I clearly remember the first time I thought we should open up combat roles to women in the military. It was 1967, and the country hadn’t yet turned en masse against the Vietnam War. There were still plenty of supporters, including women. And I was talking to one. I found myself saying, “If you’re so much in favor of the war, why don’t you enlist?” It was a very foolish thing to say, especially as she was bigger than me.
One of the principal ways our patriarchal society has historically ensured that women are seen as second-class citizens is by limiting the ways women can legally contribute to society. Consequently, their contributions, while outwardly valued, are nevertheless of a different character and can always be relegated to a secondary status, whereas identical contributions could not be so regarded.
As a corollary, if a woman backed a war, you couldn’t say, “If you’re so in favor of the war, why don’t you enlist?” without stepping in your own steaming patriarchal historicity, if you know what I mean.
It didn’t help to say, “I’m not that kind of patriarch,” or “Some of my best friends are women,” or even, “Actually, I’m entirely in favor of allowing you people the right to go to war.” Take my word for it, it didn’t help.
Thankfully, all that has changed now, and women will no longer be regarded as second-class citizens by Rush Limbaugh and other putrefying patriarchs. At least not for this particular reason. Women will leave all that behind them, to children, the infirm and the currently incarcerated. All those of us who can kill enemies will be equals to each other and to Prince Harry, royal Taliban killer. All those who cannot kill enemies can go fish. Figuratively.
I’m sure it’s only a coincidence that this is happening at a time when the military is stretched to the limit, prevented from resorting to a draft, and forced to use the same troops over and over until suicide rates exceed rates of fatal casualties. This will definitely take some of that pressure off, but that can’t possibly have been part of the considerations.
This change means that women will get all the same benefits that men obtain from combat, things like camaraderie, promotions, excellent medical benefits, war stories to keep to themselves, people refusing to believe they are combat veterans when they panhandle later, and so on.
Remember what happened when homosexuals were allowed in the military? Soon after that homosexual marriage became legal right here in Washington state. I see woman marriage in our future! Maybe as soon as next year.
Let’s face it, a combat role is one of the main ways that men achieve success in our society. It’s the reason we have to have so many wars. Without them, men simply can’t be successful. Now women can enjoy the same privilege and rise to the top of the heap the same way.
The same social dynamic can be seen in other aspects of modern life. For example, it wasn’t until around the time of the American Civil War, when manufacturing corporations fought alongside men, that such corporations were recognized as persons, and now look at them.
I predict the same rosy future for the unmanned military aircraft, which will probably be getting the vote soon.
African-Americans’ increased opportunities to assume combat roles during the Korean and the Vietnam wars caused the fortunes of African-Americans to rise so dramatically in the United States, that there is now no difference between their economic condition and that of white people.
Of course, looking further yet into the future, we all know that the day will come when all combat roles will be assigned to robots on land, air and sea. Naturally, when that happens, robots will rise in status in all our eyes, and humans will be seen as insignificant.
Isn’t that just the way things ought to be?