Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Right

 

Do you guys remember the 1980s-ish, super-sexy Pantene shampoo commercials featuring actress Kelly LeBrock? She stared into the camera, fluffed up her hair and said, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” I’m sure 99% of all red-blooded American guys liked that commercial.

But unfortunately, today I am not writing about shampoo, nice hair, pretty women or anything of the sort. Today I am writing about something concerning our military. The topic for sure is a hot-button issue and I am sure many of you guys and gals out there are going to vehemently disagree with me on this subject. I remember one time talking about it with Kelvin Elkins on the radio and some lady called in and called me some very unflattering names. But you know what, I can take it. Like the title says, don’t hate me because I’m right.

Women in our country for a long time have certainly gotten the short end of the stick. No doubt. From pay issues, to the right to vote and equal access to jobs in every job market in this country, I will admit that women, like blacks and other minorities, have thankfully made great strides securing their rights to work and contribute to our society. For a long time, the military was one of the final frontiers of inequality in the work place for women. When I went to Undergraduate Pilot Training in 1983, we had a couple of women in my class and one female instructor pilot in my T-38 flight. Although women went through the same training as the men, they were barred from flying combat aircraft. No matter how good their grades were or what they wanted to fly, women were clearly restricted in what they could fly. In many cases, this in turn limited how far many of them would go in the military or how far they might go once inside.

Finally in 1993, people pulled their collective heads out of you know where and authorized women to fly combat aircraft. That year, Jeannie Flynn (now Jeannie Leavitt) became the first female USAF fighter pilot while Cara Hultgreen became the first Navy fighter pilot. Since that time, we have females flying every aircraft in the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy inventories and we have even had at least two female USAF Thunderbird pilots.

In 2012, the US Army decided to open jobs to women in some of its all-male combat units. Since practical experience already showed there was much cross over anyway, the Army simply decided to make it official. This change opened up close to 14,000 new jobs for women although some 250,000 jobs reportedly still remain closed. Some of the jobs opening up are tank mechanics, artillery and rocket launcher crewmembers. Yes, the world, rightfully so, is opening up to those who are qualified and want to contribute.

So here I sit in my study and unfortunately have to ask a most important and extremely unpopular question. Why is it that only men, aged 18-25, are required to register for the Selective Service System (SSS)? In other words, register for the draft? I’m throwing this out there only because I really have not heard a good excuse as to why. You know why? There is none! Look, according to the SSS, they say that male citizens and immigrants, documented and undocumented, residing in the US and its territories must register. Why not women too? For crying out loud, even illegal immigrants are required to register. The form states all males between ages 18 and 25 who are, “U.S. born and naturalized citizens, parolees, undocumented immigrants (illegal aliens), legal permanent residents, asylum seekers, refugees, and all males with visas of any kind which expired more than 30 days ago.”

All I am saying here is that women have rightfully fought long and hard for the right to participate in combat roles. They have reasoned that they have as much right to fight for this country as do men. Be careful what you ask for! Many have successfully argued the view that women should not be allowed in combat is both archaic and chauvinistic to say the least. If they have argued successfully for their case to fight for this country and fly some really cool airplanes while doing it, how can they rationally protest that they should be excluded from registering from the draft? They can’t. The logic there does not exist.

Well FINALLY, a judge Gray Miller, this past February, ruled that the Military Selective Service Act actually discriminates on the basis of gender. In other words, the wheels have finally been put in motion to require women to register for the draft. All I can say is that it is about time but unfortunately, nothing quickly will happen. If it ever does. Congress will have until March 2020 before it has to think seriously about this issue.

I have had people tell me, “I don’t want to see my daughter in combat.” Well, most folks don’t want to see their sons in combat either. Besides, if a draft ever occurs, not everybody will be drafted into combat roles. There will be plenty of need for non-combat personnel should the proverbial balloon ever really go up. In fact, the vast majority of military jobs are non-combat related. I have also had people tell me, “Not all women want to go into the military.” Again I say, neither do all men. Not all men are fit for combat and neither are women. But once again, not all people drafted will be put into combat.

The bigger point here is this. Since women fought for this right, how can they selectively choose which military requirements they are going to support? Can you imagine if Al Sharpton said that no blacks should be required to register for the draft since not all blacks want to serve in the military? What about all Asians or folks from a certain city or state? That would be like Governor of California telling the federal government that no men from his state will ever again register for the SSS. Sorry folks, but equal rights exists, or rather should exist, in every situation and every case. Equal rights should not be enforced only when you want it to serve your political agenda.

Do I really want to see women drafted into combat? No, but neither do I want to see men drafted into combat. But should the draft ever again be necessary, I think all of us will have “bigger fish to fry” than this single issue. But living in the greatest democratic republic on this planet should require potential sacrifices of all its citizens; male and female. No group should be allowed to pick and choose which sacrifices they want to make. In my view it is all or nothing and if women really want America to be the sex-blind society they have fought so hard to create, they should be the first ones to step up to the plate and say, “Yes, we will stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers, do what is right and register for the draft.” Certainly most women should willingly admit that they have more of a vested interest in this great country of ours than the illegal immigrant who is required by law to register.

Now that I’ve stated my case, I’m ready for the eggs and tomatoes.

Let ‘em fly.

 

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