What Congress can do to make this upcoming Veterans' Day truly happy
As a young child attending Vacation Bible School at a small church in Mobile, Alabama, I learned a phrase from the song "Jesus Loves the Little Children": "Red, yellow, black, and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world."
Well, my drill instructors in Marine Corps boot camp must not have learned this song because they were adamantly colorblind, teaching us we were all equal. There was no red, yellow, black, or white! We were all green. Racial bigotry was not allowed, and this was the easiest of all my lessons in the Corps. We were all green, and we all stick together to accomplish the mission.
What would really make my Veterans' Day happy would be for every politician — local, state, and national — to go through Marine Corps boot camp. There is no doubt in my military mind that, upon completion, they would all be better Americans, worthy to govern, and have developed an unwavering love and appreciation for this nation the existence of which is "of the people, by the people, and for the people."
In fact, I would argue that successful completion of Marine Corps boot camp should be an eligibility requirement for any elected position! Currently, there are only 76 members of the House of Representatives and 26 senators with military service.
I recently spent two weeks of my life reading the current Defense Spending Bill, H.R. 4350. My first takeaway from this reading was that the bill's provisions show that Congress intends to indoctrinate our military to convert it into some type of social experiment. Legislators who have never spent a single day in the military, let alone under fire in a combat zone, feel they know what is better and just for operating our armed forces.
The United States military is governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The punitive articles, 77 through 134, are like the criminal codes of a state. These articles list the criminal offenses and the elements required for each crime. Article 134 is considered the "catch all" article, used to ensure the good order and discipline of the military. However, if you read this current bill, there are proposed items that have no place in the military and that are inconsistent with good order and discipline for a fighting force.
There is no place for a "woke" culture in the military. If you are seeking individual identity, if you do not like cutting your hair, or if you feel you have a "right" to express yourself or to be treated differently, then you need not apply. Our job is to fight and win wars, to protect the sovereignty of our nation and our citizens.
However, H.R. 4350 is filled with items promoting racism insofar as it allows exceptions only for minorities or minority-owned businesses; proposals for allowing transgender people; exceptions for beards, turban headwear, etc.; and the requirement that troops be taught variations of Critical Race Theory (CRT), all in the name of inclusivity. The phrase "diversity and inclusion" occurs dozens of times within the bill, as does the word "gender."
These proposed "woke" programs distract from the main purpose of our military and are counterintuitive to maintaining the "Good Order and Discipline" of our military. If you want to become a member of today's military, then you must change your ways to comply with the needs and demands of the military. It cannot work the other way around, with the military bending to each racial, sexual, and gender identity. You do not change or reconstruct the military to suit the needs of different individuals. Remember, we are all green.
To see the Senate defeat H.R. 4350 would make my Veterans' Day very happy, as well as making the military the best fighting machine it can be.
Larry Gill is a twenty-two-year veteran of the U.S. Marines and Army and has earned Purple Heart medals in Beirut, Lebanon and Baghdad, Iraq.
Image: Boot camp. Public domain.