Last week, when I watched Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman and his twin brother (ironically, an ethics lawyer working in a seriously unethical atmosphere) being escorted out of the White House, I thought of my father. Mayhue Blaine was a career military man, rising to the rank of full Colonel in the United States Air Force before his retirement in the late 1950’s. His career as a pilot began in 1929, training in biplanes at Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, Colonel Blaine was stationed in the Panama Canal Zone, where he remained, never seeing combat, until the end of WWII. He later completed three tours of duty (about nine years) in Washington D.C., as Legislative Liaison from the Department of the Air Force to the House of Representatives.
Colonel Blaine had an office in the Pentagon. Each day the House was in session, he sat in the House gallery, listening to the proceedings, interacting with the Representatives on both sides of the aisle (he was a contemporary of Strom Thurmond, for a bit of perspective), and reporting back to the Department of the Air Force. As military officers, both Lt. Colonel Vindman and my father had been trained to keep their personal politics in check. For all the time my father spent at the Capitol, I never once heard him say he was a Democrat or a Republican. Growing up, I do not remember my father trying to influence my sister or me on matters of politics. He avidly watched C-SPAN throughout his retirement years, much to my mother’s consternation, and he got plenty excited about things going on in our federal government. But he always conveyed an almost spiritual conviction to the founding principles of our nation. The summer of 1974, I was traveling with a new job when Richard Nixon resigned; I do not recall much of a discussion with my father about that historic event. When a White House intern’s sexual relationship with Bill Clinton came to light in 1998, I only remember my dad making one statement: “Bill Clinton has zipper trouble,” he said. He did not suggest how I might ought to feel about that. (I had plenty of feelings of my own….)
My father died not long after the attacks on September 11, 2001. He was devastated by another attack by a foreign entity on American soil, but he held his dignity and his everlasting faith in our nation to “right” itself, no matter what that took. “Washington is broken,” he said many times, as he watched Congress and George W. Bush navigate their way through those awful days. He just seemed so sad; he could see the partisan battles growing and I believe he felt there was no turning back. I sensed that he longed to be younger, to be more a part of what was going on. But he was ill and knew he would not be with us much longer.
One thing that always stood out about my father’s view of the goings on in Washington D.C. was that he was unequivocally loyal to all the presidents he served in his thirty-two-year career. The President of the United States was my father’s Chief of Staff, and no matter the political shenanigans or policy blunders that president displayed, my father would have followed him anywhere. He understood the importance of the chain of command, of government and military parameters, rules, guidelines, culture, and most of all integrity. He was “a soldier’s soldier” with a fierce loyalty to our nation that was visible to all he knew.
As I watched Lt. Colonel Vindman walk away from this chaotic administration, after having done his duty to his nation by voluntarily testifying to the truth of what happened in what Donald Trump calls his “perfect phone call,” I knew in my heart that my father would have sided with Vindman in a heartbeat. I believe my father would have done what Vindman did: come down on the right side of history and display his courage and loyalty to our great nation to try to stop the corruption that has so clearly overtaken the current administration.
I’m grateful to have been raised by a father who, though he never saw active combat in his military career, loved this nation and stood tall for the values we have embodied for two and a half centuries. I am deeply saddened to think my father was right: that “Washington is broken.” I pray with all my heart that we can turn this nation around to answer the call of its founders. I pray that truth and integrity and sensibility will carry the day, and that corruption will find no fertile ground within our government.
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13 Comments on "Profile in Courage — My Father Would Have Sided With Vindman In A Heartbeat"

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frank c barone
Guest

My father was like yours in many ways. I pray for this too. Many of us do. However, without upholding the rule of law, without allowed checks and balances, and with significant disagreement on what is morally and democratically right and wrong, I am afraid we have very difficult if not impossible times ahead of us. We certainly need to come up with a winning ticket in November to have fighting chance.

Lynn Garthwaite
Guest
Excellent article, and I like to think that 99% of our military would have done exactly what Lt. Colonel Vindman did in that circumstances – answer the call to testify and tell the entire truth. People with honor and integrity are not afraid to tell the truth, and they would never consider hiding information that the Congress requests. The cover-up is the most informative in all of this, and it shines a spotlight on everyone who was complicit in that. I believe that history will not look kindly on those who aided in the cover-up and supported a man who… Read more »
Denis Elliott
Member
My own dad would have fully supported Vindman too. He wasn’t a career guy – like others of his generation he went straight to the recruiter’s office and enlisted when war was declared in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor and wound up in the pre-cursor to the Air Force – the U.S. Army Air Corps. I’ve written elsewhere about him sometimes, both the scars on his torso always kept hidden under a t-shirt even when taking a bath (a LOT of them, both from the wounds and the multiple surgeries to save him & fix him for further service) yet… Read more »
Cherl Harrell
Guest

Well done. I am sure your father would be proud that you accurately portrayed him and his beliefs. I am a retired military person and just wonder what he would have thought of the interfering with military justice, regarding the disgraced Navy Seal. I am pretty sure he would be very displeased.

Joseph
Guest

I think you meant to write “The President of the United States was my father’s Commander-in-Chief” rather than “The President of the United States was my father’s Chief of Staff.” The former means “The President was my father’s boss” while the latter means “The President was my father’s top underling.”