Monday, December 20, 2010

Not telling, just asking

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will be relegated to history’s trash heap. But isn’t it odd in this season when we celebrate the birth of that guy sometimes called the Prince of Peace that many of us are celebrating the empowerment of gay men and lesbians to go to war?

Just asking.

Not that very many of us take the Prince of Peace business seriously, but it is a good line to trot out at Christmas.

Saturday’s 65-31 Senate vote that will lead to elimination of DADT wouldn’t have been possible without the few Republicans who signed on, but it never hurts to remember that it was a Democrat initiative aided by Joe Lieberman (who fancies himself an independent) and one Republican woman. And a campaign promise now fulfilled by Barack Obama.

Democrats are far from perfect, but one of life’s little lessons is this: The Republican party is not your friend if you are poor, not white, differently abled or different in any way. “Different” includes conservative Christians and in many instances, women. LGBT people have for the most part known this for years; others will discover it as time passes.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t several fine people in Senate GOP caucus who voted “nay” on Saturday. I’m sure that Iowa’s Republican senator, Chuck Grassley, for example, is neither a fool nor a bigot. He’s just beholden to many who are. Therefore Chuck’s foolishness and bigotry are only virtual.


It’s not surprising, I suppose, that a majority of those who have said and continue to say absurd things about gays and lesbians in the military are middle-aged to older white guys who may have fantasized about military service, but who haven’t served (with the exception of John McCain, of course).

But it really does seem that the intelligent and committed young women and men who actually serve have for the most part gotten over sexual orientation as an issue, if it ever was one for them, as the Pentagon study that preceded Saturday’s vote suggested. Marines seem to be lagging slightly, but as all of us who served in the other branches already knew, Marines can be a little delicate sometimes. They’ll be fine

Toughness? Heterosexual males occasionally fantasize about how tough they are. But if you really want to experience tough find a truly pissed off faggot --- or woman of any sexual orientation.

Some of those old white straight guys have done a good deal of fantasizing, too, about gay guys eyeing their private parts. But this seems to be less reality and more an expression of two heterosexual male proclivities --- assessing the scale and volume of one’s rivals in group bathing situations and vastly inflating one’s own desirability.

It’s all very strange --- through the old glass darkly.

As I’ve said perhaps too many times before, I’m extremely proud of the company I kept --- heterosexual and homosexual --- in Vietnam.

And everyone’s going to be fine now in the military, despite some hand-wringing among those who still have personal issues to resolve.

But I still find it odd that this issue came up at Christmas as our wars continue to rage and the killing continues.

What if the kingdom we’ve always expected to come in a flash of magic light is already at hand --- and we’ve been ignoring orders all this time, fighting the wrong battles, killing physically and spiritually --- and mistakenly --- in the name of God.

Just asking.


Ed said...

The liberal side of me that keeps me solidly in the independent category was happy to see DADT overturned. I just couldn't buy McCain's 'logic' that us being in the middle of a war, now almost a decade old, is the wrong time to do so.

Patrick said...

Frank, I'm glad I discovered your blog thru the Russell Historical Society blog. I appreciate your thoughs and candor on this topic, as well as your wit and open mind. Carry on the good work!