power" sign on national TV.
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) December 14, 2019
While it’s true political correctness has infected the military culture for some time — it saw its spike during the years of the Obama administration — this new harbinger of left-wing cultural activism would be thought to be the preserve of leftist ideological warriors at civilian campuses across the nation.
But the United States Naval Academy put out a statement on Sunday. “Based on findings of the investigation, those involved will be held appropriately accountable,” said Annapolis spokeswoman Cdr. Alana Garas in a statement quoted by The Wall Street Journal.
And the United States Military Academy at West Point followed suit. “We’re looking into it,” said Lt. Col. Chris Ophardt, a West Point spokesman, soon after the sign appeared on national television on Saturday afternoon.
“I don’t know what their intention is,” he also said in his statement, as The Wall Street Journal noted, too.
This analyst is third-generation military, comes from a naval family, is an Army veteran, has a Navy veteran son, lives in Annapolis — and is proud to count naval academy staff and midshipmen as friends.
But the reaction — which involves spending taxpayer dollars and military time and resources to ascertain whether academy students used a long-accepted sign for general approval to somehow dog-whistle a white supremacist message — doesn’t make sense to me.
It some ways it seems akin to what the Navy did in the 1990s, when it briefly experimented with “blue cards.” Blue cards were an item a recruit could pull out during initial training and mandate a personal halt to the exercise if he or she were feeling stressed.
Many pointed out this program would give recruits a false sense of options, as it would be unlikely a military assault would be called off in wartime because personnel were feeling “stressed.” It also is even more unlikely an enemy combatant in the field would react with decorum to the employment of such an option during active operations. The program was dropped and never revived.
So, on Saturday, left-wing individuals across the nation — both online and in the media — decided to “see” something horrible in the students’ harmless Saturday football game activities. And now there’s an investigation into the gestures at two military academies.
An investigation into sports enthusiasm during one of our nation’s traditional athletic rivalries is in the same spirit as the “blue cards,” as this analyst sees it. It’s an attempt to impose leftist civilian social engineering on a warrior culture.
See this tweet — and share your own thoughts.
Jumping to the conclusion that this was meant as a white power symbol is idiotic. The cadet of color is clearly making the same sign on the top of his soda. The academies are right to look into it, but smearing these guys on a wild hunch is unconscionable. https://t.co/HXO1voVaTx pic.twitter.com/8uLjdza9UJ
— Erin Gaetz (@ErinGaetz) December 15, 2019