Military Readiness v. Gay Pride Parades
Commissioner Jerry Patterson
July 27, 2012
The recent decision by the Obama Administration Department of Defense to encourage gays in the military to wear their uniform in a Gay Pride parade shows how our U.S. military forces have been turned into a political tool for this president’s never-ending campaign.
As a retired Marine Vietnam veteran, and father of Marine currently on active duty, I am fed up with this President using our Armed Forces as a laboratory for social advocacy and political gain.
Whether you liked it or not, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was working just fine, and now the present Administration has not only ended it to curry favor with the Democratic party base, but gone beyond it to encourage uniformed military personnel to engage in advocacy of alternative lifestyles and promotion of unabashed political correctness. The question of homosexuals serving in the Armed Forces is not a question of individual rights, it is a question of military readiness.
If ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – or any other policy – can be proven to enhance military readiness then that is the right thing to do. However, I maintain it did neither and therefore was not the right thing to do. It was solely a political move made to affect the outcome of what appears to be a close 2012 election for President.
This political motive is particularly obvious when the DOD policy change doesn’t allow military personnel to wear their uniform in ALL parades, just Gay Pride parades.
The concept that one has a constitutional right to serve in the military, or that members of the Armed Forces have the same rights and privileges as all Americans, is simply bogus. When one takes the oath of enlistment, unfettered freedom to do as other citizens do is substantially diminished.
Requirements that would be considered discriminatory in the civilian world are accepted as mission essential in the Armed Forces. Examples include minimum or maximum height and weight requirements to pilot high performance aircraft, psychological screening to serve in the nuclear submarine navy, or background checks for security clearance, to name a few.
In the military, if you’re too old, too slow, too weak or too heavy, you are refused enlistment. If you are already enlisted you’re subject to discharge or censure. In the civilian world, you’d have a cause of action and be suing somebody.
In the military, you don’t have the same right of free speech, for example, you can’t tell your Drill Instructor to buzz off and leave you alone. You don’t have the right to quit your job before your enlistment is up, or during combat elect another leader, and before the recent decision by Obama’s Department of Defense, you didn’t have the right to participate in political events in uniform. The Obama administration put politics before readiness and doubled down on political correctness. To liberals like our President, our military has become a petri dish for social experimentation and a vehicle to advance political correctness. Defending our nation is just an afterthought.
I look forward to the day when this nation can again have a commander in chief who respects the military and honors its traditions, recognizes the necessity of focusing exclusively on combat readiness, and values its one and only purpose: To win wars and protect America.
Jerry Patterson is the 27th Texas Land Commissioner. A retired Marine (LtCol USMCR ret) and Vietnam Veteran he also serves as chairman of the Texas Veterans Land Board.