09 July 2015

Social Change in the Military Community: Why It's Vital We Don't Fight The Tide

We've entered a time of turbulent social growth and change in the United States. We can dislike it all we want based on our personal morality or politics, but change is happening and it is, in point of fact, completely inevitable. However, do changes to the needs of the basic Joe or Jane really make as big of a professional impact as many seem to take it? Big DoD seems to be taking a lot of these changes in stride, and a fair amount of the fire over say, homosexual men and women serving in the armed forces. As marriage equality spreads across the U.S. these issues will ultimately be decided by Supreme Court Order once and for all in the very near future. So is marrying and having families in the armed forces really so alien? Does a gay couple really want anything very different from a straight couple? The wide answer is a resounding no, and it's more or less becoming the common feeling with the active forces.
The problem we're really running into from my ground eye-view is, with us veterans and retirees on the other side, we're all nasty, crusty and mean. Some of us are older than dirt; some of us are the salt of the Earth. However we are letting our comrades down. Every time a female Veteran is asked where her husband is when she walks into a Legion post or a VA hospital, that's a problem. If parts of our community violently scorn and reject our homosexual, trans, and even female brothers and sisters, that’s a problem. These days there are already high casualties amongst our ranks just as Veterans - from mental wounds sustained in combat, the stresses of the civilian world, or whatever it may be. Harassment, marginalization and being cut off and left alone are certainly well known vectors for life ending drastic measures. These measures are not something we as a group can allow to happen for any of us.
Even if you can't get past that you sure wouldn't leave any of them on the other side of the defensive fortifications, exposed and alone to their fate, that's what we do when we exclude, expel and otherwise eject our brothers and sisters from our communities. They might get by…one group or another will pick up the bag - or not. Shouldn't we be there first though? If that one gay guy from motor T did a ride along, and got blown out of his turret, are you going to jump for him and pull him into the Humvee so Doc has a shot at keeping him alive long enough for a CASEVAC bird to get there? Would you hesitate, if they were the ones looking at you, needing a brother or sister to save you? I don't presume to speak for Chief Beck, or any trans or homosexual service member, but based on her record, based on the people I know, they wouldn't even blink. Because that's what family does for family. If you wouldn't do that for someone wearing the uniform, no matter what their deal is, maybe you need to reconsider what brotherhood, camaraderie and standing together, being willing to fight and die for each other without a word of reservation means to you. You won't stick out your hand or hesitate to fight back against the enemy within that is slaughtering so many of us.  Are you really my brother or my sister?
It's not about beliefs. It's not about morality. It's about saving lives and standing together. It's just us. We're cut off and alone, and only we can help and save each other, and we have to do it without hesitation or restriction, without forcing people out of our special clubhouses. We are the special club. Why do you need more of a qualification than honorably serving, just like the rest of us? Is it right to remember our fallen by declaring a small group of us, who did nothing different than any of us, don't count?
Semper Fidelis.

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