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Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria speaks to AFA cadets. Photo: YouTube

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, superintendent of the Air Force Academy, yesterday "stood all of his 4,000 cadets at attention ... [c]hins in and chests out ... to deliver a message on racial slurs found written on message boards at the academy's preparatory school," The (Colorado Springs) Gazette reports.

At the culmination of his five-minute lecture on "the power of diversity" of race and gender, the general barked: "Reach for your phones. I'm serious: Reach for your phones. ... Grab your phones. I want you to videotape this — so that you have it, so that you can use it, so that we all have the moral courage together."

  • Then he said: "If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out." The general turned and left.
  • The academy says in a release that "five black students woke up Tuesday to find 'Go Home' followed by an epithet scrawled on message boards outside their rooms."
  • More from Silveria, an '85 graduate of the academy: "If you're outraged by those words, then you're in the right place ... We would ... be tone deaf not to think about the backdrop of what's going on in our country — things like Charlottesville and Ferguson, the protests in the NFL."
  • " [W]hat we should have is a civil discourse and talk about these issues. That's a better idea."

Why it matters: This is very much of a piece with the camera-phone video we brought you last month, in which Defense Secretary Jim Mattis tells troops aboard, in impromptu remarks: "Hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other."

Be smart: If you have the privilege of leading, you know what to do.

Go deeper: Meet Lt. Gen. Silveria

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Go deeper

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

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The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

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There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

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In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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