Which is exactly what Ms. Sisk did when she invited us to call her bitter and then proceeded to shit on every tiny bit of progress this country has struggled to make in the military world over the last several decades.
Even better, after she's set up her intent to shit on progress in the first paragraph, she pulls some old-skool milspouse shit and rests on what her dear husband thinks of this.
My husband, Tom, asks if we, as a nation, have become so weak that we now must support military families with the results of mid-summer toy drives and stories about families' "sacrifices" on TV so that the soldiers serving in Afghanistan or Iraq (or any of the other nations) won't have to worry. Worry about what? Have we become a nation of complainers?
Let me start by saying that I give mad props to anyone who has the strength of character required to serve our country. I don't look down on the service of those who came before. It's never been an easy life, but it's always been challenging, and it's always required sacrifice. It doesn't matter what fucking word you picked back then, if you call it "coped the best way they could," it was fucking sacrifice.
But here's the deal. When Martha throws up the "bitch, please" and calls us "whiners" because we talk about the sacrifices we make, she's basically telling today's military service members that they should strap on a sack and pretend like their families don't exist. She's telling today's military spouses that they should delight in all the wonderful opportunities to travel and see the world and meet new people that happen when you're done with your tour in Vietnam.
Doh! Wait a second. The service is different now than it was back then. Life is different, too. Dual incomes are almost required these days, kids are missing parents with stupid crazy operations tempos, the economy is so far down the shitter it's gasping for fume-free air and splashing through a turd mine field, and oh yeah all this is neither new nor all that temporary. This is the new military, how it's been for years and how it will remain until the world economy (and ours particularly) hits rock bottom, the crazy stupid optempo lets up, a woman's desire to have a career of her own isn't so shockingly commonplace (how dare those uppity bitches?!), and dual incomes are no longer so necessary.
Would I want the life I'd have had as a milspouse in the 70s? Fuck no. That shit was hard, too, and in much different ways than I'm prepared to deal with. But to snark on the few perks military families get for all they've been missing for the last 9 years (for army/air force/lazy Marines) or several decades (Navy and those Marines who can't make that long-ass swim to their destination) is just low class. Just because you equate military service with getting to eat exotic food, shopping in German markets, learning a new language, and getting to travel doesn't mean that's been my experience as a milspouse. In fact, my experience has been quite the opposite. Sure, I've had some exotic food, but sustenance isn't exactly my first qualification for wonderful experiences. I've learned a bit of a new language and shopped in foreign markets, but that was mostly scary as shit because, well, I was in Bahrain and we had just invaded Iraq.
Dearest, bitterest Martha. You don't get to acknowledge "numerous unending deployments" and then inform me that, while "sometimes hard, with constant change" it's an "exciting and joyful" life. Fuck you, Ms. Sisk. Fuck you and your paternalistic pat on my head. Fuck you and your self-granted entitlement to ridicule my generation of milspouses when you have no fucking clue.
The military you knew isn't the military today. The life you knew isn't available today. For that, I'm glad. If I were expected to keep a stiff upper lip and not talk about how hard this life is, I think I'd end every day on a massive fucking bender. Maybe your generation was expected to shut up and pretend like everything was full of awesomesauce while you wondered if your husband would come home. We're not that way, and frankly, I think it's healthier to own up to how scary, how hard, and how unfair to the children this life is.
If it helps the ankle biters forget their troubles for a few minutes, then let them have a free fucking toy. Let them have camps where they can get the support and fun they need to be children, for gods' sakes. Let them have healthy outlets instead of bottling up their fears. What the fuck does it matter to you? Or are the children a bunch of whiners and complainers, and are we coddling them by trying to ease their fears?
Fuck you, Martha. Fuck you and your ivory tower full of raw milk and "ja, toll!" and travel opportunities. Fuck you and your assumptions. And most of all, fuck your unhealthy and cruel advice to suck it up.