As a Veteran…

Stop using military service that way

So read this idiocy: http://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/08/trump_adviser_al_baldasaro_hil.html

It’s the kind of shit that political extremeists love to shout. Until it causes them problems, then they all backpedal like they were sitting north on a southbound unicycle going down a hill.

But that idiocy doesn’t particularly bother me. Probably because I’ve seen it for decades, and I’m just all outraged out over it. This bit however, this does give me the irrits:

Asked whether he had spoken to Trump about his views, Baldasaro said he had. “Donald Trump, he might not agree on the way I said it, but I said it as a veteran,” Baldasaro said.

“I said it as a veteran”.

Well, I say this “as a veteran”, (USAF, 86–93): Shut the fuck up with that shit. You saying that “as a veteran” gives your statements no special standing, any more than my status as a vet gives these statements any special standing. You, or I, being a veteran means that we happen to have gone through a set of experiences that are shared, to differing extents, by a fairly small group of people in the U.S.

Not all vets’ experiences are the same. For example, mine included “don’t use being a veteran as a “get out of jail free” card for being a fucking cockmonkey.” Clearly, Mr. Baldasaro’s vet experiences did not include that. Which is a shame. Because when vets, even if they’re being sincere, or whatever, use their status as some kind of authority position, immune from disagreement on the pain of being considered less of a patriot, they do a disservice to the vast majority of vets.

The fact I was in the USAF doesn’t make automatically make me more right than anyone else on anything, not even veteran’s issues. At best, it makes certain things more personal to me because they affect me more than a non-vet, but the same can be said of any issue or issues that only affect a subset of the population.

Marriage Equality, for example, doesn’t directly affect me. I’m not gay. Gay people getting married doesn’t directly affect me for good or ill. A gay person talking about marriage equality is doing so from a different viewpoint than I am, a more personal viewpoint, but that doesn’t make their views automatically superior to mine.

It means that I need to accept that for them, unlike me, Marriage Equality is a much more personal thing. So they’re going to handle it differently. Same thing with vets and veterans issues or military issues. A non-vet doesn’t have a lesser viewpoint than I do. They have a less personal viewpoint, but that’s not lesser, just different. I’m going to respond to certain things that involve vets differently than they will. But if they disagree, they’re not automatically wrong.

The reverse is true. The things I think about veterans’ issues are not automatically right or even more right. They’re right for the same reasons any belief or statement is right.

That’s why I hate that “…as a veteran.” shit. Because it says “I am a VETERAN and if you are NOT A VETERAN, then you MUST ACCEED TO MY VIEWS FOR I HAVE THE HOLY STATUS YOU DO NOT.”

Fuck that. If my service meant anything, it means that your ass and my ass are equal. With equal chances of being full of shit. Or not full of shit. Or only kind of full of shit. The fact I have a DD-214 and you don’t doesn’t make me any better than you or any other non-vet.

So please, if you are a vet, try to not use that “as a veteran” thing as much as humanly possible. And if you’re not a vet, don’t allow a vet to say stupid, untrue shit without challenge. That’s not why we have vets in the first place.