President Obama’s Inaugural Address

This one small person appreciated most parts of a good inaugural speech by President Obama. He focused a lot on the meanings of liberty, equality, cooperation and responsibility for the future. And on the need to make decisions; get past the impasse; move on from the decades of war; weigh our impacts on posterity. Here are two of my favorite excerpts…

“…We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth….”

“…We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity.  We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations….”

True whistleblowers are not afraid to leave their mark on the great Mall; indeed, they feel they must speak out, as responsible and knowledgeable citizens. More often than not, whistleblowers are the unsung heroes, who also endure retaliations from those threatened by the failures they expose. Such is clearly the case within FAA.

In this great country, especially in the last decade, we have a few dozen FAA whistleblowers who were heroic when they spoke out about FAA failures. The list of heroes damaged by entrenched FAA officials includes: Anne Whiteman, Peter Nesbitt, Gabe Bruno, Mary Rose Diefenderfer, Richard Wyeroski, Bogdan Dzakovic, Mark Lund, Charalambe Boutris, Douglas Peters, David Pardo, Rand Foster, Evan Seeley, James Hopkins, Ray Adams, Randall Buxton — far too many aviation professionals.* It is shameful that this happens, all the more so given how FAA always trumpets its purpose as safety and service. This record of hypocrisy marks a clear betrayal of the citizens — and the industry — FAA is supposed to serve.

*…this list stops at fifteen; there are dozens more FAA whistleblowers.

We have a new year. We have a fresh start. Now would be an excellent time for FAA’s leaders to step up — and lead. Set an example. Come clean, at least as much as Lance Armstrong did; admit FAA’s wrong-doings — the damages done against recent FAA whistleblowers — and make these heroes whole.

Give them Freedom and Liberty.

Jeff Lewis
January 2013

 [UPDATE, 6-12-13: Just located this critical review of Obama’s speech. It makes some good points about the power (and dominance) of rhetoric in recent presidential speeches. In view of the latest leaks about NSA monitoring of email data, the points are even more powerful.  1-22-2013