A new poll shows one in four service members have seen examples of white supremacy within their own ranks — and that a majority of U.S. troops consider it to be a bigger threat to America than terrorism threats from overseas.
But many Americans do — including our men and women in uniform.
And according to a new poll by the Military Times, our armed forces are keenly aware of the harsh realities of racial tension and dangerous hatred.
“Nearly one in four troops polled say they have seen examples of white nationalism among their fellow service members,” according to the poll. And furthermore:
When asked whether white nationalists pose a threat to national security, 30 percent of respondents labeled it a significant danger, more than many international hot spots, like Syria (27 percent), Pakistan (25 percent), Afghanistan (22 percent) and Iraq (17 percent).
In other words, more troops believe white supremacy is a greater danger to America than current or recent U.S.-involved war theaters.
The military is one of the more conservative leaning segments of American society. Nonetheless, as Trump has refused to condemn white supremacy — or to properly respect the troops at all, for that matter — his support has dropped sharply in military communities.
Moreover, terror plots continue to be uncovered amid an emboldened generation of white nationalists — including a man who tried to bomb an airport in North Carolina to trigger a second Civil War.
Our troops, 40 percent of whom are minorities, recognize the danger. And many military officers are rising to the occasion to stand against hate in the ranks.
After an incident in which threatening racial slurs were written in the dorm of the Air Force Academy, Lt. Gen. Jay B. Silveria gave a fiery speech denouncing the perpetrators and telling them, in no uncertain terms, to “get out.”
The nation is a long way from eradicating the toxic forces of racism and hatred. But even if the president cannot bring himself to confront them or to help heal the wounds they cause, at least Americans can look to many of our heroes in uniform to lead the way.