IT TAKES COURAGE
It was dark in the plane – pitch black, except for the thin, dull greenish lights high in the cargo area that gives just enough light to see the man next to you, but not much farther than that.
For some people, flying Alaska Air is a scary thing. Smaller bush planes flown all over Alaska are scarier still. Not for me – I love flying. Big planes, small planes, helicopters, gliders – I love them all.
There’re a few planes I really love flying in… the C-130 is one of them. It’s a fantastic plane, able to carry amazing loads and take off and land where many others its size can’t. And it’s the plane we used most often for parachute jumps when I was in the military in the ‘90s.
Most of the men on that plane loved what we did. We got to jump out of “perfectly good airplanes,” shoot really cool guns, travel around the world on adventures that were usually labeled as training exercises.
But that hot, humid Georgia night in 1990, a few of us weren’t so excited about the jump. When you looked in the faces of some of the men – many were combat veterans – they were scared. And so was I. Really scared.
This was to be my ninth jump. Jump number eight earned me a nice fracture and a few stainless-steel screws just above my right ankle.
On that eighth jump back in April, about 30 of us had serious injuries on a jump into Fort Stewart, Georgia. There were broken ankles, legs, and even a couple serious shoulder injuries. Many of us on that plane spent the last three months healing from those injuries and the fear of this jump was worse than the fear we felt on our first jump.
I was the last jumper on the left side of the plane. Across the cargo area was Sergeant Smith (not his real name), who broke his ankle on the same jump I did, and this was his first recovery jump as well. Sergeant Smith was a combat veteran – he parachuted into Panama and fought Noriega’s henchmen there, earning him a Combat Infantry Badge and a Gold Star on his parachute wings for a combat jump. Sergeant Smith was one of fewer than 3,000 men in all of the US Military with a Combat Jump at the time.
Sergeant Smith was tough, strong, experienced, liked and respected by most. His could have been the face on the Army Ranger recruiting posters.
But not that night. When I looked across at Sergeant Smith, I saw the same fear in his face that I felt.
I was afraid that I would get hurt again – and get kicked out of the Rangers. A Ranger private that can’t jump out of a plane without hurting himself doesn’t belong in the Rangers.
The fear that I felt drove me towards the open door at the back of the plane when the jump light turned green. I desperately wanted to be a Ranger.
Sergeant Smith’s fear was different. It wasn’t fear of failure, it was plain old heart stopping fear. You could see it through the camouflage paint on his face. And I saw that debilitating fear when he reached up to the Jump Cable, unhooked his static line, and sat down as the rest of us rushed out the jump doors.
SERGEANT SMITH UNHOOKED
I don’t know if Sergeant Smith knew I saw him. I never talked to him again.
You see, just like a Ranger private that hurts himself on routine training exercises, a Ranger Sergeant that won’t jump out of an airplane doesn’t belong in the Rangers.
While the rest of us completed our training, Sergeant Smith was packing his bags and moving to another unit. While we did our jobs, Sergeant Smith went ‘Worldwide.’ This term was given to those kicked out of the Ranger Regiment, stripped of honor and sent wherever the Army wanted them to go – Worldwide.
Short of God’s grace, he would be useless in any combat unit he went to. His leaders and subordinates would all know why he left the Rangers – disgraced and a coward. Worse, everywhere Sergeant Smith went, he would know that he unhooked.
A Ranger Sergeant that unhooks his static line and refuses to jump doesn’t belong in the Rangers.
What if that was another jump into a combat zone? How many jumpers can refuse to jump at the last minute without dooming the mission to failure?
What if Sergeant Smith carried a key piece of equipment needed to complete the mission?
What if Sergeant Smith had special training or skills, without which, the mission would suffer and men would die?
What if Sergeant Smith was a leader that the mission and men depended on?
Courage really does matter. Rangers depend on each other to show up on the battlefield trained, prepared, equipped, and ready to fight a larger, often more powerful enemy.
Courage matters in training – most of the work is dangerous. And if fear takes over in training when the consequences are far less severe than in combat, what’s going to happen when training ends we have to face our enemies?
Courage matters in our work to protect children and end the evil practice of killing them in the womb.
Courage matters when we talk with our friends and neighbors – and family members – who believe differently than we do.
Courage matters when we testify at school board and town hall meetings, and House and Senate Committee hearings.
Courage matters when we speak up at our churches about the need to get involved, pray, work, and donate our time and money to protecting babies and helping their mothers.
Courage matters when we carry ‘Pray to End Abortion’ signs to the Planned Parenthood sidewalks.
Courage matters when we call out to share hope and help to young, desperate mothers going into Planned Parenthood to kill their babies.
And courage matters when we send men and women to Juneau as our House Representatives and Senators to fight for children that are killed in their mothers’ wombs.
Like many other important roles people play in life, very few people actually run for office. Of those who do, fewer still make it through the vetting process laid out by the political parties… resumes are written, financial disclosures are made, background checks conducted – and then they meet the public in town hall meetings, forums, debates, and on the campaign trail.
