A Needle in a Needlestack

When I was on active duty in the Air Force, we had an office called the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office. When anyone had a complaint that they were being discriminated against based on gender, or race, or whatever, that office would independently research, investigate and report findings. While a squadron commander could request an EEO investigation, the EEO reported to the next higher commander.

The system reached a point of overload pretty quickly. People blamed supervisors and commanders for their not being promoted, or their drinking problems, or marital issues and filed EEO complaints. If a squadron commander would not approve a young airman’s request to go to another squadron to which her current boyfriend was assigned, the situation was OBVIOUSLY due to sexual harassment and warranted EEO investigation. The system was overloaded.

After the Tailhook Scandal in the 1980s and 1990s, if any charge was alleged against a commander they were assumed guilty and fired because it was less expensive to do that than it was to investigate. The system got so overloaded with spurious and minor complaints, the real ones were obscured.

Now, there were (and still are) undoubtedly real injustices occurring that deserved investigation and eventual punishment. Did anyone ever think the Hollywood casting couch really just disappeared? Did anyone ever think a politician’s lust for power would not include a lust for interns? Did anyone ever think moral relativism would arrive at bedrock truth?

Could this be the same situation with the NFL kneeling when the National Anthem is played? Or the Black Lives Matter sense of injustice? Has the choice of protest venues and behaviors obscured the intended message?

Does our culture really enjoy looking for a needle in a needlestack?


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