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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Think, Don’t Feel

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“Today is a very sad day. The commandant of the United States Marine Corps says when your life hangs on the line, you don’t want anything distracting.” Words spoken by John McCain, in response to the repeal of the US Military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy toward homosexuals.

I’m sad to say I once respected John McCain.

He continued, “There will be high-fives over all the liberal bastions of America.” And from there, he ranted as though all the most recent polls suggested the American people were opposed to a repeal (they weren’t), or that the studies into the effects of a repeal brought back bad news (they didn’t).

McCain’s opposition is based on the idea that some soldiers will have problems with known homosexuals in their ranks. And some of them will, no question about it. Mostly, I imagine, the same ones that have problems with women in their ranks, or think there’s no problem feeling them up every now and again, no matter their protests.

It is this type of soldier that sort of thinking wants to protect. The bigoted, the hateful, the intolerant. I choose to believe those soldiers aren’t nearly as prevalent in our fighting forces as McCain and his ilk would like us to believe. And if they are, I don’t want to hear our armed forces referred to as “the best and the brightest” ever again, because slaves to any form of bigotry are not the best and brightest anything.

During the Bush years, Democrats were branded as not only opposed to our military, but it was suggested they might actually hate our fighting men and women. Of course, I don’t believe that. But McCain’s statements, and all those who agree with him, show that a wing of the Republican party certainly thinks very little of the moral worth of those same soldiers, and puts the lie to any claim of their own personal morality.

To suggest a man must keep his true self a secret in order to have the privilege to die for his country is to spit in the face of everything our country has accomplished, including its birth.

This nation was originally populated by men and women that didn’t want to hide their religious beliefs in the face of an intolerant ruler. America was born of people that could not pretend they were something they were not. We fought a war to earn that right, and again we fought so that men of any color would forever be men all the same. Women fought their own battle to be considered equals, and while the fronts of sex and race still have their struggles, we’ve come a long way. But, both battles had to begin on a shaky first step.

This is that shaky step for yet another front in a war that must be won, a war of equality for everyone, no matter their race, their sex, their sexual orientation, or their religious beliefs.

Agents of intolerance (a term McCain used for the likes of Falwell and his ilk, before running for president and pandering to them) would have us believe a soldier’s ability to fight will somehow be compromised by his inherent bigotry toward his own brother-in-arms, as if a man can’t trust another man in the heat of battle because he’ll suddenly be worried about whether or not that man is checking out his ass. Or what? That there will be distractions during non-combat times? And who will those distractions come from? From the homosexual who just wants to be comfortable being himself? Or from an intolerant soldier who wants to bring some sort of harm to him?

We don’t ban women from wearing alluring clothes to protect the despicable rapists that might not be able to control themselves. We don’t ban black men and women from white, southern neighborhoods to spare the few racists there the sight of their skin. We don’t ban people from opening stores because it might tempt a thief. Why then, in this case, should we legislate based on the possible actions of the lowest common denominator?

The answer is simple: because the Republican party has resisted every first step toward progress for minorities of every make and model. It’s built into them, the need to protect the intolerant from the ones they hate, rather than the other way around.

Homosexuals are one of the the last bastions of mostly acceptable hatred. Bigots that don’t want to be tabbed bigots aren’t allowed to openly hate women or blacks anymore, but gays have been mostly alright to hate. They can talk about the legalization of gay marriage leading to the destruction of heterosexual marriage with absolutely no evidence of such, and say it would lead to people marrying animals and children, and somehow they don’t become completely marginalized when they say these things. Jerry Falwell can blame the events of 9-11 on gays, among others, and be invited to the White House to council then-President Bush. That is an open acceptance of hate-speech, courtesy of the most powerful Republican in the world at the time.

A person doesn’t have to wrap an arm around his neighbor and sing “We Are the World”, doesn’t have to like any other person at all, doesn’t even have to expunge from their mind all their ridiculous prejudices. But, a person is absolutely never justified to bring pain, be it from actions or words, into the life of another whose only crime is to be true to themselves.

But on this issue, an issue that holds human beings to a higher moral standard, something the conservative movement claims to be in favor of, a man like John McCain mindlessly regurgitates the usual rhetoric about liberals, and deigns to protect those with closed minds and fists. Instead of striving to eliminate open acts of intolerance, John McCain and those opposed to repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, would rather protect those stuck in the past from being brought into the future. Well done.


Words from men who didn’t live in the past, but dreamed of a brighter future:


Written by oobiedoo

December 28, 2010 at 1:19 am

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