Michael P. Ackley has worked more than three decades as a journalist, the majority of that time at the Sacramento Union. His experience includes reporting, editing and writing commentary. He retired from teaching journalism for California State University at Hayward.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference.
Protest placard in waiting: California law now holds children can determine whether they are girls or boys – and must be accommodated in the public schools. So when will we see the picket sign, “If I’m old enough to decide my sex, I’m old enough to vote … old enough to buy alcohol … old enough to buy tobacco … old enough to drive … old enough to …”?
How about “old enough to violate my oath and my honor and old enough to put at risk the lives of Americans and America’s allies?”
This, of course, brings us to the case of Bradley Manning and these questions: How does somebody 5’2″ and a trifle over 100 pounds pass the Army physical? How does he survive basic training? How does somebody as emotionally disturbed as Bradley Manning pass a psych evaluation? How does a 22-year-old kid wind up processing highly classified information?
The answer to the first of these questions is that if we’re letting women of this size into the armed forces, we can’t discriminate against small men.
As for the other questions, perhaps the following transcript will help. It’s from a taped discussion between an Army psychologist and a recruitment officer.
Psychologist: So, what’s the problem here.
Recruiter: Now, now. I didn’t call this a “problem.” I just have a couple of concerns about this recruit.
Psychologist: That’s the spirit! Proceed.
Recruiter: Well, for one thing, he’s only five-foot-two and hardly weighs as much as the rucksack he’ll have to carry.
Psychologist: So, don’t make him carry a rucksack. Remember the American ideal: From each according to his ability.
Recruiter: I’ve read that somewhere. Can’t quite place it though.
Psychologist: Don’t worry about it. I see by his workup that he’s a bright lad. Get him a desk job.
Recruiter: I think we might be able to put him behind a desk, but he’d be handling highly classified military and State Department information. I think you should know, he’s a little … uh … confused about his gender identity. Do you think that might make him a security risk?
Psychologist: Not at all. As you know, in the new armed forces, we recognize that all patriotic Americans may serve, homosexual or not. The days when an alternative life style could expose one to blackmail and the like are long past.
Recruiter: I wasn’t thinking about blackmail; I was thinking: What if he goes off the deep end because of his … confusion … and does something to put Americans at risk?
Psychologist: (laughing) What’s he going to do? Reveal state secrets because he thinks he might be a woman? That’s as likely as a psychologist like me shooting up an Army post after studying the Quran.
Recruiter: You’re right. I’m afraid my thinking reflects old prejudices.
Psychologist: Quite right. We all have to be careful not to let real-world experience and common sense override the new doctrines.
Recruiter: Yes, we all can do better in this regard.
End of tape.
Bradley no more: Meanwhile, Manning now wishes to be called Chelsea, to be referred to by the pronouns “she” and “her,” and is demanding hormone therapy during his imprisonment so he can become more of a woman. (Wikipedia already has acceded to the pronoun request.)
Does the “Chelsea” indicate a longing to be a Clinton?
Speaking of aberrations: San Diego Mayor Bob Filner would have to change his name to Bill Clinton to hold onto his Democratic Party support. He isn’t a rapist or a perjurer like our former chief executive, but his wandering hands and “inappropriate” comments to women have the entire Democratic establishment calling for his resignation.
Even in touchy-feely California, his flight into “intensive therapy” can’t get him off the hook.