Benjamin’s recent obsession with Billy Joel’s “Goodnight, Saigon” has led to a series of difficult questions about the Vietnam War. As of yet, he hasn’t asked how Charlie and Baker left their childhood on every acre, but I suspect that one’s coming soon.
“Do women fight in wars?” he asked tonight, after we had covered the length of the Vietnam War, the fact that – yes – soldiers do get to sleep during a war, the logistics of the sleeping arrangements, and how we held the day in the palms of our hands.
“Well, they don’t fight on the ground in the army, but they do serve and fly planes and such.”
“Why don’t they fight on the ground?”
I got into the fact that the survival of the species necessitates wombs and how I think that the rule will change soon because it’s based on preconceived notions. “You know, until recently, gay people weren’t allowed in the army.”
“Because some people were prejudiced against them.”
“Why?” he asked.
“Because people are sometimes prejudiced.”
“No, I mean, how did it change? Who changed it?”
“President Obama,” I answered.
Ben nodded and replied, “Oh. Because he understands how it feels. Because he’s brown.”