(Or: rants about the inability of our fucking government to repeal a stupid, stupid law, despite all evidence showing that it should.)
Now, I ain't no politico. (Imagine me as an armchair warrior, saying that with a good Southern drawl, slow and deliberate.) I seldom get riled up over politics. I usually keep my head down, and don't talk about things over which, aside from voting in this (har-de-har-har) democratic nation, I basically have very little control. But this is a fucking travesty.
As one of my friends put it, only in America can a 17-vote majority not pass legislation. I'm talking, of course, about Don't Ask Don't Tell. (There's a seldom-mentioned third part to that: Don't Pursue, but meh...niggling details, right?) Didn't pass today by a vote of 57-40. (Needed 60 to pass.) Gadamighty, but I am so disillusioned by our gummint. Indulge me in some no-solution spleen-venting, m'kay?
I have no desire to be in the military, nor have I ever. But I do have a great deal of respect for the men and women who live and work in service to our country in one of the most honorable ways I know. Soldiers put themselves in harm's way regularly. They do what they can to protect our country and preserve the stability thereof that helps to ensure a pretty damned productive society. I like the statement, overblown though it may be in some cases, that soldiers write a blank check to the nation for the total up to and including their lives. Quite true.
Not gonna go that much into the extra sacrifice that gay men and lesbians make. We all know it. Under DADT, they can't tell the truth about who they are and what, at a very core level, defines them. They live a lie so they can serve their country. Being honest about who they are places them at risk of being discharged. It also places them at significant risk of being harassed, physically and otherwise, although that's decreasing day by day as we're becoming more visible and more accepted.
But here's what really galls me. Despite such overwhelming evidence that out gay men and lesbians do not pose a risk to a unit's morale and ability to function; despite a recommendation by the motherfucking PENTAGON, for crying out loud, that DADT should be repealed; despite a majority of servicemen and servicewomen who believe that DADT should be repealed; despite a majority of Americans who believe that DADT should be repealed, it remains intact due to the asshattery of Congress.
If I ever met John McCain (thanks to Sarah Silverman, I know his name rhymes with "shit stain"), I'd spit in his face. Hypocrite that he is, he originally stated that he would go with whatever recommendation the Pentagon handed down regarding DADT. I'm sure he did that figuring that such a conservative, old-guard entity would never recommend anything other than maintaining the status quo. Well, oops. Now with this recommendation, he's been making flippy floppy and leading the charge to keep DADT intact. He's stated that more research needs to be done, more thought needs to be put in, and it shouldn't be repealed. He's even gone so far as to say that the recommendation is that DADT can be repealed, but the recommendation doesn't say it should. Good God. Get me a battleaxe.
With this position, McCain is saying that we should continue to accept convicted felons into the military to serve our nation, however warped they might be. But out gay men and lesbians, regardless of how morally upright they might be, or how powerful, or intelligent, or diplomatic, or dedicated, or self-sacrificing, or honorable they might be, should not hold a position in our military, and if found out, should be discharged. In essence, gay men and lesbians (assuming they are not felons themselves) hold a lower status in the military than felons.
He's also saying that the priority should be placed on discharging out gay men and lesbians, regardless of the position they hold, or of the scarcity of their talents. Witness the soldier whose fluency in a number of Middle Eastern languages, and subsequent value as an intelligence expert, was trumped by who he's attracted to. Never mind that there was no one nearly as qualified as he was to do his job. Never mind that his expertise - which I'm sure came in pretty handy about 5 years ago - was judged inconsequential when placed beside his orientation. And especially never mind that the end result of this could have contributed to a breach of security in our country, no matter how small. (He and over 13,000 other soldiers were discharged because of DADT. How's about THAT for a loss of valuable men and women who would otherwise protect our country?) McCain and his fellow blithering idiots believe that we should just plain get rid of the queers.
Other stupid-asses who have made it into holding public office believe that gay men are, across the board, wispy little fairies with limp wrists and who can't hold their own physically. Or at least that's what they say publicly. (Pandering to their constituents?) I'd love to invite them to some of the gay bars I frequent and show them the guys there - physically daunting, huge in some cases, who are awfully muscle-bound and know how to use their muscles. I'd love to introduce them to the gay men I know who are - right now - serving our country faithfully and loyally (one of them out, no less), and whose compatriots consider them tremendous assets. I'd love to show them gay men who don't know the first thing about flaming, and wouldn't know how to flip their wrists convincingly if their lives depended on it. But they could certainly handle an M-16 if given the proper training.
Oh, and of course, there's the argument that gay men are all ravenous sex machines who would try to come on to straight men if they were placed in close quarters together. Please. Soldiers - regardless of orientation - are there to do a job, and they know it. Straight men have largely proven that they can function in the field with women without disrupting morale. If a straight man is that insecure about a gay man potentially coming on to him, he needs to address why he's so insecure. (To be fair, if a gay man ends up coming on to a straight man and it does interfere with morale, then disciplinary action should be taken.) (Another non-sequitur: one of my favorite ways to totally deflate straight guys who think I'm checking them out: "Don't flatter yourself." Catches 'em off-guard every time.)
DADT MUST GO. NOW.