In modern American politics gun control, government provided higher education, healthcare and guaranteed income are all hot button issues, but what if I told you there is a place in America where all of these services are not just afforded, they are highly defended by both sides of the political aisle? Here are 7 reasons why the US. Military is in fact the most progressive institution in America.
*Quick background/disclaimer before we get started, I am not in the Army yet but I will be commissioning as an infantry officer in May and have spend my entire time in college in ROTC, current servicemembers feel free to roast me. *
1. Healthcare for allHealth Care GIF by INTO ACT!ON Giphy
Forget Medicare for all, think Tricare for all that is what the healthcare system all US servicemembers and their families use and under this system patients do not pay out of pocket for any necessary medical procedures and even some nonessential medical procedures are 100% covered like braces and laser eye surgery.
2. Free CollegeGiphy
Ok, so technically you don't get your G.I. bill immediately, but while in the service there are a plethora of tuition assistance programs that make part time enrollment completely free and full-time enrollment close to free and many of these benefits are transferable to spouses and dependents. Not only that, but these are only federal programs, each state has its own benefits for active duty servicemembers and veterans.
3. Common sense gun controlmachine gun america GIF Giphy
It may seem ironic for an outsider to think about, but there are actually much more gun regulations inside a military base than in most US states. Servicemembers are not allowed to keep firearms in the barracks, open and concealed carry is much more restrictive on base and overall servicemembers realize that firearms should only be kept in the hands of individuals who have the skills and need for them.
4. Livable minimum wageFist Fight For 15 GIF by INTO ACTION Giphy
All services are subject to the same basic pay chart and as of 2021 the absolute lowest a brand spanking new Private (or any E-1) can make is $1,650 a month or $19,800 a year and that is before any other benefits like deployment bonuses, Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) or subsistence pay is taken into account, meaning that most servicemembers make much more than this minimum.
5. Intercultural experienceTravel World GIF by Delta Air Lines Giphy
Although the military has not been the most culturally sensitive institution at times (it is filled mostly with 18-25 year old dudes after all) most servicemembers have more international experience than the average American, are more likely to speak multiple languages and are more likely to live in the same neighborhood as someone of a different race as themselves.
6. Racial diversityExcited Season 1 GIF by The Office Giphy
Although the US. Military skews heavily towards males it is in fact more racially diverse than the US. Population where Black and Hispanic Americans are overrepresented even in upper level leadership and includes a higher percentage of immigrants when compared to the US. Also little known fact: the military became desegregated before American society at large did in 1948 under President Truman.
7. Meritocracyladder GIF Giphy
Although the military is not a perfect meritocracy, no institution is, being the son or daughter of a general in the Army will not bring you the same benefit as being the child of a CEO. In the military there are promotion charts and a minimum time in grade and other qualifications that must be served in each rank by law before being promoted. Compare this to a corporation where a CEO could, an often does, pack the board of directors with his/her children.
In conclusion the military can in fact serve as an example for what America could be, after all no one in American politics will claim that college or healthcare for servicemembers/veterans is impossible, too expensive or not worthwhile. My hope is that one day we as a nation can care for the poorest and most downtrodden Americans just as much as we care for our servicemembers.