Angry rant ahead. You’ve been warned.
Last night, I read the story about how retired Lieutenant General Gary Volesky, who has had a sweet contracting gig advising the Army, got suspended for appearing to mock First Lady Jill Biden and trans people. Volesky responded to the below tweet by Dr. Jill Biden:
In his now deleted tweet, Volesky posted “Glad to see you finally know what a woman is…” For his snarky political comment, Volesky was given a suspension from his $92 an hour job, serving as a mentor and advisor to senior military officials. I mentioned this to Bill last night, and he said he’s actually worked with Volesky. They met when Volesky was a mere colonel. At the time, Bill thought Volesky was a fine soldier. Indeed, he has a very impressive resume, having served in some prestigious jobs in the Army, and earned many accolades and awards for his work as a top flight Army officer.
One would think a man of Volesky’s experience and caliber as an Army officer, albeit a retired one, would understand that he’s supposed to be apolitical. I made a comment to that effect on the Washington Post’s article about this incident. I wrote that I’m glad Volesky got suspended. He’s supposed to be apolitical. Notice I never mentioned anything about the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). I simply stated that Volesky was supposed to be apolitical.
I immediately got dressed down by some random guy named Shane, who wrote that I am “very ignorant” about the UCMJ. My response to him is “No, I’m not.” Shane came back and smugly explained that Volesky is retired, and therefore isn’t held to the UCMJ. I rolled my eyes. Yet another fucking mansplainer had shown up to tell me what I know, and what I don’t know. How does a guy like Shane, who lives out west in the United States, have any fucking clue about me? And what makes guys like him feel the need to make such personal assumptions about total strangers? And why can’t I make a comment without some guy like Shane feeling the need to discount and disrespect it, and me? What an annoying little twerp he is. Does he go up to random people on the street and address them with assumptions and disrespect?
My response to Shane was basically this. Volesky isn’t some grunt. He was hired to work for the Army because he’s a highly decorated and experienced retired officer. People know who he is. He’s a role model– a mentor and advisor– for active duty Army officers, who ARE subject to the UCMJ. Active duty servicemembers are not allowed to make public political statements in conjunction with their positions in the military. As such, Volesky knows damned well that Joe Biden is the commander in chief, and he should not disparage him or his wife on public forums. Is he technically beholden to the UCMJ now, as a retiree? No. But I’d love to see Volesky in any other job in the private sector go on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or any other social media outlet, and make disparaging comments about his boss and/or his boss’s spouse. What would happen? He’d get FIRED. It happens all the time to regular people, for lesser offenses.
Hell, I remember reading about a woman in DC getting FIRED because she flipped off Donald Trump’s motorcade while riding her bike. She was just some regular person in DC. Volesky is a high powered military guy who, no doubt, understands what the rules are. He has DECADES of experience, and surely knows better. Moreover, he’s a retired three star, so he’s probably not hurting for money. I have no sympathy for him.
The UCMJ is irrelevant. No, I’m not an expert on the UCMJ and never made that claim. In fact, I never mentioned the UCMJ at all. But I’m certainly not very ignorant about it, and there’s no way Shane could ascertain my knowledge, or lack thereof, on any given topic anyway, solely based on a brief comment on social media.
Then I wrote to Shane that he doesn’t know a thing about me and what I know, or don’t know, about any subject. So he should STFU, and leave me alone. I’m not sure if the Washington Post deleted that comment, but I did notice that our conversation was over after that. And I’m glad. I’m so tired of random people on the Internet feeling like they need to take on whomever they want to, and make negative, personal assumptions about them. I should be able to make a comment on the Washington Post— especially one that is basically innocuous– and not be invited to a contentious exchange with some mansplaining moron who’s never met me, and just wants to push a conservative agenda.
Shane probably now thinks I’m a bitch. You know what? I don’t really care. In a previous era, men had power over women and could treat them like lesser beings simply because we don’t have penises. Those days are over.
I didn’t take the time to stalk Shane’s Facebook page, but I did notice that he has an American flag as his profile pic. I have also noticed that a lot of people with Old Glory as their profile picture are typically MAGA assholes who routinely have a smug, superior attitude about conservatism which spills down to how they talk to anyone who isn’t a white, Christian, cisgender, Republican male. I’m sick of it, and they can all just get lost, as far as I’m concerned. I have less than zero interest in dialoguing with them.
Lately, these folks remind me of the people Bill and I ran into when we were in Florence a couple of months ago. As we walked around the famous cathedral, we would be approached by men who would ask the time or otherwise try to chat us up or even touch us. One time, one of those guys got too close to Bill. Seconds later, he got too close to another American man, who yelled out “DON’T TOUCH ME!!!” I’m sure the dude backed away quickly. That’s how I want some of the men on social media to respond to me when I make it clear that I’m not interested in having an unpleasant, confrontational, uninvited interaction with them. A lot of them discover very quickly that I’m not as dumb as they seem to think I am. And to Shane and his boorish brethren, I dedicate this song…
Sorry… this is a pretty negative, profane post for a Monday morning. I’m not in a great mood. Bill has to leave town for the work week. It will probably do me some good to be alone for a few days. I still hate it, though. I asked Bill what he would do if I didn’t answer the phone or his messages while he’s gone. He said he’d worry. I know he would. One time, early in our marriage, our landline phone was inadvertently left off the hook. He was trying to call and couldn’t get through. His buddy later told me that Bill got very worried when I didn’t pick up the phone. I think he even sent me a PM to tell me to hang up. I have to admit that it’s nice to have someone worry about me. Funny that it happens now that I’m an adult. It wasn’t much of a thing when I was a kid.
Well, I think I’ll end this post and practice my guitar and walk the dogs. I want to get back to my latest book, so I can review it. Maybe that will help me avoid people like Shane, who like General Volesky, apparently hasn’t yet learned to keep his figurative mouth shut.