A Father’s Worst Nightmare

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When will the mainstream media pick up on the Benghazi killings?

How do you get the attention of the media today? It’s is fascinating study of leadership the last several weeks of this Presidential campaign. Which leaders have shown courage? I’m so tired of hearing from people about how evil one candidate is and how he wants to take away everything from you.

I find it fascinating how we decide that which rights we should have defines our political point of view. It’s sad that we’ve come down to a screaming match in the final week of the election. Our attacks become shriller and our fears become more defined. Politicians say stupid things and the media whips up the crowd to a fevered pitch. How dare he say this? How ignorant he must be. Then they go about tarring and feathering everyone in the party he or she is associated. It’s interesting to me that the media plays a larger and larger game on who said what and where. They selectively pick and choose what to report, seeming to bear out the accusations that they are picking sides.

The silence is on Benghazi is deafening. You would never know that an America ambassador was killed there. You would never know that three other brave Americans were killed while our government stood by and watched, literally. A grieving father cries out to know what happened. Some on the left accuse him of politicizing his son Tyrone Woods’ death. He should be quiet until the investigation is completed. He must be quiet. Doesn’t he know there is an election going on? Doesn’t he understand the pain he might cause to the politicians who made the decisions to leave his brave son on the roof, waiting for help that never came? Doesn’t he understand what is at stake in this election?

Who speaks for the father? I lost a friend on a diplomatic mission many years ago. He was killed in a roadside explosion. I cannot imagine what his father must be going through. Here is what I can tell you, he is very brave man. You don’t raise your son to serve his country as a Navy Seal and not be an incredibly brave person. When you are a Navy Seal, it’s not just you that has courage. It takes an incredible community to support our special forces. You learn to deal with uncertainty and fear on a regular basis. You learn not to ask your family member many questions. You have to learn to live with the ambiguity. Your family member is vague about what they are doing and where they might be stationed. They build a wall around themselves to protect both themselves and their families. It’s a challenging life. It’s an adrenaline rush and it’s mentally challenging. Your team members are your extended family. They know you better than anyone else on the planet. They understand what you are going through and they are experiencing it themselves on a regular basis. They are the best our nation has to offer and they serve the cause of freedom. Some of them will die in God forsaken places and no one will know about their missions. They leave more questions than answers. They leave families behind that grieve for the rest of their lives that never know why they died.

I understand that pain. What happens when your child is taken from you? How does a father learn what he needs to know? How does your government let you know how decisions were reached? Do you really deserve to know the facts about your loved one’s death? When it occurs in a public venue, does it change what you do? The reports say that when Charles Woods met with the President and the Secretary of State, they seemed to look through him. They shared little connection with this grieving father. He had many questions and they took the party line. They talked about an insignificant movie and how they would bring the producer to justice. Some tried to build trust by talking about his son and try to bring a smile to his face. The attempt failed, but at least one of them tried.

Now what is the rest of the story? I believe these other people were in shock. They did not understand the personal nature of war. They thought that wars were fought with aircraft carriers and submarines, not with men and bayonets. To them, war is fought at a distance, using sophisticated drones and cruise missiles. As a father, you knew the personal price that war can exact. You have given the ultimate gift to our nation, your child. Your family will never be complete again. You will go to your grandchildren’s birthday parties and wish that your son could be there. You will try to make a deal with your own higher power that your life could be exchanged for your son’s. You will feel the pain on September 11 as long as you live.

So where is the media? The media that so actively engages to change the topic to a Senator from Indiana or Missouri, now? Where is the media who to speaks truth to power? They are MIA on your son’s death. They have gone silent on what happened overseas.

Lao Tzu once said “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” To all the families who lost family members in Benghazi and other places around the world fighting for freedom I wish you peace and courage for you and your family.

About the Author

Tripp Braden partners with entrepreneurs and senior executives on their high engagement C-Suite communication and content marketing strategies.

He believes client education is the best way of building trust and long term sustainable growth.

His consulting practice focuses on second stage entrepreneurs, technology organizations, and senior level business executives. Tripp partners with clients to develop high impact C-Suite communication and account based marketing strategies.

If you’re interested in learning more, contact Tripp at tbraden@marketleadership.net or send him an invite on LinkedIn. You can find Tripp’s business growth blog at Market Leadership Journal.

Tripp Braden – who has written posts on Empowering Serving Leaders.

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