News & Politics

Priorities: As China Builds Mock Versions of U.S. Ships, U.S. Navy Launches Ship Named for Gay Activist

AP Photo/Denis Poroy

It was a big day for the U.S. Navy on Saturday: a ship named for gay rights activist Harvey Milk was, according to the Associated Press, “christened” – interesting choice of words, there, AP, traditional but ironic in these circumstances — and “launched in San Diego Bay.” Meanwhile, CNN reported on Tuesday that “China’s military has constructed mockups in the shape of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and U.S. warships, possibly for target practice.” Priorities, priorities: China’s is clearly to win a war against a major power. The U.S. Navy, on the other hand, is concerned with other matters altogether.

The Navy ceremony for the U.S.N.S. Harvey Milk was a veritable orgy of fashionable Leftism. The “christening,” that is, the traditional smashing of a bottle of champagne on the ship’s bow, was performed by Paula M. Neira, the clinical program director for the John Hopkins Center for Transgender Health, who served in the Navy before becoming a woman. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro remarked, speaking about himself in the third person: “The secretary of the Navy needed to be here today, not just to amend the wrongs of the past, but to give inspiration to all of our LGBTQ community leaders who served in the Navy, in uniform today and in the civilian workforce as well too, and to tell them that we’re committed to them in the future.”

That’s wonderful, but should it really be the job of the Navy to “amend the wrongs of the past” and “give inspiration to all of our LGBTQ community leaders”? While the Navy has been working so hard to ensure that gays know they’re welcome in its ranks, satellite images showed what appeared to be full-scale models of a U.S. aircraft carrier and at least two U.S. missile destroyers at a target range in the Taklamakan Desert in China’s Xinjiang region. The models were constructed not for hobby enthusiasts, but for the testing of ballistic missiles. According to the United States Naval Institute (USNI), “This new range shows that China continues to focus on anti-carrier capabilities, with an emphasis on U.S. Navy warships.”

That is, the Chinese military is focusing on sinking U.S. Navy warships. That’s what militaries historically have devoted their time and attention to doing: figuring out ways to destroy the enemy’s military capabilities and compel him to surrender. But Carlos Del Toro, the United States Secretary of the Navy, had other things on his mind on Saturday. When Harvey Milk served in the Navy, he said, he had to “mask that very important part of his life,” that he was homosexual. “For far too long,” Del Toro declared, “sailors like Lt. Milk were forced into the shadows or, worse yet, forced out of our beloved Navy. That injustice is part of our Navy history, but so is the perseverance of all who continue to serve in the face of injustice.”

That’s swell, but do you think the Chinese military is worried about gay sailors having to “mask” that “very important” part of their lives? I’m no expert on the Chinese military, but I expect would be surprised if one of its priorities were ensuring that sailors could be open about their sexuality. This is because the Chinese military is still so old-fashioned as to be focused on winning wars, not on social engineering and virtue-signaling.

Related: How Worried Should We Be About China’s Massive Nuclear Build-Up?

The U.S. Navy, however, is consumed with such matters. Back during Obama’s first two terms, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced in 2016 that new Navy ships would be named after not just Milk, but Sojourner Truth, Earl Warren, Robert F. Kennedy, suffragette Lucy Stone, and Rep. John Lewis. Besides being icons of the Left, these figures have something else in common: none of them ever won a naval battle. Probably none of them had any idea how to do so or ever considered the question for a moment. But these are the heroes of the Leftists who control contemporary culture, and so these are the ships we’re going to get. Priorities, priorities.

And despite the fact that the “christening” of the U.S.N.S. Harvey Milk was entirely in with the contemporary zeitgeist, Del Toro still congratulated himself on how “courageous” it was to name the ship after a gay rights activist. No, Mr. Secretary. What would have been courageous would have been to name a ship after, say, Richard Nixon, who actually served in the Navy, or if Tricky Dick is a bridge too far, then Warren G. Harding or Calvin Coolidge, two solidly America-First presidents unjustly maligned by Leftist historians. Naming a ship after Harvey Milk had nothing to do with courage, and everything to do with demonstrating the real values that the U.S. military holds today.“Ship names are important,” Del Toro said, “because they express what we value as a Navy and as a nation and communicate those values around the globe in every port of call.” Exactly. And Neira added: “When the Harvey Milk sails, she will send a very strong message both domestically and around the globe to everybody that believes in freedom and justice and liberty, that there is a place for you in this family.”

It will certainly send a very strong message both domestically and around the globe, but probably not the one Neira has in mind. Rick Moran has more here about China’s nuclear buildup. It’s a VIP article: Subscribe today and use promo code 2022 for a 40% discount — our largest ever — this week only.