Political Correctness Strikes Again
I have been called many things in my life: Charming, witty, intelligent, suave, debonair, refined, talented and of course “da_n handsome.” Okay, I’m lying. I’ve never been called “refined” before. All kidding aside, I have certainly been called many things in my life, some of them quite unflattering, but one thing I know for sure is that I have never been called “politically correct.” That is one moniker I hope to never have posted next to my name. It is not because I feel the need to go out of my way to be politically “incorrect” but I just feel that it is usually better to “call them as I see them” as the saying goes. If the truth hurts, take a couple of Tylenol and get back to me tomorrow.
It seems now not a week goes by that the political correctness Nazis are out to enforce a lot of their fairly sophomoric thoughts on the rest of us. Nowhere do I see this more now than in my beloved military. I began seeing things slowly change while I was still on active duty and by the time I retired from the Air Force Reserve after 24+ years, many aspects of the service were as foreign to me as if I were serving in a Martian militia. But now it is even worse.
Before I say anything else, let’s get one thing straight right now because I know there are some who will read this and before being able to finish my thought, they will jump to a conclusion and ascertain that I am some backward thinking, unenlightened, Bible-thumping imbecile from Alabama. Here goes. I AM NOT A “HOMOPHOBE.” There, I said it. Although I most certainly have beliefs that center on the Bible, that in no way is the issue here in this column. That debate is clearly for another day.
When I was a kid, my favorite uncle (my dad’s uncle), Uncle Frank, was gay. Back when he was a young man living in Atlantic City in the 1930s – 1970s, in most circles it was very “uncool” to be open about that lifestyle. But I remember as a kid, my parents would take us down to the shore and visit with him and his sister, my Aunt Ethel. Ethel was your stereotypical “God-fearing” church lady (and she was) and although she knew what her brother Frank always was, she loved her “Bubba” like it was nobody’s business. The two lived most of their adult lives together. I remember being around my Uncle Frank and the cast of characters that were always around. Each one was gay but each would have killed any soul trying to harm me, my brother or my sister. I grew up around them and I loved them like family. They just happened to like other men.
While at the University of Tennessee, my last two years there I was a resident assistant (RA) in charge of Reese Hall’s 6W floor. Late in my junior year, the head resident came to me with a “problem.” He told me there was a guy in a dorm across campus who was having a lot of problems because he was gay. Although he knew I was a Christian, he also knew I had a reputation as being one of the fairest people on the staff. He asked if it would be okay if he moved Jaime onto my floor. Sure, I could have cared less. Long story short, Jaime, a kid from Iran (so much for former Iranian president Ahmadinejad’s claim of no gay Iranians), became one of my best friends my last year at UT and introduced me to a girl who I would likely have married had I not met my current wife while I was in pilot training in Del Rio, Texas. Jaime was a really good guy who also happened to like other men. Although he wasn’t too keen on me sharing the Gospel with him, he and I were able to strike a strong friendship out of respect for each other; despite our much different extracurricular activities.
So where is this going, Rob? Whether you are gay or not, I am about being fair and unbiased in my actions. Although most people, me included, cannot be 100 percent impartial, I try. You’ve heard me rail about the draft before and how I think both women and men should be required to register when they turn 18; not just men. This is especially true in today’s world where women have fought and won the right to be a part of combat units. It is only fair. You cannot pick and choose which aspects of military service you want to participate in.
In the paper the other day I read where our illustrious Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, announced a new program called homosexual “marriage leave.” In the military, we get 30 days of leave every year. If you don’t use all of that leave it rolls over to the next year and then the next. If you never take leave, after three years you will have accrued 90 days of leave. After that, you start losing it (use or lose) and you will never get more than 90 days in your “bucket.” In the politically correct world of purple skies and yellow-maned unicorns of Hagel, he has decided that gay or lesbian service members who live more than 100 miles from a state that allows same-sex marriage will get seven extra days of non-chargeable if they want to get married in the continental United States. If they are stationed overseas, they will get up to ten days of extra leave. Hagel’s rationale is, “This will provide accelerated access to the full range of benefits blah blah blah blah blah blah.”
Look, it’s wrong. Period! I don’t know how else to say it. In order to kowtow to certain groups, Hagel and the Department of Defense has made a situation where preferential treatment is now codified and desired. Why should these couples get extra leave? What about the heterosexual couple who meets in let’s say Spokane, Washington but wants to get married in Texas where they are from. They won’t get the extra leave because they are straight? How much sense does that make? I’ll tell you how much. ZERO. If same-sex marriage is going to be allowed in the military, by law they have to be afforded the same rights as heterosexual couples. I am not here to argue either side of the issue but regardless, the law should not blatantly give any group EXTRA rights and privileges. Sorry. Every service member accrues enough leave so each couple can clearly plan their wedding wherever they want. Nobody is stopping anybody. Straight folks have been doing it for decades and nobody seemed to complain.
This political correctness run amok is a lot like Major Nidal Hasan on trial for killing the soldiers at Fort Hood. While on trial he is still getting paid and I get that. Until convicted he is still a major in the United States Army; I have no problem with that. But what I don’t get is that as a major, he is still bound by the rules and regulations of the Army. I saw an artist’s sketch of him in court wearing his uniform sporting a beard. No, no, no, no, no! Are you kidding me? Because they are afraid of “offending” some cretin who killed 13 soldiers while shouting, “god is great,” they are letting him keep his beard. “Well, it is his religion,” some have pathetically argued. Hmmm. He didn’t care about that before he became a mass murderer did he? Until he is convicted he is still an officer in the United States Army and is not immune from the rules that govern certain aspects of his behavior. Those in the Army who have allowed this should be ashamed. But once again, the political correctness Nazis have spoken and the lemming-like leaders have again acquiesced to their power and willingly jumped off the cliff of common sense. “Well, Rob. What would you do?” Let’s just say, Hasan would NOT be in court sporting a beard. Let your imagination run wild, folks.
All I ask for is some common sense and fairness. Rules like “marriage leave” are insane and inherently unfair. The Department of Defense telling chaplains they either have to “get in line or resign” if they refuse to conduct same-sex marriages is likewise an abomination. Neither makes sense and each serves to further destroy the once proud fabric of an honorable institution. If I ever see a gay or lesbian person being beat up or mistreated simply because of who they are, I will always be in the front fighting for their fundamental right to exist free of abuse, discrimination, hatred or bigotry. I’ve done it before. That is how I was raised and that is how I have always tried to be. Making divisive rules to placate those with destructive hidden agendas, however, is not the solution.