John Livingston

Pronoun guide for United States Navy

Today a YouTube video went viral, and the conservative world is up in arms. A US NAVY video (referenced above) is described as a guide to pronoun use and how to “create a safe place” for everyone. I had to laugh. This type of indoctrination has been going on in our military and in Federal Government agencies since at least 1977. That year all active-duty personnel (I was one) were required to take “sensitivity training” courses explaining how to be sensitive to racial and sexual inequities. Vice Admiral Elmo Zumwalt using his famous “Z-grams” brought sociology and politics to the forefront of military training.

Upfront I have to say that I have never had, nor do I have now any feelings about any sexual proclivities of my comrades in arms. Divorce and adultery—I am myself am divorced and remarried, LGBT lifestyles, all are wrong, but we have to stand for our shortcomings ourselves, and by creating situations that rationalize or legitimize aberrant or sinful behavior in the name of validating our goodness only creates a false sense of legitimacy and never leads to individual self-respect or the respect of others I have been privileged to serve under a gay commanding officer, who neither flaunted or tried to hide her sexual preference. I was honored to take care of a gay Congressional Medal of Honor winner who was a patient of mine with HIV. I knew that either of these individuals would put their lives on the line for me and my liberty—in fact, they already had. They were both extremely professional and never made their private lives an issue. What Admiral Zumwalt and his “Z-gram” initiatives unknowingly created when trying to legitimatize a particular lifestyle, was that they opened the lives of many service people who wanted those aspects of their lives kept private. A person should be identified by their accomplishments, by their honesty, dignity, by their work, not by their sexuality or even their race.

Racial and ethnic issues were also addressed in the “Grams”, but in doing so the Navy created a culture of affirmative action. Black officers and senior enlisted who rise through the ranks in today’s military almost uniformly have done so based on merit. There are no legacies in the Black, Native American, Oriental, or Hispanic communities. My cousin Koranne’s father was a Chippewa Indian and a Navy Fighter pilot. I served with a lady who became the first women of Filipino descent to make Admiral. She made Admiral in the Medical Corps the same day her brother—a Naval Academy graduate made Admiral as a line officer. Their father was the chief of surgery at UT San Antonio and was present when they both put on their stars. They were each given opportunities and they made correct decisions.

There is no question that opportunity was not in the past distributed to all races and classes of people during all times, but those that succeeded with their opportunities all made the right choices moving forward. When we create a class of people in the name of opportunity, we should be careful that we don’t also limit the choices that they would otherwise make. We create opportunities by giving individuals a great education. We create opportunities by teaching children to compete in everything that they do. Teaching them to win and lose is a great gift. Bumping them up a career ladder without giving them the skills and ability to compete is a disservice to the individual and the class that is trying to be helped. Individuals competing— up the chain of command, professionally, in the marketplace, on the athletic field is what makes everyone better. Could you imagine the NFL or NBA having a 62% quota for white people? Do you think they “have sensitivity training” or “woke indoctrination programs? They are all too busy preparing to compete. Our military should be spending their time preparing to compete and not being woke. Since President Biden’s “wokeness” executive order and its’ implementation by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin—A West Point Graduate, the State of military readiness has deteriorated significantly over the past two years. Just like what happened in the Carter administration after the implementation of “Z-grams”.

The Tuskegee Airmen were all educated at Tuskegee University. Booker T. Washington the founder of that institution created an environment patterned after the Hampton Institute model. All students no matter their major, even if they played a sport, had to work half a day five days a week. They worked hard and learned to compete in the classroom, on the debate stage and in athletics. When given their opportunity they made the right choices and proved themselves by the work that they did.

As we celebrate JUNETEENTH DAY let us not forget the 400,000 soldiers of all races who died to free the slaves and those who fought at Bunker Hill and the over 1 million people who died throughout our history protecting our liberties. All any of us should care about is the single fact that they were willing to die for us and that they did their jobs. Putting anything else into the calculous detracts from their individual virtue and accomplishments.

They did or are doing their jobs with honor and competence. Nothing else matters. Our military needs to get back to work before it is too late.

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