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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/9/21

The Winds of Change: Mr. Stein's Lesson for the United States

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Xi Jinping in USA.
Xi Jinping in USA.
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When I was a sixth-grade cadet at one of the nation's premier military academies (S.C.M.A.), there was a cadet in my class named Mr. Stein. In military school last names are who you are; few of us knew, or cared to know, first names. I was one of few black cadets in the entire academy, and the only one in both my company and class. In my class, I had one academic rival; which is saying a lot because these kids were very rich and very smart. I was the only relatively poor scoundrel around along with being the singular Black Person in the United States. The aforementioned academic rival was named Mr. Stein.

The prepubescent Mr. Stein was a gaunt figure of a child, bordering on emaciation. He was tall with blonde hair, and wore what we called at that time "coke bottle" glasses. He was almost demure in his mannerisms, though strictly military in his countenance (we all were). He was a quiet boy and he was an intellectual beast. There were two ribbons/bars that one received for superior academic abilities and one of them was a solid brown which represented a consistent 4.0 average; a small brass number would attach to the bar for the times you had received it. The second ribbon/bar for academic excellence was half-blue on one side and half-white on the other; this bar represented a consistent 3.9 average. No matter the grade, it was rarefied air to receive either. There were ribbons and bars for drill-team, marksmanship, conduct, service, all kinds of stuff, but the academic bars were the most coveted aside from rank. Mr. Stein perpetually received numbers on his brown bar. The only other cadet in our company with an academic bar was yours truly, but I had the blue and white one. I wanted that damned brown bar so bad I could taste it, but I never got it. This is my circuitous way of saying that I much admired Mr. Stein. He was a really nice kid; I hate to use the word "sweet" but, he was. I think he admired me also. Which was likely amplified by his fascination of me being the "gifted colored cadet". Quite the novelty, I have always been.

Mr. Stein, consistent with his peaceful and gentle demeanor, did not engage in conflict or roughness other than what may have been mandated. He spoke softly and was the essence of a gentleman, and I'd bet diamonds to doughnuts he is still one today. I, on the other hand, had to survive in two opposite worlds and so going rogue was a talent that society bred in me despite my spiritual and genetic rejections. Point is, other cadets were unlikely to bully me because every weekend I went back home to the ghetto, whereas Mr. Stein went home to a mansion complete with servants. He had no familiarity with the societal-bipolarism that has always been a part of my life. Thusly, Mr. Stein got bullied a lot by the one bully in our company, Mr. Gordon.

Mr. Gordon was a heavy-set sequoia of a kid, and not an ounce of it was fat. He had red-hair and freckles everywhere. He also liked to humiliate Mr. Stein. He would pull the books out of Stein's desk. He would tape insulting things on the back of Stein's uniform; just a real anal orifice. And, I'd bet diamonds to doughnuts he is still one today. This harassment went on for months and months. When Mr. Gordon would smack the books out of his hands and they would go sprawling on the deck Mr. Stein, defeated and meek, never said a word and went about picking up his belongings continuing to be a stellar cadet. Years later, he would be Valedictorian.

One day (and much the stormy one by Southern California meteorological standards), while heading to the mess-hall for lunch, Mr. Gordon initiated his typical bullying of Mr. Stein. As many of us had done in the past, we admonished Mr. Gordon to leave Mr. Stein alone. However, on this particular day, Mr. Stein said "it's okay". No sooner than he said that, he picked up his belongings. He, then, took off his glasses and placed them in his locker, then he turned around (figuratively and literally). He whipped Mr. Gordon's ass from one end of that hallway to the other; and I mean he drew blood. The shock among all was not only palpable, it was paralyzing. I thought he was going to kill Mr. Gordon, I actually did. Finally, Captain Ward became present; and when you saw that white-haired, retired Navy Seal you assumed the stiffest attitude of attention you could muster, immediately. Captain Ward carried a stick with him, at all times, the circumference of a broom handle and about 2-3 feet long. It was a pale green and had become acquainted with my backside on more than a few occasions; whereas it was merely a commanding officer's quirky accoutrement to Mr. Stein of which he had no practical experience in terms of its deployment. Captain Ward, knowing both personnel involved, simply ordered Mr. Stein to stand down and commanded "as you were", he said nothing else. We all proceeded, albeit zombie-like, to the mess-hall and Mr. Gordon went to the infirmary. The storm gathering that day was only the beginning of Mr. Gordon's troubles.

Mr. Gordon was a "legacy" cadet at the academy, as were his brothers fore and aft. Mr. Gordon came from a wealthy family that had a lot of clout in terms of the politics of the school administration, but none of that could outweigh the runt named Mr. Stein. One would imagine that the ignominy of the physical trouncing was enough for Mr. Gordon, and I believe it was. However, the universal order of things can be more brutal than anything perpetrated by a singular mortal, or group of mortals. The universal order of things, is the universal order of things. The universe has no concept of time but it mandates order, and order will come. Only a fool does not know this; and no human can claim supremacy or superiority by being oblivious to the facts in this regard. Order must come, for it is the rudiment of our existence.

