Army Leader Defends ‘Pride Month’ Celebration and Publicly Scolds Disagreement as ‘Harassment’

senior enlisted gay twitter
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Washington D.C, United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Each military branch has an officer and enlisted member who is the highest ranking member of their service and is meant to be the figurehead of their particular departments. The Senior Enlisted Leader of each branch acts as the all-knowing advisor to the senior ranking officer on all things related to personnel readiness and morale. 

These senior leaders are to be the most disciplined, poised, and measured military strategists who exemplify their branch’s core values. In the Army, the individual charged with this essential duty is Sergeant Major Michael Grinston. 

This past weekend Sgt. Maj. Grinston decided to spend his time engaging in a back-and-forth spat on Twitter over users who were critical of the Army promoting so-called “pride month.”

You can’t say that!

On Friday, the 82nd Airborne out of Fort Liberty (formerly and forever known as Fort Bragg to those of us who have been stationed there) promoted “pride month,” which sparked quite the online debate:

“As we wrap up the observance celebration of #Juneteenth we switch gears in honoring all those who partake in #PrideMonth. Join us later this month as we come all together for the Respect, Service and Dignity as the Division MEO team hosts the Pride Month Observance Event.”

This tweet prompted judgment from veterans, former 82nd ABN members, and a fair amount of just regular old citizens who believe the military, and in particular one of the most historically respected and feared units in the world, have better things to do than focus on progressive politics.

Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston dipped his boot in the waters of discontent and wrote this banger of a tweet:

“The comment section is a good time to refresh ourselves with discriminatory harassment: A form of harassment that is unwelcome conduct based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity), national origin, or sexual orientation.”

Now is a good time to refresh the Sgt. Maj. that disagreeing with an ideology isn’t discriminatory, nor is it harassment. It’s even protected by a little thing called the First Amendment. 

You know, Sgt. Maj., that little thing you and I swore to protect and defend with my life?

RELATED: Top Military Leader Admits She Bases Leadership Decisions on Political Considerations, Political Correctness

Put the phone down

During this back and forth on Twitter that lasted well into Saturday morning Sgt. Maj. Grinston argued about retention rates, our warfighting ability or lack thereof, and the merits of celebrating every single virtue month and observance that pops up on the calendar. But this isn’t the first time Sgt. Maj. Grinston has tweeted recklessly.

In 2021, during the chaotic and failed Afghanistan withdrawal and mere hours before the devastating attack at Kabul that murdered 13 service members, the Sgt. Maj. wrote:

“Diversity is a number – do you have people that don’t look or think like you in the room? Inclusion is listening and valuing those people.”

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Perhaps not the best time to decry the advantages of “diversity” and “inclusion” while Uncle Sam’s Afghan allies were falling to their deaths from the wheel wells of American cargo planes, Afghan mothers frantically handing their babies across barbed wire to Marines in the hopes for a better life for them, and moments before 13 of America’s best and bravest were snuffed out of this world by a suicide bomber. 

But this is an interesting question the Sgt. Maj. posed and is worthy of reflecting on today.

Sgt. Maj. Grintson, did you have people that don’t look like you or think like you in the room when you went off on Twitter about people disagreeing with the Army’s use of their time? 

A slow march

This latest example of military politicization matters because it is indicative of a slow march the armed services have taken from being apolitical to being tools of left-wing power players. Those of us who wore the uniform know that the politicization has worsened in the last ten years.

Still, for the rest of the country, it didn’t become apparent until the death of George Floyd. The former Senior Enlisted Leader for the Air Force, Kaleth Wright, said after Mr. Floyd’s death:

“Who am I? I am a Black man who happens to be the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. I am George Floyd…I am Philando Castile, I am Michael Brown, I am Alton Sterling, I am Tamir Rice.”

During that same time frame, Chief Wright’s boss Air Force Chief of Staff, General CQ Brown, released a video discussing his thoughts on George Floyd, the protests, and racism in America. He is President Biden’s pick to replace General Mark Milley as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

RELATED: Pentagon Finally Bans Drag Shows on Military Installations

Fast forward to today, and we have a Space Force General proclaiming at a Pentagon pride event that she purposely picks less qualified commanders for positions due to her distaste for state laws restricting transgender surgeries on minors, and now the Sgt. Maj. of the Army claiming to disagree with what the Army does is discriminatory harassment. Notice a trend?

You should; it’s called your military isn’t impartial anymore…and perhaps never was.

Pay attention

As a writer, I am forced to live in the Twitter-verse, and if I’m honest, I love it. 

But for those of you who are blissfully unaware of Twitter and believe it doesn’t matter what happens in the realm of the Blue Bird, you’re mistaken. Not only is what you consume on your 24/7 news outlet of choice predicated and planned based on what happens on Twitter, but policy decisions within your government evolve thanks to what happens on Twitter.

Twitter is also where the dark forces of the police state have begun their quest to squash discourse and debate. A case in point is the U.S. Army Protective Services Battalion, whose job is to protect current and former high-ranking military officers from “assassination, kidnapping, injury or embarrassment.”

A recent Intercept report broke the news that this battalion which is essentially the Pentagon’s version of the Secret Service has expanded its scope to:

“…include monitoring social media for ‘direct, indirect, and veiled’ threats and identifying ‘negative sentiment’ regarding its wards.”

All of this, including military leaders feeling comfortable voicing political opinions on their official accounts and in uniform, does not bode well for our country’s continued freedom and prosperity. Time to wake up, get a Twitter account, and fight back. 

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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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