I’m really grateful that we are now in the month of June; a month when all of corporate/government America turns their attention to the shocking toll of post traumatic stress disorder; changing their twitter avatars to a PTSD theme to remind all America the scourge of the mental disorders that plague our military and veteran community that have seen far too much violence for far too long. The community that has given their heart and souls to protect and defend the United States Constitution. That has toiled, sweated, and spilled blood to protect America from all enemies, foreign and domestic. That has borne the emotional trauma of explosions; of screams; of the cries of wounded and dying comrades in faraway lands.
Of course, I’m kidding; don’t be absurd. Corporate America could not give less of a shit about us military members; for something far more important occupies their thoughts and Twitter avatars. For it just so happens that June 1st also marks the beginning of a vastly more pressing ecognition in the eyes of pretty much every major institution in America: LGBT pride month. Since it is now practically de rigueur for the United States military to mark the occasion, let’s take a look and see who is winning the social media battle for the hearts and minds of the LGBT community. (For purposes of this article, I am referring to Instagram and Twitter only; I have no knowledge of Boomer Facebook or ChiCom TikTok.)
Frankly, I was disappointed in the effort from my beloved United States Air Force. The USAF DID put up a post on Twitter, as one would expect. However, perhaps due to their constant comments-section-roasting on matters from their senior enlisted promising to track down airmen who inquire about the correct pronunciation of leadership names, or their embarrassing efforts to promote unqualified officers solely due to their race and gender, the service actually demurred on the subject on Instagram. They have made up for it a bit since with their volume of tweets on their official twitter accounts, including this very warrior-esque picture showing people in a running formation with the LGBT pride flag:
But huge negative points for wearing headphones and mismatched uniforms in a military PT formation; that’s an absolute no-go. Plus, knowing that the LGBT community despises carbs almost as much as they love being jacked, tan, and having ab veins snaking down their torsos, perhaps they could have found some personnel that fit that description much better. For example, this obvious UNIT probably would have made for a much better representation of the physical specimens found in the community:
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The Army remained hatefully silent on both platforms, and in perhaps the biggest shock of all, the Navy did as well. Well, at least at the beginning of the month. The Navy now has shown themselves to be a serious contender in the Woke Olympics with this amazing, child-like video of two people discussing proper pronoun usage in a manner befitting preschoolers.
WATCH: The Navy is training its members to create a "safe space" by using proper gender pronouns.
Here's their new instructional video, which is modeled after a children's show:
But let’s save the best for last. The United States Marine Corps has hardly been known for being a bastion of progressive values for their near-250 year history. As someone with two USMC officer brothers, not to mention someone who has been surrounded by Marines for much of the last 20 years, I’m well accustomed to their neanderthal traditions. Fine, centuries-old traditions such as drinking more alcohol than should be humanly possible, or killing terrorists in brutal hand to hand combat, or battling giant flaming lava monsters, or breaking into loud barking while gathering at the bar, or greeting each other with unintelligible grunting, “yuts,” or “kill,” as they find appropriate. The Marines have been at the front of every American battle in the history of the country, from kicking the shit out of the Brits (several times!) to turning Al Queda into pink mist on the reg in Fallujah. What makes the grass grow, indeed!
However, we live in a different time now; a time when social media more regrettably demands fealty to events other than killing America’s enemies. And no one is more finely tuned to The Current Thing than government institutions, including the US military. Which brings us to the matter at hand. Of the six branches of the United States military, the USMC was the only one to put up an Instagram post celebrating LGBT pride; a post that garnered almost 30,000 comments. (For comparison, their Memorial Day post only got about 500 comments.) And what was the post? Here you go:
Frankly, the second-worst part of the post was not the overt groveling to ensure compliance with our new sensitive officer class; it was the misuse of an image associated with one of the most iconic movies about the USMC. Everyone remembers the original, correct?
I mentioned the imagery was only the second-worst part of the post. The worst part, in my opinion, was the Marines’ insistence on joining in with the current frenzy to recognized members along racial/sexual prefernce lines. The military was always supposed to be the real melting pot; where one’s color or sexual preference didn’t matter. Of course, they have failed in that many times throughout the centuries, but in the GWOT era, it would be fair to say that no color or sexual prefernce was an issue; what mattered was the abilty to get the job done. I think all of us knew military members were gay, and at least in my experience, absolutely no one cared. Like, cool man; you bang dudes; now shut up, stand up, and hook up. As Gunnery Sergeant Hartman famously said in the same movie from whence the IG imagery came, we were all equally worthless.
Now, everyone is special. And the military is absolutely determined to emphasize each individual race and now sexual preference. Whether it’s hispanic heritage month, or black history month, or Asian American/Pacific Islander month, or LGBT pride month, the focus is no longer a color blind meritocracy but a constant focus on ethnic differences. (Except for European heritage month, that would be Literally White Supremacy.) And why a month, anyway? Far too long. Memorial Day is one day; Veteran’s day is one day. You don’t get a month. Honestly if you’re going to do this, it should be LGBT/black/hispanic/AAPI hour.
While the Marines did not match the Air Force or Navy for the amount of posts, the sheer bafflement their post garnered from readers immediately puts them as the clear winner of Pride Month. And it kind of makes sense if you think about it. When I wonder where jacked, shirtless, piss-drunk, sweaty, well-groomed men professing their love for each other like to hang out on a Saturday night, I immediately think of the Brass Rail, every Marine Corps barracks, and any bar in Oceanside, California.
I’m writing this semi-tongue in cheek. I have never really cared about whether or not the man next to me while on the ramp of a C130 in full weapons and kit, staring down into the darkness while praying I don’t die on the HALO jump enjoyed penis/vagina/other; or whether he was a black guy or asian guy or latino guy; I cared whether he had suffered through and passed the same training crucible I did so that he would not kill me or others. I know that the ship of the color blind military sailed long ago. I know that the military in the past failed miserably in their stated ideal of being a place where skin color and sexual preference didn’t matter. But it is 2022; and it is rather annoying now being subjected to the sight of the ultimate “KILL” military branch bowing to the pressure from above to virtue signal on social media.
Oh well; maybe in another hundred years or so, my dream of we military members not having to dutifully put out statements extolling each other’s differences will finally become a reality. In the meantime, it is kind of fun to goof on the USMC doing a radical about-face on their long-held insistence that there is no color or sexual diffence in the brach other than green. Remember what Drill Instructor Fitch had to say:
And yes, the rainbow rounds in the helmet should have been crayons.
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Chief Marketing Officer, VET Tv
Justin Szerletich an award-winning creative strategist, marketer, and U.S. Marine Corps Veteran. He is a former infantryman that deployed to Ramadi, Iraq and again on the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit serving throughout the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Upon returning home from war, Justin worked for the government through 2017 when he began his own marketing agency. His company was acquired in 2020 and he now serves as VET Tv’s Chief Marketing Officer.
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