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The experience of the Navy SEAL who went to Yale University to study with the liberal snowflakes, in his own words

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The experience of the Navy SEAL who went to Yale University to study with the liberal snowflakes, in his own words  Empty The experience of the Navy SEAL who went to Yale University to study with the liberal snowflakes, in his own words

Post by Ben Reilly on Fri Dec 27, 2019 2:16 am

May of 2019, I was accepted to the Eli Whitney student program at Yale University. At 52, I am the oldest freshman in the class of 2023. Before I was accepted, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had seen the infamous YouTube video of students screaming at a faculty member. I had seen the news stories regarding the admissions scandal and that Yale was included in that unfortunate business. I had also heard the students at Yale referred to as “snowflakes” in various social media dumpsters and occasionally I’d seen references to Ivy League students as snowflakes in a few news sources.
I should give a bit of background information. I was an unimpressive and difficult student in public schools. I joined the military at 17 and spent close to 26 years in the US Navy. I was assigned, for 22 of those years to Naval Special Warfare Commands. I went through SEAL training twice, quit the first time and barely made it the second time. I did multiple deployments and was wounded in combat in 2009 on a mission to rescue an American hostage.
Every single day I went to work with much better humans than myself. I was brought to a higher level of existence because the standards were high and one needed to earn their slot, their membership in the unit. This wasn’t a one-time deal. Every time you showed up for work, you needed to prove your worth.
The vetting process is difficult and the percentages of those who try out for special operations units and make it through the screening is very low.
In an odd parallel, I feel, in spite of my short time here, the same about Yale.
After receiving my acceptance email and returning to consciousness, I decided to move to Connecticut and do my best in this new environment. Many people have asked me why I want to attend college at 52, and why at an Ivy League institution like Yale? I could have easily stayed in Virginia and attended a community college close to my home. Well, based on my upbringing in the military, I associated a difficult vetting process’ with quality and opportunity. I was correct in that guess. More importantly, I simply want to be a better human being. I feel like getting a world-class education at an amazing institution like Yale will help me reach that goal. Are there other places to get a great education? Of course, but I chose Yale.
My first class of the semester was absolutely terrifying. I don’t know if it was so for the kids in my class, but it damn sure was for me. It was a literature seminar with the amazing Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature, Professor David Quint. He is an amazing human in that he has dedicated his life to literature, and he knows what he is talking about. The discussion was centered around the Iliad. I had read a bit of the Iliad in the middle part of my military career and decidedly didn’t get it. Listening to Professor Quint demonstrated exactly how much I didn’t “get it.” The other students looked like children to me. Hell, they are children, but when they speak, and some of them speak english as their second language, they sound like very well-spoken adults. My Navy issued graduate degree in cussing wasn’t going to help me out here. These young students had a good grasp of the literature and although they lacked much experience to bounce it off of, they were certainly “all in” on trying to figure out its underlying meaning.
At one point, I said; “hey, I’m just an old guy sitting here with a bunch of smart people, but I think….” And they all smiled, some of them nervously because I was essentially an alien. I was an old dude with tattoos all over his arms, and a Dutch Shepherd service Dog brandishing a subdued American flag patch on her harness, sitting next to him. Professor Quint later approached me and said “hey, don’t downplay your intelligence. You are smart as well.”
I thought, I’ve got him fooled! Turns out I didn’t fool him at all when I turned in my first paper, but that is another story for another time.
After a few classes, I started to get to know some of my classmates. Each of them is a compelling human who, in spite of their youth, are quite serious about getting things done.
One young woman made a very big impact on me. She approached me after class one day and said; “I am really glad I can be here at Yale and be in class with you. My grandfather came to Yale and when WWII started, he left for the Navy and flew planes in the Pacific theater. After he came home, he came back to Yale, but he couldn’t finish. He locked himself in his room and drank and eventually had to leave, so I feel like I am helping him finish here at Yale and I’m doing it with a veteran, you.”
I was surprised and quite emotional. Exceptionally emotional. She went on; “I can send you a photo of him!” and I told her I would love one. That evening she sent me this photo of her grandfather.

