Tuesday, December 18, 2012
The Baring of the Knives at the Wives Club
Some jokingly (?) refer to these groups as "knives clubs" because of the sometimes hostile, backstabbing atmosphere that can arise whenever you bring together large groups of strong, opinionated (wo)men. I have witnessed this first hand but the jabs were relatively minor and were quickly forgotten. On occasion, however, larger, much more serious issues arise. A prime example is the current controversy brewing amongst the Army Officers Spouse group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In this southern army enclave, the recently married wife of an active duty Lieutenant Colonel has been denied membership into the base's spouse club. Although they deny it and are refusing to talk about it, the denial of membership appears to stem from the fact that Lieutenant Colonel and her wife are a same sex couple. I'm not naive enough to think that homophobia doesn't exist in America. Unfortunately it is alive and flourishing. With the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the Department of Defense made a small step towards providing more equality for all soldiers, sailors, and airmen serving their country. Our troops and their family members deserve all of the support they can get. It is one thing when those who are not a part of the military family turn against us, but for me it is even more upsetting when we turn against ourselves. How can we not support our peers?
The reality is that spouse groups provide an important support system for military families. To this day some of my closest friends are women I have met through these groups. Having shared experiences and feelings that only military spouses can understand brings us together regardless of our other demographics. Until your spouse is gone for weeks or months on end in a war zone you just can't understand what the experience is like. Regardless of whether your spouse is an officer or enlisted, senior or junior, male or female, we all need the support these groups can provide. As a military spouse I am embarrassed by the way the Fort Bragg spouse group is treating Ashley Broadway and her wife. This is not the behavior of the spouse groups I know. At a time when all of our active duty spouses are willing to put their lives on the line for our country, I implore the spouses at Fort Bragg to open their arms to the Broadway-Mack family. Because we are currently in Albania I don't have access to a spouse group. If I did, I would readily invite Ms. Broadway to come join my group.