Wednesday, February 29, 2012

West Point Military Academy

There is no such institution.
There is a taxpayer-supported college
At West Point, NY, which is officially,
The United States Military Academy.

In recent years, the name and location
Has been conflated into the WPMA.
Old grads like me cringe at that reference
Whenever we see or hear it in the media.

But our Association of Graduates and the
Domain of the official website now use
West Point as their identification of
The organization that they serve.

None of the other service academies
Can do that, although sometimes
The Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD
Was informally referred to as "Annapolis."

That makes no sense literally, because
Annapolis is the state capital of Maryland
And a historic city in its own right,
That happens to have USNA next door.

West Point, NY, however, is the academy.
That is, it is a tract of land owned by
The U.S. Government, i.e., the taxpayers
For the sole purpose of housing the academy.

It was not always so, of course.
West Point was the point on the Hudson River
Across which was stretched the Great Chain
To prevent a British linkup in the Revolution.

After the war, it became a school for
Training cadets for the Corps of Engineers,
Then logically became the site for an academy
To educate officers of the Regular Army.

We have to recognize and perhaps rejoice
At the misnaming of our Alma Mater and that
It is "West Point" that is engraved on our rings,
And to whom we sing "Hail Alma Mater'

Marketers call name recognition a priceless asset.
Which can be exploited, to be sure, but is also
An intangible spirit that has to be lived up to
By those who benefit from its existence.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How to Lose

My friend at church asks me,
"Do you think Obama can win?"
"No, I don't think he can win,
But the Republicans can lose!"

Now the Republicans are well on their way,
On their way to losing, that is,
As one by one, candidates quit the race,
Leaving a strange mix of competitors.

Worse yet is the roster of bystanders,
Those who might have been effective
In leading the country's citizens to accept
Living in the real world as grownups.

Changes need to be made, must be made
If we are to survive as a republic.
The tax code is a disaster;
The national budget rises through the roof.

Difficult decisions are a statesman's job.
The politician leads people where they
Say they want to go, whereas the statesman
Leads them where they need to go.

Who can tell us to rid ourselves
Of dependence on the largesse of a few
To food, clothing, shelter for all,
And the cure for all ills that befall mankind?

Some call for the fabled "white knight"
To ride into town bearing a banner
That reads, "Follow me and all will be well;
Obey me and you will be forever provided for."

History is replete with such false prophets
Who enslave their own people.
Freedom depends upon rulers
Becoming servants rather than masters.