I used to read stories about men like him and they are heroes to me. Clearly her grandfather is a hero to her as well, and she is going to make him quite proud. This connection with a WWII vet through his amazing granddaughter is a gift. One of many I receive on an almost daily basis in this amazing institution. I think it’s worth taking a moment here and acknowledging that this thing we now call “PTSD” has always been around and some of us veterans escape it while others, like me and likely this gent in the airplane, felt the sting of it.
One day in another lit class, I brought up a book I’d read a long time ago called “Taxi Driver Wisdom” by Risa Mickenberg, Joanne Dugan and Brian Lee Hughes.
After that class a couple of the students approached me and explained that their dads were cabbies when they first came to the United States, and that their fathers had told them that the things they sometimes heard from people in their cabs were amazing.
Think about that for a second. These students are first generation Americans. Their fathers immigrated to this country and started out by being taxi drivers. Now, their children are attending college at Yale University. I’m a patriotic man and those are the stories that help me understand how, in spite of the seemingly endless stream of negativity surrounding it, the American Dream is still alive and kicking. It makes my heart sing every time I see those kids.
Let me address this “snowflake” thing. According to the “Urban Dictionary” a “snowflake” is a “term for someone that thinks they are unique and special, but really are not. It gained popularity after the movie “Fight Club” from the quote “You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”
I hear the term occasionally from buddies of mine who I love, they say things like; “how are things up there with the liberal snowflakes?”
Let me assure you, I have not met one kid who fits that description. None of the kids I’ve met seem to think that they are “special” any more than any other 18–22-year-old. These kids work their assess off. I have asked a couple of them to help me with my writing. One young woman volunteered to help me by proof-reading my “prose” and, for the record, I believe she will be the President someday. I recently listened while one of my closer pals, a kid from Portland, Oregon, talked to me about the beauty of this insane mathematics problem set he is working on. There is a young man in our group who grew up in Alaska working on fishing boats from a young age and who plays the cello. There is an exceptional young woman from Chicago who wrote a piece for the Yale Daily news expressing the importance of public demonstrations in the light of a recent police shooting. She and I are polar opposites. I am the “patriarchy” at first glance, and she is a young black woman who is keen on public protests. Not the type of soul I generally find myself in a conversation with. We come from different worlds and yet we both read classic works with open hearts and minds.
We recently met with a prominent writer from a think tank who is researching the state of the humanities in the university setting. There were four of us students, two other young men, the young woman from Chicago, and me, the old guy. As the younger students started to express their thoughts, the young woman (truly a unicorn of a human) used the word “safe space” and it hit me forcefully. I come from a place where when I hear that term, I roll my eyes into the back of my vacant skull and laugh from the bottom of my potbelly. This time, I was literally in shock. It hit me that what I thought a “safe space” meant, was not accurate. This young woman, the one who used the phrase, “Safe Space” isn’t scared of anything. She is a life-force of goodness and strength. She doesn’t need anyone to provide a comfortable environment for her. What she meant by “safe space” was that she was happy to be in an environment where difficult subjects can be discussed openly, without the risk of disrespect or harsh judgement. This works both ways. What I mean is, this young woman was comfortable, in this University setting, wrestling with things like the Aristotelian idea of some humans being born as “natural slaves.” She was quite comfortable in that space. The question was, how comfortable was the 52-year-old white guy in that discussion? Did it make me uncomfortable? Yes. I’m grateful for the discomfort. Thinking about things I don’t understand or have, for most of my life, written off, is a good thing.

_________________
“Hatred is the coward's revenge for being intimidated.”

– George Bernard Shaw
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Post by Original Quill on Fri Dec 27, 2019 3:58 pm

Yale?  Liberal institution?  lol!

