(This might be a controversial topic to some. I do enjoy hearing your opinions, however, if you do choose to comment, please stick to your views, and not attacks on me or mine. Attack comments will not be posted, respectful comments will.)
In the military world there are two camps- enlisted and officer. Most of the time people (at least the ones I know) do a good job of keeping the line between the two groups respectful. There is a time for separation/respect/etc. and a time where rank should not be at the forefront. I have friends in both groups, and believe that because I personally don't wear rank, rank is not a part of my friend making/social policies. Most people feel the same way, and many people on the enlisted side (particularly my spouse friends) often feel there should be little to no difference at all. However, there are always complaints. Officer wives get the good meat at the commissary. Officers don't do any real work. Etc. Etc. Etc. Surely you have heard it, right?
What you may NOT have heard is what is made mandatory for officers. People often call for fairness with other things, but I hardly ever see a discussion of policies that require increased financial obligations from officers. (Yes, I know this may seem random, but it's been a topic of conversation around here lately.) For instance, officers are required to pay more for holiday parties (20 for Os vs. 5 for Es), formal events, golf, child care, gifts, base activities, food, club membership, and are often told to bring the most expensive items at parties.
Before you have a cow, paying/giving more is NOT my issue. My issue is that these things are REQUIRED. In my opinion, it should be something officers CHOOSE to do out of respect for the people they lead. If I have one child at the local CDC, and you have 3, should I pay more because of my husbands rank? No off base facility would do such a thing. If the Christmas party costs 10 dollars, make that the price for all. I will gladly pay the ticket and CHOOSE to sponsor several airmen to attend for free. Send out a party list of items that are needed and we will gladly CHOOSE to bring the most expensive items. However, forcing this, particularly with "extra" things like parties and sporting events, is not okay. While I would hope that most officers would choose to step up and help, they should be given the option. Their choice to commission should not come with picking up the tab for others. A Christmas party ticket that is 4x more expensive for the same food and no prizes (since we CHOOSE to give those back for airmen) kind of ruins my mood for the party. However, if I paid the same price as everyone and sponsored airmen with the extra money (which would probably cover more than my forced ticket price), I think I would be a little more holiday cheery. If you know my husband and I, you know this issue is not that we don't like to help others, in fact, it's something we love to do. However, I realize that not everyone feels the same way. I think they have the right to opt out of the increased financial obligation when it comes to all these "extras." (In case you are wondering, my husband disagrees. He believes these responsibilities are just part of the job.)
Yes, to whom much is given, much is required, but why aren't officers allowed to choose when/how to support extra events with increased financial contributions? I'd like to see those who call for more fairness take up this issue as well. Just doesn't sit right with me...
(For those non-military readers, you might equate this to taxes. Should high income earners be forced to pay 60% in taxes because they make more, or should everyone pay an equal percentage?)