Thursday, April 5, 2012

On Traditions and Economic Realities

One of the things that you learn by being in the military is that traditions mean something. They’re important. We wear swords and sabers. We get medals and ribbons. We salute. Some of these things, like the salute, are functional. They remind us of where we stand in the pecking order. That’s good in a more-or-less fully functioning meritocracy. Some are purely window dressing. Sure, my ribbon rack is a short-form resume, but the sword is only good for cutting cake and impressing the ladies.

“Oh my. It’s so… long.”

Where was I? Oh, right. Tradition.

Sometimes, traditions fall victim to economic reality. We have to do away with things because it just doesn’t make sense to spend the money. We used to have (in the Navy at least) up to four different clubs on the larger bases and stations. There was the E-Club, the Acey-Ducey Club, the Chief’s Club, and the hallowed grounds of the Officer’s Club. It’s pretty rare to find even 2 clubs these days. Oceana still has an E Club and an O Club, but that’s pretty rare. Cutbacks. As a club become less frequented, it becomes harder to justify the expense. Ergo; the “Combined Club.” All ranks welcome. We don’t discriminate.

Which has its plusses and minuses. Neither of which are the subject of this post.

As I said, I realize that there are economic realities that force us to change well-loved, nay, beloved traditions. Things we have known about for as long as we remember. Cherished parts of our collective past we are loathe to surrender. I get it. We must, on occasion, yield.

But not this.

This is not forgivable. And it’s a shame.

Cross-posted at The Lexicans.