Yale University is slightly to the right of Attila the Hun.  He might as well have stayed in Virginia, gone to school at Charlottesville, on a scholarship from the Koch Brothers. Rolling Eyes

_________________
“Little thieves are hanged, but great thieves are praised.” — Old Russian proverb, offered by Vlad Putin to Donald Trump, Helsinki, July, 2018.

"What's your's is mine, and what's mine is mine." ― Old Republican proverb.

"I don't stand by anything."  ― Donald Trump, interview with John Dickerson, 5.1.17...  Putin tells him what to think.

“That's libertarians for you — anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.” ― Kim Stanley Robinson, Green Mars
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Post by Maddog on Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:59 pm

I hang out with lots of snowflakes. We keep each other on our toes. I don't think it's healthy to separate yourself from people unlike you. It makes you less tolerant of other view points.

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Post by eddie on Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:04 pm

Maddog wrote:I hang out with lots of snowflakes. We keep each other on our toes. I don't think it's healthy to separate yourself from people unlike you. It makes you less tolerant of other view points.  

Totally agree with that.

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Post by Ben Reilly on Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:05 pm

eddie wrote:
Maddog wrote:I hang out with lots of snowflakes. We keep each other on our toes. I don't think it's healthy to separate yourself from people unlike you. It makes you less tolerant of other view points.  

Totally agree with that.

Thirded. This political polarization has got to stop, because everyone has something worth saying.

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“Hatred is the coward's revenge for being intimidated.”

– George Bernard Shaw
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Post by Original Quill on Fri Dec 27, 2019 11:14 pm

Ben Reilly wrote:
eddie wrote:

Totally agree with that.

Thirded. This political polarization has got to stop, because everyone has something worth saying.

Distrust was started by Republicans. They are going to recreate a whole new set of norms before anyone will trust 'em again. It'll take decades.

T'woudt be easier to simply start a new party. Or a new country...watch this space. Wink

_________________
“Little thieves are hanged, but great thieves are praised.” — Old Russian proverb, offered by Vlad Putin to Donald Trump, Helsinki, July, 2018.

"What's your's is mine, and what's mine is mine." ― Old Republican proverb.

"I don't stand by anything."  ― Donald Trump, interview with John Dickerson, 5.1.17...  Putin tells him what to think.

“That's libertarians for you — anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.” ― Kim Stanley Robinson, Green Mars
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Post by Ben Reilly on Fri Dec 27, 2019 11:30 pm

Original Quill wrote:
Ben Reilly wrote:
eddie wrote:

Totally agree with that.

Thirded. This political polarization has got to stop, because everyone has something worth saying.

Distrust was started by Republicans.  They are going to recreate a whole new set of norms before anyone will trust 'em again.  It'll take decades.

T'woudt be easier to simply start a new party.  Or a new country...watch this space.  Wink

I wholeheartedly agree. They got us into this mess, and it's up to us to try to get us out of it. Just like it's been since the fucking Great Depression.

_________________
“Hatred is the coward's revenge for being intimidated.”

– George Bernard Shaw
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Post by Maddog on Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:38 am

Ben Reilly wrote:
Original Quill wrote:

Distrust was started by Republicans.  They are going to recreate a whole new set of norms before anyone will trust 'em again.  It'll take decades.

T'woudt be easier to simply start a new party.  Or a new country...watch this space.  Wink

I wholeheartedly agree. They got us into this mess, and it's up to us to try to get us out of it. Just like it's been since the fucking Great Depression.

Stop being a snowflake. Rolling Eyes

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The policy or practice on the part of people in positions of authority of restricting the freedom and responsibilities of those subordinate to them in the subordinates' supposed best interest.
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Post by Original Quill on Sat Dec 28, 2019 4:16 am

Ben Reilly wrote:
Original Quill wrote:

Distrust was started by Republicans.  They are going to recreate a whole new set of norms before anyone will trust 'em again.  It'll take decades.