Mr. Stein unleashed a Pandora's Box on Mr. Gordon by vanquishing him. And, though he was done with the circumstance the universe was not. That entire semester, every cadet that Mr. Gordon had bullied made a date with him. You see, Mr. Stein freed them, thusly giving them courage.They realized that Mr. Gordon was, in actuality, a paper-tiger that only preyed on the weak and those that he perceived to be so.They realized that if the nerdy, mild-mannered personage of Mr. Stein could beat Mr. Gordon, so could they. Mr. Gordon found himself in a smorgasbord of hurt for quite the time and he was never the same. After all, who would be after being a bully subjected to abject humiliation leading to a steady diet of ass-whippings? Time after time, Mr. Stein would plead with Mr. Gordon to leave him alone, to treat him with respect. Sometimes he would even cry (a death knell in military school). I am uncertain if he tired of pleading or ran out of tears, as that would be mere speculation on my part, but one thing was certain: he got tired of being abused.

The Gathering Storm.

I have always been fascinated by the weather. In fact, I once thought of being a meteorologist, until a European-American professor told me "no one is looking for a black weather-man". She actually said that to me. Then came Spencer Christian, Mark McEwen and Al Roker; all three on the three major networks at the same time period. Odd how the media uses "people of color". Needless to state that the professor turned out to be unprescient, if not an idiot. During my summers in Kansas as a child, I would marvel at the incredible violence of the weather, how the sky would change from contrasting colors of bright blue and bright white clouds to an even grey color as the storm organized. Then, the sky became almost black and the tempest was born. Black weather, man.

For the first time, the United States has been added to an annual list of "backsliding" democracies. Which is rather stunning in that the United States has always been backwards in many respects, which is why it's politicians are perpetually employing rhetoric containing the word "back". If I had a dime for every time I have used the word "backwards" referencing the United States I would have a fortune akin to that of Jeff Bozo. Ergo, this sudden revelation by the geniuses that revealed it is rather unspectacular but, nonetheless, significant.

Russia is massing troops on Ukraine's border. Which, as far as I am concerned, is Russia's affair given the geographical proximity of the two countries and the history of the region. The United States and, more broadly, "the Western World" conducts itself as though it owns the world and all that it contains. Europeans are the only people on the planet governing and living on lands/whole continents that they do not come from, and took by unspeakable violence (Canada, United States, Australia and New Zealand). Russia and President Putin are sending a message to U.S. hegemony, arrogance, violence and greed. Russia shares a border with China.

There is fear and trepidation afoot because the "Chinese now have the ability to invade Taiwan" and may be preparing for such an invasion. Which, as far as I am concerned, is China's affair given the geographical proximity of the two countries and the history of the region. Besides that, China has always had the capacity to "invade" Taiwan; Taiwan is part of China and always has been. If the Chinese were to invade that which they already inhabit, the United States is not going to do a damned thing about it. Any military conflict that the United States might fantasize would be principally naval. The Chinese Navy is the largest in the world depending on how one wishes to torture statistics in terms of naval assets as there may be a claim to that crown by none other than the DPRK. In every conceivable war-game scenario with China as the enemy the U.S. gets crushed. Further, just a few months ago, China and Russia held joint naval drills in the latest sign of their growing political and military alignment. China and President Xi are sending a message to U.S. hegemony, arrogance, violence and greed. China shares a border with Russia, and the DPRK. Those in the United States that covet the little screen that is, in many cases, smarter than they are will be in major trouble should conflict break out as Taiwanese manufacturers account for 90% of the semiconductors that U.S tech firms depend on. The effects of such a conflict would jeopardize the United States in ways that are unfathomable.

Just a few days ago, Iran abandoned any compromises it had made in talks to revive its 2015 nuclear deal with major powers; particularly the United States. Iran has been subjected to crippling sanctions driven by the United States that have resulted in the death and suffering of its people. Iran has had enough and has a potent military, including the formidable Artesh Navy. Since 2019, the Navy has had joint military exercises with Russia and China, which it aims to conduct annually. The Iranians control the Strait of Hormuz. Should the Strait of Hormuz suffer interruption in traffic, the United States is toast. Air superiority means nothing without naval superiority; additionally Iran is an emerging nuclear power. A message is being sent to the United States by the Iranians.

Four months ago, the longest war in U.S. history ended in Afghanistan with the enemy, the Taliban, vanquishing the United States. The United States did not "withdraw", the United States retreated. People portrayed as "backwards", "living in caves" and eating goats sent the United States packing and won the war of attrition. Determined people can overcome incredible odds; as exemplified by the Vietnamese. A message was sent to the United States by Afghanistan and the Taliban government. On a more ominous note (if there could possibly be one), the only nuclear weapons not in the hands of Europeans, and I broadly include Russia, are in Asia. China, North Korea, India and Pakistan are all nuclear powers and Afghanistan shares borders with China, Pakistan and Iran. The only nuclear weapons ever to be on the African continent were held by Europeans in so-called South Africa (and I suspect they are still there) but the day will come when some Black people have nukes, too. Black weather, man.

The winds of change are upon us. In 2001, I was a sub-contractor with the largest defense contractor in the world (SAIC). At some point in my tenure, I was involved with a project called C.A.T.S. I will not dare say anymore about that program as I desireth not unwanted visitors on my doorstep, but let me suffice it to say that C.A.T.S. was an acronym for Catastrophic Alert Tool Set. The United States has been actively planning for a mass casualty event, meaning hundreds of thousands, for a long time. Everything from which bridges and roads are out to mass cremations and everything in between. In the end, maybe ignorance is, in fact, bliss. Woe be unto to the unstupid.

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Rohn Kenyatta is a contributing columnist for Black Agenda Report, the Los Angeles Sentinel as well as other media outlets international and domestic.

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