Of those who run for office, very few make it in the very first time – their sincerity is tested campaign after campaign until they’re elected or they go home for good.
After several years of Jim Colver blocking our attempts to protect children in the womb, Alaska Right To Life recruited George Rauscher to run against him for State House in District 9 – the Sutton to Delta Junction area.
Of the candidates earning endorsements in 2016, George Rauscher was what Alaska Right To Life thought would be a nearly perfect candidate.
George Rauscher was the promising leader many were looking for in many different ways – especially those of us who want so desperately to end legalized child killing in Alaska.
George checked all the boxes.
George signed the Personhood Affirmation.
George promised to sponsor the Life At Conception Act.
In fact, George was going to be THE Pro-Life Champion in the State House, leading with the Life at Conception Act.
BUT GEORGE UNHOOKED
As the plane neared the drop zone, the courage to lead left George Rauscher.
When the time leave the relative safety of the campaign trail and jump into combat on the House Floor, George Rauscher unhooked, sat down, and came home alone.
Just like a Ranger Sergeant who won’t jump, a Pro-Life Legislator who won’t introduce or support legislation reduces and eliminates abortion doesn’t belong in the legislature.
Abortion proponents in the House gained more power, unchallenged by our champion.
The taxpayer funded abortion rate skyrocketed by 45%, again unchallenged by our champion.
The Life at Conception Act was introduced late – by an unendorsed legislator – and unaided by our champion.
Our champion signed on to the Abortion Procedures Act the first opportunity he had – despite overwhelming objections by pro-life voters across the state.
Just imagine the look on everybody’s face, if just before landing, Sergeant Smith stood, hooked his static line back up, and told the Jumpmaster he’s ready to jump out of an airplane that’s landing 100’s of miles from the drop zone.
But that’s exactly what George Rauscher did when he co-sponsored the Life At Conception Act with just 46 days left in the Regular Session.
Just as Sergeant Smith was sent ‘Worldwide,’ it’s time to send George Rauscher ‘Worldwide.’
Every time Alaska Right To Life called on George Rauscher to fulfill his promises and lead the House to end legalized child killing, we found him in the plane, static line unhooked, parachute on the floor, and his head in his hands.
George Rauscher is up for re-election this year.
But our champion has proven time and again that when the time comes, he won’t jump.
Our champion won’t engage.
Our champion won’t lead.
When it came time to sponsor the Life at Conception Act, George Rauscher didn’t want to be our Pro-Life Champion any longer.
When it came time to support the Life at Conception Act, George Rauscher didn’t want to be a Pro-Life supporter.
And when it came time to oppose the Abortion Procedures Act, a bill that expands legal cover for abortionists, George Rauscher surrendered his Baby Feet lapel pin and signed on to that bill, preferring political friends over babies’ lives.
Courage really does matter.
It matters in the military.
It matters in ministry.
It matters on the campaign trail.
And it matters on the House Floor.
And courage matters because somebody is depending on you.
Courage matters because your buddies and your nation are counting on you.
Courage matters in ministry, because somebody’s depending on us to meet physical and spiritual needs.
Courage matters on the campaign trail because donors and supporters are counting on your election.
And courage matters on the House Floor because thousands of innocent pre-born babies are counting on each and every one of us to make abortion both illegal, and unthinkable.
IT’S TIME FOR GEORGE RAUSCHER TO GO ‘WORLDWIDE’
Your courage matters this year too. The children in the womb that are depending on us to end abortion in Alaska can’t afford another two years of silence and inaction.
Your vote counts this year – perhaps more than most.
You may not live in District 9 – maybe you’re in 10, 11, or 12. Maybe you live in Fairbanks or Ketchikan.
Your vote counts this year – to the children at risk of abortion this year, and for the many more who are counting on you to send your legislators WORLDWIDE if they’ve unhooked and landed with the plane.
As the taxpayer funded abortion rate rose by 45% in two years, where was your legislator?
As the one bill that could end abortion in Alaska sat waiting for committee hearings, where was your legislator?
As the Abortion Procedures Act was introduced with more pro-life opposition than most pro-death legislation, where was your legislator?
If your legislator unhooked and rode the plane home in shameful silence, it may be time for them to go ‘WORLDWIDE.’
Here’s what you can do:
Send George Rauscher an email – let him know how you feel HERE.
Get to know your legislator’s voting record HERE.
Get to know your candidates’ pro-life survey scores HERE.
Find your polling place HERE.
And cast your ballot in this year’s primary on August 21st
You’re reading this letter because you’re on our mailing list, you’ve liked our Facebook page, or you’ve signed a pro-life petition before.
You’re in the plane, static line hooked up. The drop zone is approaching fast. The children we’re going to rescue from an unjust, untimely, and violently horrible death are depending on you.
Whatever you do, don’t unhook.
Patrick Martin, Chair
Alaska Right To Life 2018 PAC