The fact that people in the military are somehow able to disavow themselves from socialism is either 100% hypocritical or 100% ignorant. I’ve come to the conclusion that members of the military who refuse to give Bernie Sanders a chance purely because he’s a “socialist,” are the Clayton Bigsby equivalents of the culture of American politics. My analogy has nothing to do with the racist rhetoric spewed by the fictional character, I’ll leave that to Donald Trump, but I will say that military members who are “anti-socialist” are just as ridiculous as a black man screaming “white power,” at a white supremacist rally.
For those who don’t know, Clayton Bigsby was a character played by Dave Chappelle in the very first episode of “Chappelle’s Show,” on Comedy Central in 2003. The episode featured a parody of “Frontline” in which Chappelle played a character who was born blind and black. Bigsby grew up an orphan in an all-white school for the blind and was never told that he was black. As we are all products of our environment, and probably because he never knew he was black, Clayton Bigsby grew up to be a white supremacist. In fact, due to his reclusiveness, he was able to become “the leading voice of white supremacy in America.” Pretty ridiculous right?
“Socialists” who are “anti-socialists” are just as ridiculous. If the word socialist is defined as “one who practices socialism,” and if the word socialism is defined as “a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies,” then we have to admit that members of the military are indeed “socialists,” and by denouncing socialism they are just as blind as Clayton Bigsby was denouncing black people.
Some may find this analogy and the fact that by definition, I’m calling members of the military socialists, to be offensive. That’s not my intent. Rather I hope to explain that the socialism, specifically democratic socialism, as Bernie explains it isn’t that scary and in fact it already exists all around us. For people in the military this fact is truer than in any other organization in America. Actually, as a member of the military, your very existence hinges on socialism.
While I could go into great detail and discuss ALL the facts which make the U.S. Military the most socialist organization in America, I’ll stick to the U.S. Army and I’ll only discuss health care, housing, and education.
We won’t discuss that, as a member of the military, you refuse to give Bernie Sanders a chance because he’s advocating to use tax dollars to pay for universal health care, free/affordable public college, and to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure because that’s “socialism.” You stand against socialism because you’re a red-blooded, barrel-chested American freedom fighter. I don’t want you to explain where the money came from to pay for the military vehicle you ride in, how you got the ammunition in the government provided weapon you carry with the ACOG and the PEQ-15 mounted on the picatinny rail. I don’t even want to know about the pay allowance you received to pay for the approved boots or the socks on your feet, the uniform pants around your waist and the patrol cap on your head. I definitely don’t want to know about the blouse that covers your red-blooded, barrel-chest. The blouse in which over your heart, on the left side of your chest is a name tape that reads US ARMY. As if to imply that you are “owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies.”
Nope, not going to mention any of that. Just going to focus on health care, housing, and education.
How does the Army health care system work?
The Army uses a system called “Tricare.” Active duty members and their dependents are automatically enrolled. This is kind of an HMO-concept, usually with the base medical facility acting as the primary care provider (PCP). The good news is this is entirely “free” for active duty members. And by free I mean it’s funded by tax dollars just like Bernie is proposing we pay for the programs under his platform.
How does military housing work?
If you’re a lower enlisted member and single, you are usually assigned a room in the barracks which are pretty similar to most college dormitories. A lot contain a common living area usually shared with a roommate with a stove, oven, microwave, refrigerator, sink, and dishwasher. There’s usually a shared full bathroom and sometimes even a laundry machine washer and dryer. Each soldier usually has his own bedroom, about the size of a normal bedroom in a house, enough room to fit a full size bed, a dresser, a nightstand, a credenza, and a walk-in closet. Soldiers live there for “free.” And by free, I mean paid for at the government’s expense. The rooms are fully furnished and all appliances are included along with free water, garbage, and electricity. All paid for and controlled by the government.
If you’re married, you get paid a Basic Allowance for Housing or BAH, in addition to your base pay. BAH is based off your pay grade and the zip code of the base the government assigns you to. You can usually choose to live on base or off, but if you’re married you will “receive” BAH. If you choose to live on base, the governmental contracted company assigns your living quarters based off your pay grade and how many dependents you have enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System or DEERS. Your BAH is automatically subtracted from your pay and that wealth is redistributed to the governmental contracted company who controls the on post housing for the base the government assigned you to. These living quarters come unfurnished but water, garbage, and electricity are usually covered by your BAH. If you’re allowed live off base you have to budget your money to pay for all living expenses, but you still get a BAH in addition to your base pay.
How does the Army education system work?
The schools most military dependent children attend are not private schools. The school’s bases are funded by the defense department. A study done in 2014 found that 40% or 62 of the 157 public schools on military bases inspected by the Pentagon were in either poor or failing condition. 28 schools, including many of those in poor or failing condition, were over capacity by at least 15% and sometimes as much as 30%. Bringing military-run schools up to standards would actually cost tax payers 4 billion dollars of socialism.
If we’re discussing education covered by socialism in the Army, we must also discuss the education service members receive that forge them into the professionals they are during their time in service and throughout their careers. If we’re just talking about enlisted members, we’d have to find the total cost per soldier for basic training, advanced individual training, Warriors Leaders Course, Advanced Leaders Course, Senior Leaders Course, and the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy. Don’t forget to factor in the socialism that may have been spent on specialty schools like Airborne, Air Assault, Pathfinder, Ranger, Scuba, and so on and so on.
There’s also military tuition assistance. Military tuition assistance is paid to eligible members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Congress has given each service the ability to pay up to 100% for the tuition expenses of its members, usually up to $4,500. This socialistic idea can be used to pay for one of each of the following programs: vocational/technical programs, undergraduate programs (associate’s and bachelor’s degree), graduate programs (master’s and doctoral degree), independent study, and distance learning programs.
I would be remiss to not mention the GI Bill. If you don’t know the history behind this piece of socialism I suggest you research it. Pretty controversial piece of socialism that almost never came to fruition. Thankfully, under FDR, our Nation’s most socialistic president to date, it was signed into law in 1944. Nowadays the post 9/11 GI Bill can provide a monthly stipend of about $1,700 for 36 months or about $60,000 worth of socialism in total. If a soldier chooses not to use it he/she can elect to give it to one of their dependents or split it amongst them as they see fit.
If you’re a member of the military and after reading this analogy you still refuse to give Bernie Sanders a chance because he’s a socialist, you have to be 100% hypocritical, 100% ignorant, or you need to completely disavow yourself from the military. Your reason would probably be just as ridiculous as Clayton Bigsby’s was for divorcing his wife.