Pat Lang clearly disapproves of the Senate vote to confirm George Casey as Chief of Staff of the United States Army. He contrasts Casey’s performance with that of George C. Marshall:
George Casey is probably a fine man, a man of honor, a man deserving of many things, but in his consistent failure to accurately inform the Congress of the United States and the citizens of the United States of the real situation in Iraq he fails the "Marshall Test" for me.
George Marshall sets the standard. He built the US Army and Air Forces that won World War Two. He was unafraid, modest, humble and without interest in currying favor with politicians. He told Franklin Roosevelt, who appointed him Chief of Staff, that he should not call him George, even in private, because it might be necessary in the course of the war for Roosevelt to fire him and he did not want their personal relationship to be a problem if that were necessary. When he was Secretary of State he rebuked Dean Rusk, his assistant, for not correcting him in public when he misspoke. Rusk said that he had not wanted to "hurt Marshall's feelings." Marshall replied that he "had no feelings other than those reserved for Mrs. Marshall." He was absurdly libeled by the egregious Joe McCarthy, and never said or wrote a word in reply. Never... I could go on.
While I’ve touched on standard setting before, no one should just sit back and blame leaders for failure to set standards. The only standard we can set is our own – and that one imperfectly.
There is a twist on the old saying that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” The twist is this: “when the going gets tough, the tough get going – right out of the room and let someone else do the work.” This twist is a variation on my own twist of Isaiah 6:8 - “Here I am, Lord – send somebody else!”
Many times we can take refuge in the old admonition to “sweep our own side of the street.” Someone else’s failure to set an ethical standard is no excuse for our own failures. On other occasions there may be no escape. We may find that we have to practice the ninth discipline of workplace spirituality and oppose our leaders in order to make the system work as it is intended. At that point we will need all the courage and discernment we can find. Of course, if we are afraid of the consequencees, we can always pray for the cup to pass away.