Freedom for thee but not for me: A military story

Since I am here, I will go ahead and tell a story. I am the spouse of a service member that has served with purpose and intent for the last 15 years (with a lil break in service, you know how it is). I do not think you would find any two people that appreciate the privilege of being born in the United States more than us two homies. For background, my husband is the son of a first generation Filipino mother, and a large bombastic oil man from Louisiana. And I am the youngest child of a Preacher turned con man (unconfirmed but suspected) and a mom that is pretty regular, mom stuff. 

Needless to say, we were brought up with fantastic ideas of what it means to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. But something about the vibes the last 2 years have made me question what this country stands for, and how that will impact those that serve and those who are turning away. My husband is far enough along into his separation process, that a new life is just on the horizon. 

Trust, if my current self met me in 2018, I would think I was high…like that scene in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

So anywho, if this is how you grew up, joining the military most likely meant something to you. Now yes, I know for many its a job or a means to an end, as is anything else, but I have met some of the most amazing, strong and principled people this last year, and it’s those people I want to speak on behalf of. We are at the point as a society, if something is not directly impacting you or a problem for you, it is easy not to care about. But what about all these things we continue to say “welp, thats not my problem”…? 

Well, the thing is, when it comes to the military ignoring that problem is not a luxury we have. So what’s the deal? In my opinion, we are operating in a state of dueling ideas, to quote Carl Trueman, “To say we are politically divided is to miss the real problem: We have no agreed-upon understanding of reality upon which we can sustain a unified society.” I couldn’t agree more. For example, you can yell and shout that our government is inherently oppressive and racists, yet allow yourself to be controlled by your government when it comes to things such as public health mitigation efforts like lock downs, which has disproportionately impacted those in predominately African American city centers and urban areas. There is no pragmatism just emotion. No ability to critically think and apply a consistent standard. 

And what makes all of that possible, the ability to openly emote in our society, to protest, to speak truth to power without fear (unless you were in DC on January 6, they say fuck yo freedom), to exercise your ideology, your religion, to continue to explore all parts of humanity…what makes all of that possible, LIKE IT OR NOT, is a strong military.

And our military members are entitled to every freedom that they take an oath to protect. Justice Earl Warren stated, “our citizens in uniform may not be stripped of basic rights simply because they have doffed their civilian clothes.” Maybe the fact that this was even a question should have been a red flag. While the military does exercise its own form of justice governed by the UCMJ, maybe these questions and traditions need to be re-examined as we are starting to see a disturbing and unchecked introduction of politics into our military by those that should remain impartial. See the recent case Of Mark Bashaw and the very political Vindman family connection.

But in the modern era and the ongoing Covid hysteria, there has been an awareness that the freedom that our service members protect, they do not posses, and that under the guise of readiness or threats of extremism, the military leadership has no qualms about pushing this notion. Just look at a few examples in recent history, Fort Benning being one of the most egregious out of the many. A Captain being investigated for standing up for the service members rights gets labeled an extremist. Or fellow soldiers patrolling downtown restaurants to enforce Fort Benning Covid measures while the Commanding General was having parties and taking his family to dinner. Telling Basic Training Graduates that for the outdoor graduation not only do they have to be vaccinated, but so do those attending. But you could be any other civilian and go to the installation with no restrictions. If you are vaccinated you can still become ill, you can still spread but you are not restricted. According to the latest FRAGO (22), if you are unvaccinated, you can’t PCS, you can’t make an INTRAPOST move, you can’t progress your career in any way essentially. These measures listed are not exhaustive, but were designed to be harsh, coercive and unnecessarily punitive. 

I think this makes its own point. FORT BENNING COME GET YOUR BOY. 

The lady of the hour Terry Adirim making vaccine refusal political. And as an aside if I may just pop that argument, the vaccines were developed under Donald Trump, if we were going to besmirch soldiers for being political then 97% of the force is Trump supporters. Moron. Maybe, I dunno, the vaccines are new, unproven and are obviously failing and have no long term safety profile. What an extreme idea. 

After witnessing veterans and active duty members targeted in media coverage for attending the protests on January 6, not rioting, not entering the capital, just attending. It has put a sour taste in many mouths. From personal experience, my husband did not attend the Defeat the Mandates rally with me, because the amount of surveillance and overreach on service members in getting out of control, and there was a genuine concern on his behalf of being misrepresented. 

A recent IG report about the new amendments to DODI 1325.06 about Extremism in the Military essentially green lights the unfettered surveillance of service members. Their social media, postings, likes, shares etc. Things that can seemingly be completely innocuous, could just toss you into a Court Martial. And imagine if you are one of those filthy unvaxxed creatures that likes a post from Marjorie Taylor Greene or some shit. Lord help you. There is too much room for interpretation, and we are seeing more and more leaders acting on a political and unethical purview, yet they are now the ones that can interpret the behavior of a soldier to qualify their actions as extreme. 

You can find the report here. 

And we are starting to witness the fallout from these policies and actions. Recruiting and retention are down. Recruiting more so because we have pushed for a complete loss of confidence in our institutions and the younger generations want to be famous more on TikTok then ensure their ability to maintain that level of freedom, and retention is down because anyone with a strong resolve will not sit idly by and take it much longer. There is a farce being told by the leadership that this decline is intentional and operational. A step towards modernization or some drivel. No. I would say no. 

So how do we get back? Getting down to brass tacks may need to be a change in the top brass. Our military has lost its direction, its purpose and it’s freedom. Patriot has become almost taboo. A strong sense of American exceptionalism has led us to a place of prosperity that many countries and many people around the world will never experience. So thank your lucky stars, assuming you can pull your head out of your ass to see them. This is not controversial, and if we do not defend those very simple notions, well we might as well enjoy our sad lives eating fake meat burgers and watching our fearless leader Klaus on the big screen.

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