Panshu Zhao was discharged from the United States Army. Not because he was transgender. That was so a year ago. Now, in an effort to Make America Great Again, the "President" has decided that foreign born soldiers who were serving in our armed forces in exchange for a path to citizenship would no longer be welcome in the ranks. Panshu was born in eastern China, but grew up loving the United States. He came here to attend graduate school at Texas A&M University. Go Aggies!
Panshu signed up in 2016 in hopes of trading his service for a chance to become a part of the country he had loved from afar.
Not so fast, Panshu. If your name was Robert or Bubba or some naturally occurring moniker, and you were born and raised here on these shores, then you might have a chance. But then you'd probably already be a citizen, wouldn't you. Therefore this is kind of a moot point. Never mind all that literature and fast talk about getting your citizenship because we are in the business of recruiting Americans for our armed forces and business is good.
Maybe you've heard that recruitment numbers are down, and we should be glad to take anyone with a pulse, but that 's not true. Well, it's kind of true. The U.S. Army is "relaxing" their recruitment standards in order to fill their ranks. If you smoke dope, just don't do it on guard duty, and make sure your uniform covers those racist tattoos. The Army is also willing to be a little more "relaxed" about your general aptitude scores. What really matters in today's Army is conforming to some ideal that is not exactly clear.
Leaving Panshu wondering what he needs to do in order to be all he can be. His PhD means nothing, nor do the years he spent training and waiting for clearance from his adopted government to become a soldier. Apparently, clever immigrant types were using this military path to find a way to sneak into our country. Shame on them. Using the programs made available to them along with their dedication and hard work to become a part of this great nation is unconscionable. At least that's what Panshu is being told, now that he is years into the process that he signed up for in good faith.
So who will be fighting our next war? Robert? Bubba? Ramon? Sorry, Ramon. We've already got your exit visa planned.