Let me introduce you to the ugly American.
She was sitting at the gate of a major military installation last weekend, waiting to get a pass to attend a birthday party behind the gate. Apparently, she had had enough and blurted her frustrations out on Facebook.
Sure. Sitting at the gate stinks. New security measures have been put in place at gates around the nation meaning the wait to enter could stretch to an hour or more. I get it. It is frustrating. I agree. The largest military on the planet surely must be able to find a way to streamline the gate system.
It’s what she shouted across the internet next that made my blood boil.
They “have been sitting there for 25 minutes now. They just called #18 and [they are] #31. This is beyond ridiculous. Tell me why it's okay for me to teach military children and work and live side by side with military families but we can't get onto post without all of this??!!! It was bad enough before with the vehicle checks. I think local residents should be treated with a little more respect from our military. We put up with a LOT because we live next to Ft. [***], you'd think we would be treated a little better than this. I'm disgusted and furious!!!!!”
Are you kidding me?
Her friends offered advice, through obviously gritted teeth.
They politely suggested her that those who invited her on post should have warned her about the security changes. Others reminded her, “They put their lives on the line for us the least we can do is be willing to be inconvenienced a little by getting a pass or waiting in a line.”
Normal people in a rage would have stopped. Not this ugly American. She continued to demand to be allowed on base. The rules didn’t work anyway, she said. She deserved credit, she said.
“One thing that does annoy me is the lack of respect for NON-military families around here. I've lived here for 14 years and used to drive on post as easily as driving to Walmart. [My husband] has lived here his entire 47 yrs. We've seen a lot of people come and go, we've prayed and cried with and for families who've lost loved ones. I've waited at [****] a few times for my brother to return from deployment. We are very much military connected, but because we don't have that status and an ID card, we don't get any credit for any of it. Maybe that's why I'm so annoyed at the ridiculous system of getting on post.”
Ok, I’ll back up for a minute. Yes, I’m sure she has friends in the military. She says her brother has served. Certainly, she is part of the military support system.
This, however, in no way, shape or form, affords her the same benefits that are granted to actual military members and their spouses. That means no ID card, no base access.
Did she stop to think for one second that combat veterans who have been wounded but did not retire also do not have ID cards and also have to stop at the gate for a pass? And sit in that very long line.
Even as a military spouse, I’ve been stopped at the gate. My car has been searched. I’ve been turned away, with an ID card. It’s called national security measures.
Mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters of soldiers killed in action don’t have ID cards either. They will be sitting in the same line if they need to come on base to tend to their dead relatives’ paperwork.
But that doesn’t matter to this gal. She puts up with so much. She is entitled. She deserves to waltz onto base without anyone questioning her. She has lived here the longest! That makes her special, darn it!
Here’s the thing, sweetie. If you want “credit” as you say for living the military life, than actually join and live the military life. Yes, having a brother, cousin, son, neighbor serving in the military is not easy. Of course you are considered part of their military family.
But that is very different from serving on the front lines or being the spouse at home trying to hold it together.
When is the last time this gal gave birth while watching on CNN the town her husband was fighting in get blown to smithereens? When was the last time she got a phone call from her husband for the first time in three weeks only to have the satellite signal drop two minutes into the call? How many times has she moved in the last 10 years? How many times have her children switched schools, been made fun of for being the new kid or came home and announced they didn’t want to make friends because they knew they were going to move anyway?
It is hard to have extended family in the military. But being the actual military member or the spouse means dealing with a reality that most civilians could never imagine, and that includes this gal and other extended family members.
And I have yet to come across a military spouse worth her salt who demanded credit for the things she has done. Military families serve out of duty and honor. They do not demand credit in a hasty, nasty Facebook post.
The mere fact that she would suggest that she deserves the same or more respect for her role in the military community than a military spouse or service member is selfish and grotesque.
I am disgusted. I am furious.
This, my friends, is exactly the type of person we do not want and do not need in our military community or in our support systems. This type of person, who feels entitled to have all the benefits of being military without ever actually serving in the military or as a spouse, is the same as the person who wears medals they never earned.
In her rage, she reminded her Facebook readers that “after today, all invitations to events on post will be respectfully declined. Parties, concerts, fairs, runs, etc. will not be attended by me and mine and I will laugh when I see events advertised as ‘open to the general public’.”
Trust me sweetie, after that rant, you’re not welcome.