I’m having a hard time formulating my thoughts about the Trump Administration and the way that it is currently treating immigrants who signed up for the Armed Forces.
I am having a hard time formulating my thoughts because I am so shocked and ashamed of this administration.
I am having a hard time formulating my thoughts because I remember being in AIT.
I remember my classmate at Ft. Sam Houston, an immigrant who came from Italy, and chose to serve in the armed forces though she was not yet a citizen because she loved America so much.
She has loomed large in my memory.
When I read Starship Troopers, with its central thesis that the best measure of citizenship is the willingness to put the good of the citizenry and the country above one’s own well-being, I thought of her.
Because for all Starship Trooper‘s flaws – and it does have flaws – that central thesis is still powerful. That central thesis is why people keep telling me “thank you for your service” even though I only served in MEDDACs and troop medical centers. Because though I was not a combat arms MOS, though I never served in a combat zone, I was willing to fight and, if needed, die. I signed up knowing that. Every recruit signs up knowing that, and knowing it’s a very real possibility.
I spent a lot of time while I was in the military around new recruits. Some of them were the stereotypical Steve Rogers type. Far more were like me, wanting to pay off student loans or support a family.
Regardless of our reason for signing up, we were all soldiers. That is what was important. I was continually impressed by those who signed up for the most banal and mundane of reasons who were still willing and ready to do what was necessary for their country.
And none impressed me more than those who were not yet citizens but who were willing to place their lives on the line to defend a country they believed in.
And with this action, this Administration dishonors them all.
This action is disturbing because it harkens to the paranoia of the Japanese internment camps and Korematsu v. United States. This action is disturbing because it harkens to the nationalism and jingoism of the pro Nazi rallies (dressed up as pro-American ones) by the American Bund that we have largely forgotten.
But what makes this action shameful, what makes this action deplorable, is the gross disservice and dishonour that it does to those who want to defend our country, though they are not yet citizens here.
This is a decision that does not support the troops.
This is a decision that dishonors them all.
Featured Photo by Andrew Pons on Unsplash