Donald Trump has nominated Tennessee legislator Mark Green to be the next U.S. Army secretary. Green has an extensive anti-LGBT legislative rap sheet. He has called for county clerks who oppose marriage equality to engage in what he perversely calls "civil disobedience" by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He once offered these candid words on how he sees his role in government:
"The government exists to honor those people who live honorably, who do good thingsto reward people who behave well and to crush evil. So that means as a state senator, my responsibility very clearly in Romans 13 is to create an environment where people who do right are rewarded and the people who do wrong are crushed. Evil is crushed.
"So I'm going to protect women in their bathrooms, and I'm going to protect our state against potential infiltration from the Syrian ISIS people in the refugee program. And whoever wants to stand up and take me on that, I'm ready to fight."
The Human Rights Campaign and other LGBT groups, along with Caitlyn Jenner, are using alarming statements like this in an effort to derail Green's nomination to be secretary of the Army. Here's a fella who, like ISIS, deeply believes that transgender people pose a threat to him, his family and the nation. Green's belief system is demented. Yet LGBT opponents of Green's nomination would have us focus on the absurd belief system of one man rather than the ever more consequential absurdity of our political situation: namely, that otherwise rational, mature adults still lend their unquestioning support to young adults who enlist in the Army or Marines, knowing full that the current command-in-chief has no moral conscience, and knowing full well that Congress has not authorized the use of force in over 15 years.
Consider this scenario: An 18-year-old gay man kicked out of his home and who has no resources sees a recruiting advertisement for the Army. Responding to an enlistment bonus that now reaches as much as $40,000, plus a base salary and benefits, the young man signs his life over to the Army for the next several years, with Donald Trump having a free hand to do with him what he pleases, as members of Congress concluded long ago that abdicating their constitutional responsibility to declare wars was the safest way to secure re-election.
A 2-year-old when the United States launched the war in Afghanistan in 2001, that 18-year-old has grown up under political system in which average Americans expect neither from themselves nor from their representatives in Congress any ethical rigor whatsoever in allowing the commander-in-chief to deploy soldiers where he pleases. It's a system totally at variance with what the framers of the Constitution envisioned; a Constitution that in all likelihood that 18-year-old has little, if any, familiarity with, as he's just struggling to survive.
One can empathize with the LGBT military service members of previous eras, including recent history, who still carry with them the trauma of discrimination, stigmatization, and the witch hunts that characterized their time in the Armed Forces. Yet it's asking too much of their fellow Americans living under the Trump regime for the latter to insist that their experiences of trauma be the sole lens through which we as citizensincluding men who loudly proclaim to love mengrapple with military matters.
Personally speaking, I am now more than twice the age of the 18, 19 and 20-year-olds who are now enlisting or considering enlisting in the Army and Marines. I have lived through endless reports of military lies, cover-ups, torture scandals, and battle practices that simply shock the conscience, like Army officers sending soldiers into battle with powerful prescription drugs like Klonopin. All of this aggregated moral rot is carried out to sustain quagmire wars that the vast majority of able-bodied Americans want nothing to do with.
It is that lensnot the lens of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and its antecedentsthat must principally inform my relationship as a man and as a citizen with that 18 or 19-year-old. Simply put, I have seen more of the world than he has, I have witnessed more of this country's moral shallowness than he has, including and especially its ruthless willingness to exploit economically vulnerable young people. It would be irresponsible, disloyal, and inhumane not to impart that perspective gained through years of living.
Caitlyn Jenner appeared on Fox News recently and raised alarm over Mark Green's nomination. Watching her, I chose to cast aside her ongoing, patently illogical position that her party, the Republican Party, is more loyal to the principles of the U.S. Constitution, and focused instead on the more compelling testimony written on her face. Ms. Jenner has blossomed into the beautiful woman she was meant to be, and it is also unmistakable that she is a woman of maturity67, to be exact. If anyone should be sensitive to the precious gift of years, and quick to protect the arc of life and its revelations about one's own soul, it ought to be Caitlyn Jenner.
My hope and prayer is that Ms. Jenner and all of those in the LGBT community old enough to appreciate the precious arc of life will welcome every opportunity to deter young Americans from enlisting as Army soldiers and Marines, to be killed or maimed in quagmire wars, under the command of an insane, narcissistic sexual predator.
After all, it is the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard that are the backbone of the U.S. national security apparatus, and always will be irrespective of any attendant dangers there may be with a particular commander-in-chief. If Mark Green's ascension to the position of Army Secretary will help finally crystalize the aggregated moral rot that is taking place vis-Ãƒï¿½-vis our nation's soldiery system, and thus steer young people toward those branches of military service that the nation actually needsbranches that are more respectful of the arc of human lifewe should welcome that development with open arms. Or, as another beautiful woman of maturity, the great Patti LaBelle, might put it, "Don't block the blessings."
[Editor's note: As of May 3, when this particular issue was composed, there were rumors that Green might withdraw his nomination.]