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Our Lefty Military ? say what?

June 17, 2011

Yesterday I saw this as a Facebook status –  Our Lefty Military… and I could only imagine the outcry from some quarters – those who think that the word lefty or Liberal is an epithet, an insult, another word for wuss, wimp.  I for one, was told that I could never really be a “real” military spouse, because no “real” service member would be married to or even consider being a liberal.  Ha!

The OpEd by Nicholas Kristof is on the hunt for a path out of the economic crisis.  He’s not too impressed with the CEOs as being efficient –

The business sector is dazzlingly productive, but it also periodically blows up our financial system. Yet if we seek another model, one that emphasizes universal health care and educational opportunity, one that seeks to curb income inequality, we don’t have to turn to Sweden. Rather, look to the United States military.

The author talks about the healthcare we have in the military.  The comments from the article bring up the problems with TriCare – which mirror the problems with health insurance that most of us have on the outside;  and yes, I’m going to agree that TriCare isn’t perfect. Absolutely not perfect – but the alternative of NO health insurance is much much worse.  That’s experience talking – it’s scary knowing that if one person in the family gets sick or falls and breaks something – you are in deep financial trouble.

The Daycare issue he writes about – I think Mr. Kristof needs a dose of reality there!  It is true that there is decent daycare – but there needs to be a lot more of it.  The average waiting list on some bases is so ridiculously long!

The United States armed forces knit together whites, blacks, Asians and Hispanics from diverse backgrounds, invests in their education and training, provides them with excellent health care and child care. And it does all this with minimal income gaps: A senior general earns about 10 times what a private makes, while, by my calculation, C.E.O.’s at major companies earn about 300 times as much as those cleaning their offices. That’s right: the military ethos can sound pretty lefty. [emphasis added]

That’s one point I personally appreciate.  Mr. Kristof also brought out what we, as military families, know but most people on the outside don’t get.  Service – in the best and most fundamental meaning – is bone deep in our ethos.

And while the ethic of business is often “Gimme,” the military inculcates an ideal of public service that runs deep. In Afghanistan, for example, soldiers sometimes dig into their own pockets to help provide supplies for local schools.

I know a lot of liberals, both family members and in uniform, enlisted and officer, in the military.  The overwhelming opinion of us, and that which has been carefully nurtured by conservatives, is that of the politically conservative, overwhelmingly religious (and overwhelmingly conservative christian at that) patriarchal and unfeeling.  Nice to see that someone else realizes that’s not always the case, isn’t it?


7 Comments leave one →
  1. Air Force Infidel permalink
    June 17, 2011 11:24 am

    One of my libertarian friends also posted this to facebook and pointed out that in many ways the article is correct about the socialist system in our military. However, he asserted that it could not be applied to a larger scale (i.e. the country as a whole) because the military is selective and “cuts the chaff.” So, it is not as “socialist” as it sounds since, theoretically, if you are not productive, you will lose your place in the military society. Personally, I end up being in the middle…I thing my friend is correct that as a whole you could not apply the miltary system to out country but I also agree with the writer of the article that much could be learned from it. I especially appreciated the parts about investing in our people and the pay comparisons (although the military pay comparison is pretty simplistic).

  2. June 20, 2011 6:19 pm

    I read a few of your posts and as an Army Wife, I found some comfort and familiarity in them. I’ll be coming back!


  3. June 21, 2011 6:30 am

    When I was first married, I cam across so many spouses who weren’t conservative I told my husband I should start a support group. Over the years, almost all the spouses I met were moderates or liberal. It’s only recently that I’ve seen a subset of ultra conservative, ultra religious spouses come out of the woodwork.

    I think the military system works in its own way. Like the previous poster said (most times) if you’re not productive you’re cut out of the system. I’d like to see the government get a better grip at running healthcare and such on a smaller scale like the military, VA, Meidcaid, Medicare, before trying to roll out a nation wide plan. I can just see it being disastrous if not done properly, and let’s face it, our government isn’t exactly known for doing things right the first time. Too many things get halfassed at the outset.

  4. June 23, 2011 7:43 pm

    I am not conservative. But our lifestyle could not work for “all” as the previous person already mentioned, the military has expectations for what it gives. Great expectations that not everyone can do or produce. We also pay into our system still. We pay taxes. We are not welfare recipients just draining the dollar. What is given to us is a privilege for what our SO’s have done in order to receive it. Our society could not carry this as a “way of life for all”. That is just my opinion but good post. It is about to happen unless “Obamacare” is repealed. So, we shall see.

  5. June 26, 2011 7:08 am

    It is interesting how different the perception of what it means to be military and a military spouse is so different from the reality! I have also found that a large number of my military spouse friends are as liberal (or even more so!) than I am! 🙂

  6. June 26, 2011 10:46 am

    My World War II paratrooper dad, now deceased for five years, was proud of being a liberal.

  7. Andrea permalink
    June 26, 2011 12:44 pm

    I’m sorry but I disagree with pay. a CSM with 20+ years makes about the same as a CPT with 8. Both have college, just one chose to be enlisted. This to me, is a sense of classism.

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