So, you might have heard of that "Marriage Vow" (PDF) that actual contenders for the US presidency Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum signed. The purpose of this document is to get political candidates to sign a vow to do things like vigorously oppose same-sex marriage, remain faithful to one's spouse, and Support The Troops. The point also seems to get Real American signees to oppose politicians who don't support the statements in the vow.
(Yes, "marriage defenders" are Very Serious about these types of self-righteous threat-vow dealies).
This vow, of course, contains the now infamous and racist implication that blacks were better off during slavery than they are now, which has apparently been removed. (Also, whooops re: that United Rainbow of Bigotry).
Reading the Vow, I noticed another interesting provision, in which the candidates promised:
"Support for the enactment of safeguards for all married and unmarried U.S. Military and National Guard personnel, especially our combat troops, from inappropriate same-gender or opposite-gender sexual harassment, adultery or intrusively intimate commingling among attracteds (restrooms, showers, barracks, tents, etc.); plus prompt termination of military policymakers who would expose American wives and daughters to rape or sexual harassment, torture, enslavement or sexual leveraging by the enemy in forward combat roles."
I clicked on the link provided in the citation for this promise and it went to the Center for Military Readiness'** (CMR) page on "Women in Combat" and "Homosexuals in Combat," pages that are comprised of CMR-written articles about those two topics. No single specific article was mentioned, so I presume we're supposed to read them all and come to the same conclusion as the authors of this document did. I always love that tack- say something really provocative and then, when asked for evidence, just throw a bunch of links or articles at someone and hope something sticks!
**Fun Fact: CMR is an advocacy group that opposes women in combat roles and LGBT people in the military and is headed by Elaine Donnelly, an academic layperson who has been critiqued for presenting testimony "riddled with errors" due to her ignorance and misunderstanding of research methods.
Anyway, isn't it interesting how the above vow is phrased?
The first clause: "Support for the enactment of safeguards for all married and unmarried US Military and National Guard personnel..."
Like, what does (or should) a person's marital status have to do with the enactment of harassment safeguards, especially since the vow isn't saying that only married people deserve these safeguards? It could have just said, "Support the enactment of safeguards for all US Military and National Guard personnel" and it would have the exact same meaning. Do they think they're extending some big huge olive branch to the Other Side for including people who dare to be unmarried into the category of people who also deserve certain safeguards?
"...especially our combat troops, from inappropriate same-gender or opposite-gender sexual harassment, adultery or intrusively intimate commingling among attracteds (restrooms, showers, barracks, tents, etc)"
Now, I would certainly sign on to a statement in favor of sexual harassment safeguards. Just not this one. Because what is strange is why "especially our combat troops" (does this mean men only?) are singled out as being "especially" worthy of these safeguards. And, although I'm not entirely sure what an "attracted" is (is that even a real noun?), the statement appears to be saying that our combat troops shouldn't have to commingle with people who might be attracted to them. And, the "especially combat troops" statement seems to be Bigot Code for straight men shouldn't be forced to commingle with men who might be attracted to them.
As though rape in the military is primarily a thing that gay men inflict upon straight men.
This ongoing narrative of the Gay Military Predator is one of the most abhorrent things about Don't Ask Don't Tell, given the lived experiences of lesbian, gay, and bisexual military personnel whom heterosexuals have abused, harassed, and beaten because of their sexual orientations. And while I of course oppose both same-gender and mixed-gender sexual harassment, I find it incredibly unfortunate that this document remains silent about the reality that (a) LGB people are in the US military and are deserving of safeguards too.
Notice too that the document makes no mention of the safeguards that female troops, specifically, deserve against other military personnel. In fact, it just can't quite bring itself to say the word rape. Well, not until we start talking about Enemies, that is. The vow continues:
"plus prompt termination of military policymakers who would expose American wives and daughters to rape or sexual harassment, torture, enslavement or sexual leveraging by the enemy in forward combat roles."
Oh, okay, I guess we suddenly care about the rape of women again, now that Our Men or Our Troops aren't implicated in the carrying-out of such a thing. And, I guess we can't just call the female troops women? Like, the most important thing about them is that they're somebody's "wife" or "daughter"?
I'm not in favor of war or violent "solutions" to problems, but given that war is a reality, I think that (a) anyone who has the ability to serve in combat should be able to do so, regardless of gender, and (b) it is unfair and sexist to both men and women to assume that only men can and should handle the horrors of war (rape, torture, enslavement) and that women cannot and should not.
So two final, related notes.
1) Remember when commenter Bella said she personally doesn't know any social conservatives who view women as innocent frail beings and men as violent, sexual beasts, and that therefore I was full of shit? Well, Bella, meet the signees of this document. Signees of this document, meet Bella.
2) Remember how it's supposedly like 1500 times worse for feminists to ignore male-only combat roles than it is for politicians to continue opposing women in combat? Men's rights activists, meet the signees of this document. Signees of this document, meet men's rights activists.