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Lt. General Martin Steele was a keynote speaker at Missouri Boys State on Sunday evening. General Steele is a riveting speaker with a compelling life story. He grew up in Arkansas, participating in school athletics on integrated teams (a rarity at that time), attended Arkansas Boys State with Bill Clinton and Mack McLarty, joined the Marine Corps – serving in combat in Viet Nam – and moved up through the ranks.

Lt. General Martin Steele speaking on Sunday evening at Missouri Boys State in Hendricks Hall on the campus of the University of Central Missouri.

General Steel spoke for an hour and then, as is the Missouri Boys State custom, took questions from the audience for approximately another half hour.

The discussion was nuanced. A sample:


Lt. General Martin Steele: ….We have time for Q and A. And, listen I, besides Boys State media that’s it, I’m not gonna read about all this in the Kansas City Star tomorrow morning, right, or am I? Good, who knows? All right.


Question: ….In your opinion what are the two biggest national security threats, foreign and domestic, to the United States? And how as young leaders do we help combat them and keep our great country safe?

Lt. General Martin Steele: Great question. Inside, domestic first, before we get to foreign enemies. And I think that it’s about ourselves. It’s about these issues that we’re talking about. What’s the threat to the fiber of our being and our soul is understanding, um, uh, equality, justice, liberty, freedom. I mean, these issues that I just burst out of Voting Rights Act and, and voting, you know, that, we didn’t have those back then. That happened in sixty-five, the Voting Rights Act. And we’re still struggling with, uh, gerrymandering, and you’ll talk about this week and, and voting rights and who gets the right to vote, and everybody says, yeah, and the ID cards and all this stuff that I hope that you’re gonna talk about. But back then blacks couldn’t vote. They weren’t allowed to vote. So I think that the issues internally of our own social understanding of one another as we evolve as human beings on the planet, it’s about that internal internecine warfare about these social issues….


So I think that the challenge that we face internally, enemies foreign and domestic, inside us it’s those social issues that could be our unhinging….


No, the Kansas City Star wasn’t there. They don’t have enough reporters anymore.


Missouri Boys State – 2015 (June 14, 2015)