Anger is an ugly emotion. Even when it’s totally justified, it’s naked expression can be repelling, or at least highly off-putting. Moments of my own unrestrained anger make me cringe at their recollection…
Which is why I wouldn’t think I’d find this clip so compelling, but I definitely do. This is Lieutenant General David Morrison, Chief of the Australian Army. He is outraged. And it is beautiful to see.
Morrison is furious about a scandal involving seventeen army men, some officers of considerable rank, who are being investigated for creating and sharing “explicit and profane” emails that are demeaning to women. These allegations center around the kind of behavior that begins to form a culture of intimidation–nothing anywhere nearly as serious as the endless string of assaults and systemic cultures of rape that have festered in a few ugly corners of our military. Yet he doesn’t softpedal or downplay the charges. He resets expectations, then demands they be met. “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” That’s so true it hurts.
Morrison’s unblinking, clenched-teeth delivery sounds nothing like our endless stream of prevaricating American political weasels or PR spindoctors–it sounds more like Clint Eastwood’s Harry Callahan.
And in times of great moral crisis, that’s beautiful.
By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson