Rarely does CNN’s Don Lemon encounter a story these days that doesn’t leave him exasperated while mopping up a mess. However, Lemon was thrilled to experience a different emotion after witnessing the anti-racism lecture delivered by Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria that went viral late last week.
Silveria, who is head of the Air Force Academy, gathered all 4000 of his campus’ cadets for a 5-minute rant after the discovery of racially-charged graffiti outside the dorm rooms of black cadets. In response, he essentially ordered anyone who drops racial slurs to “get out” of the academy. And Lemon — who opened this segment by asking, “What is leadership?” — praised Silveria for not following the example laid out this week “from that top,” i.e., from the commander-in-chief:
“I couldn’t turn away from the general’s words. No one should. They are a stark reminder of everything our president is not saying. The general knows there aren’t many sides to racism. He knows people who protest inequality are not ‘sons of b*tches.’ The president should be ashamed of himself for dividing America when he could be bringing us together; dragging the country down instead of lifting us up. We need a leader, and that general — that speech — that’s what a leader sounds like.”
Lemon, of course, is referring to President Trump’s attacks on NFL players, owners, and coaches. While Puerto Rico drowned, the president obsessed over tearing down “unpatriotic” players as SOBs for taking a knee during the national anthem while ignoring the nature of their protests. Trump also called upon the NFL to force players to stand during the anthem, a move that’s already been adopted by some high schools that have booted players from teams for their own protests.
Whereas Silveria told all Air Force cadets that divisive behavior would not be tolerated. He encouraged everyone who witnessed it to video record evidence in order to stamp out further instances. Silveria also referenced Charlottesville and Ferguson as reasons why no one could close their eyes to the divides that are widening in the U.S. today — in part because of those notorious “both sides” comments made the wake of such tragedies.