It’s About The Job

Copyright © by Len Holman, 5/27/11


  The United States Marine Corps is working hard.  It’s a big, tough, unpleasant job, but the Marines are training diligently and no doubt will achieve success.  The mission?  To prepare for the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and accept gay Marines as…well, just Marines.  At the Marine Air Ground Combat Center in 29 Palms (MCAGCC) classes are being held to “train” for that fateful day, the day that gay and lesbian Marines will be allowed to be who they are; that fateful day when gay and lesbian civilians may join the Marines even though they are not normal.  All that the future recruit will have to prove is that he or she can cut it in boot camp and do the job assigned in the field.

  The Marines were the least accepting of the cancellation of the policy and their culture is so macho that their mess halls serve testosterone pudding for dessert. Younger Marines have less of a problem with this than older ones do, but the interesting thing is how particular the training is, how many rules there are to promulgate, how much hard work there is just accepting people and getting on with the job.  It seems, to the uninitiated, that this policy was a remnant of a much more ignorant, less tolerant time, and was due to rot away at any moment—but no, it’s about us, the citizens for whom the military fights, and our insistence that moral ethics, as promulgated by monotheism, affect every part of our polity, even when some particular rule is obviously indefensible. 

  The 29 Palm Marines have been told, for instance, that service members who disagree with the new policy won’t have the option of being discharged early—presumably because the new policy is not meant as an excuse to ditch the Corps.  Same-sex spouses will not get any benefits that heterosex spouses would get, such as housing, healthcare, PX shopping privileges, and the like.  I mean, they will allow gay people to sweat through boot camp and go to foreign shores to be shot at, but they draw the line at buying toothpaste and toilet paper—the Defense of Marriage Act protects innocent, straight PX-goers from such obscene behavior. There is also instruction for recruiting:  being an “out” gay man or woman will be no excuse NOT to allow such a person to join the Corps (of course, SOME excuse can always be found if the recruiter really wants to find one.  I smell some lawsuits in the making). Showers will not be segregated. 

  Chaplains will not have to alter their sermons just to accommodate the gay and lesbian people in attendance.  Imagine the dissonance such an occasion presents.  The Marine Corps says that being gay is ok, but the Marine chaplain says (speaking for God, of course) it’s an abomination.  If God hates homosexuality, and the Marines are letting homosexuals join, fight, and give their lives, then it follows that the Marine Corps is anti-God.  Doesn’t the Tea Party need to look into this?  At any rate, when the time comes for the “transition” the Marines will be officially ready, officially accepting of their fellow human beings and fellow Marines.  Sixty days after the Secretary of Defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the President sign off on it, it will be a done deal. 

  It’s not really fair to pick on Marines because their mythology, the very fabric of their history, their existence, is predicated on their being real men doing real jobs.  They ARE real men and they DO real jobs, but gay people are already in the Marines and already in every other military branch.  The Navy, for instance, is in a knot because it had originally issued a “guidance” which stated that allowed same-sex marriages on base in states where such marriages are legal, but the hue and cry from Capitol and other quarters has shelved that proposition for the time being. Most of the younger service members already know who among them is gay, but still they go to sea with them, go on patrol with them, trust their lives to them and don’t even blink their eyes.  So all the services are spending a lot of time, money and energy teaching their people to accept homosexuals and we can see that all this acceptance is turning out to be harder work than some might have thought.

  I suggest saving a lot of time and money by teaching the troops something else more appropriate, something which doesn’t take special classes and saves money and time for fighting America’s enemies (which seem to be breeding like rabbits): hate.  I don’t mean hating the enemy; that kind doesn’t have to be taught.  I don’t mean Recon hating SEALS or Homeland Security agents hating the FBI; that seems to come naturally.  I mean the idea of hating for a specific reason. A Marine or Airman can hate a man or woman for stealing a wallet of cutting in front of them in the chow line or not repaying that twenty bucks—that’s legitimate.  But if that idiot who always hustles to cut in the chow line is gay or Black or left-handed, that’s too general.  No, you’d hate them for their specific activities, not their general class. 

  But what if a gay person actually commits a homosexual act?  What if this gay person actually has, you know, sex.  Isn’t it then a particular act you’re hating?  And doesn’t that act connect to the person committing it? So if it does, by this reasoning, can you hate the person?  If this is true, then personal morality is a basis for hatred, and therefore legitimate. Usually, even straight people don’t have public sex, even in this day and age, so gay ones probably won’t either, so few, if any, will have to see the deed, so sensibilities will be preserved.  And hating the act is different from hating the person who, in private, performs the act—just as in that very hoary admonition teachers and legitimate clergy people all know:  “Hate the sin, not the sinner.”  So the idea is to let that guy who chews with his mouth open cover your six in the field, just as you want your rear covered by the gay guy who can shoot the antennae off a bug at 50 meters.  It’s always being said by the military: we have a job to do.  It’s about the job, not the people who do it.  If there is a Divinity who abhors same-sex coupling, let Him or Her or Them sort it out in the afterlife.  Right now, for Marines and soldiers and airmen, it’s not hard to accept those upon whom your life depends.  It’s definitely all about the job.


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