T'woudt be easier to simply start a new party.  Or a new country...watch this space.  Wink

I wholeheartedly agree. They got us into this mess, and it's up to us to try to get us out of it. Just like it's been since the fucking Great Depression.

The problem is, "us" can't do it alone.  If one participant doesn't want to play without cheating...there's no getting back to fairness.  Everyone is going to cheat, until the common consensus is restored.  It can't be restored as long as one player continues to cheat.  Consensus is a very delicate thing.

Nor can consensus be restored until the party who broke the trust gives indication that he or she is trustworthy.  Which is more than just proving s/he is not cheating.  It is, until s/he can prove s/he is capable of trust.  That's a long, long time, particularly once the trust is willfully broken.

That is the problem with Trump.  He has broken our trust in the Constitution, our laws, our institution, and our sense of normalcy.  Now that he has established the precedent that you can break the china, someone else can come along and say that breaking china is acceptable...it's been done before.  The experience of the Navy SEAL who went to Yale University to study with the liberal snowflakes, in his own words  2190311264

I've thought long and hard about this, and I'm convinced that it won't work to put the pieces of the broken nation back together. We have got to start anew with smaller pieces. The original US was thrown together without thought for the diverse cultures...which would never work together. "All men are created equal..." together with slavery?? Lunacy! We start with the Pacific States of America, which territory still contains the core values of the original...at least, the northern states.

_________________
“Little thieves are hanged, but great thieves are praised.” — Old Russian proverb, offered by Vlad Putin to Donald Trump, Helsinki, July, 2018.

"What's your's is mine, and what's mine is mine." ― Old Republican proverb.

"I don't stand by anything."  ― Donald Trump, interview with John Dickerson, 5.1.17...  Putin tells him what to think.

“That's libertarians for you — anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.” ― Kim Stanley Robinson, Green Mars
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Post by Ben Reilly on Sat Dec 28, 2019 1:50 pm

Maddog wrote:
Ben Reilly wrote:
Original Quill wrote:

Distrust was started by Republicans.  They are going to recreate a whole new set of norms before anyone will trust 'em again.  It'll take decades.

T'woudt be easier to simply start a new party.  Or a new country...watch this space.  Wink

I wholeheartedly agree. They got us into this mess, and it's up to us to try to get us out of it. Just like it's been since the fucking Great Depression.

Stop being a snowflake.  Rolling Eyes

Stop being so shallow and tribalist.

_________________
“Hatred is the coward's revenge for being intimidated.”

– George Bernard Shaw
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Post by Maddog on Sat Dec 28, 2019 2:50 pm

Ben Reilly wrote:
Maddog wrote:

Stop being a snowflake.  Rolling Eyes

Stop being so shallow and tribalist.

You're about half right. I'm often shallow, but I'm far from tribalist. You rarely see me talking about one tribe being better than the other.

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pa·ter·nal·ism

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The policy or practice on the part of people in positions of authority of restricting the freedom and responsibilities of those subordinate to them in the subordinates' supposed best interest.
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Post by Original Quill on Sat Dec 28, 2019 6:05 pm

Maddog wrote:
Ben Reilly wrote:

Stop being so shallow and tribalist.

You're about half right. I'm often shallow, but I'm far from tribalist. You rarely see me talking about one tribe being better than the other.  

That's because presently it's an inconvenient moment of you.  You are a Republican. You know that Trump is a fool.  You also know that your Republican Party kau tau's to Trump.  Given that situation, you confine yourself to criticizing the progressives as a whole, and avoid any tribal dialectic.

You don't want to be caught supporting a fool, do you?

_________________
“Little thieves are hanged, but great thieves are praised.” — Old Russian proverb, offered by Vlad Putin to Donald Trump, Helsinki, July, 2018.

"What's your's is mine, and what's mine is mine." ― Old Republican proverb.

"I don't stand by anything."  ― Donald Trump, interview with John Dickerson, 5.1.17...  Putin tells him what to think.

“That's libertarians for you — anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.” ― Kim Stanley Robinson, Green Mars
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