If you think that the epidemic of thin-skinned, hypersensitive people is restricted to the Ivy Leagues, think again. When former U.S. senator and Naval Academy alumnus Jim Webb was offered a prestigious award from the Naval Academy, some of the graduates protested his selection. Their problem? He wrote an essay in 1979 that argued against letting women in the service academies.
"Several alumni have characterized the article as a 'manifesto' that empowered male midshipmen to harass their female classmates," one of Webb's critics said according to the Daily Caller. Webb, however, explained himself:
Over the past few days the decision by the Naval Academy Alumni Association to include me as a recipient of this year’s Distinguished Graduate Award has been protested by a small but vociferous group of women graduates based on a magazine article that I wrote 38 years ago. While this article was controversial, many of these protests have wrongly characterized my reasons for having written it, my views of women, and also my record of government leadership in addressing opportunities for women in the military and in our society. Having opened up more billets for women in the Navy than any Secretary of the Navy before me, it is particularly ironic to see that these same women who are criticizing me for a magazine article in 1979 have benefited so greatly from the policies I unilaterally put into place in 1987.
He went on to say that this award was supposedly given to him based on his resume:
I believe this nomination was made based on my leadership performance at the Naval Academy, my record as the most decorated combat veteran of this class, my having become the first Naval Academy graduate in history to serve in the military and then become Secretary of the Navy, my having become one of only three (now four) Academy graduates ever to be elected to the United States Senate, and my literary and journalistic achievements, including having written what is widely recognized as the classic novel of the Vietnam War, as well as having received an Emmy Award for my PBS coverage of the Marines in Beirut in 1983. It is also appropriate to mention that I wrote and guided to passage the Post – 911 GI Bill, the most generous veterans’ education bill in history, which has already enabled the education of nearly 2 million veterans.
He refrained from putting a mic drop emoji into his essay, but it screamed out for me. He went on to say, "I did not apply to be considered for the Distinguished Graduate Award, nor did I participate in the decision to give me the award. My classmates from the Class of 1968 nominated me." Do you sense a "but" coming? It was. He ultimately declined the award. Thanks but no thanks, you can keep your award. Okay, he said it more graciously:
From conversations with the Alumni Association, including information passed down from top Navy leadership in the Pentagon, it is clear that those protesting my receipt of this award now threaten to disrupt the ceremonies surrounding its issuance. I am being told that my presence at the ceremony would likely mar the otherwise celebratory nature of that special day, and as a consequence I find it necessary to decline to accept the award.
It is a crying shame that colleges are so bound by political correctness that their alumni associations can't even bestow an award upon a very distinguished alumnus. By the way, the "vociferous" women alum making it hard on Webb are seriously undermining their own narrative. Nothing says "women deserve to be a part of the service academies" quite like acting hysterically overwrought at the academy honoring someone who wrote an essay thirty-eight years ago they didn't like.
As Glenn Reynolds wrote, "This is not helping the standing of Annapolis, or of its graduates. It’s childish and stupid. But I’ll say one thing for our current era: The people who have long posed as the responsible adults are rapidly revealing themselves as neither."
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