Saturday, December 18, 2010


From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Gays celebrate repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell'

President Barack Obama had made repealing "don't ask, don't tell" a campaign promise in 2008, and rounding up a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate was a historic victory for him. By the time President Bill Clinton proposed allowing gays to serve in the military in 1993, they had been explicitly barred from military service since World War I.

Foes of lifting the ban argued that the military shouldn't be used to expand the rights of gays and that allowing them to serve openly would hurt troop morale and a unit's ability to fight — the same arguments used against women and blacks.

In the end, Congress agreed to let gays serve only if their sexual orientation remained secret.

Repeal means that for the first time in U.S. history, gays will be openly accepted by the military and can acknowledge their sexual orientation without fear of being discharged. More than 13,500 service members have been dismissed under the 1993 law.

The change wouldn't take immediate effect, however. The legislation says the president and his top military advisers must certify that lifting the ban won't hurt troops' fighting ability. After that, there's a 60-day waiting period for the military.


Wow. I had no idea that so many people had been drummed out in the seventeen years since DADT began: given that the all-volunteer US armed services have been having so much trouble recruiting qualified people recently, you'd think the ban was lifted for purely pragmatic reasons. But no. Recruiters are making their monthly quota these days, so the desperately needed gay infusion of military talent of 2004-2008 or so ended up being a bust.

No, this was purely a cultural issue. In the end, as it has pretty much always been, it was about homophobic squeamishness versus doing the right thing.

I've never bought the "unit cohesion" or "morale" arguments. I mean, like I'm supposed to believe that our trained killers, the most badass of all badasses, guys who like to chew veins, the fucking United States Armed Forces, are made "uncomfortable" by the prospect of gay guys looking at their penises in the shower? No, it's just homophobia. Get over it. You're real men: it means nothing if a gay guy glimpses your manhood.

I've never bought the difficulty in implementation argument, either. Our boys are trained to follow orders. Well, here are your new orders: you will serve effectively and to the best of your ability with gay men. No problem. We could have done this back in 1993 if asshole homophobic Congressmen from both parties hadn't freaked out on it. At least this move today is backed by a solid majority of the population.

Oh, here's an order to all you gay soldiers: try not to look at straight guys' penises in the showers; it makes them nervous for some reason. What? Oh yeah, that's right; you gay soldiers have always avoided homophobic friction. That's because repealing DADT isn't about allowing gays into the military. Gays have always been in the military--they did catch, after all, 13,500 of them over the last seventeen years. Rather, ending DADT simply formalizes an already existing situation. And in that pre-existing situation, gay soldiers are pretty smart; they understand that it's not nice to come on to people who don't want that kind of attention.

Like I said, keeping gays out of the military was always about homophobia, plain and simple. And that means, when you get right down to it, that we've just taken a gigantic leap forward as a nation, culturally speaking. Homophobes no longer rule the day at the Pentagon; anti-gay politicians just got a big dildo rammed into their mouths. Gay has just gone big time official in the USA. Gay marriage in all fifty states can only be a few years away.

In the end, what this means to me, especially considering that I am neither gay nor in the military, is that America is culturally liberal for the most part, and continuing to move in a progressive direction, albeit in fits and starts. Sure, there's a loud minority of "traditional values" people, anti-sex assholes, xenophobes, racists, pro-Christian bigots, and the like. But they're being swept into the dust bin of history. We're hammering out all the details needed for a culturally enlightened nation, Bush and Obama torture policies notwithstanding.

Really, it's economics that's the point of contention in the political arena. The culture issues are just a side show, rhetoric fodder for the bases in both parties, because the nation has already pretty much decided where it stands. If only we could get it figured out on capitalism, finance, labor, health care, stuff like that. Actually, I have a feeling that we've got all that figured out too, I mean, as a people--it's the establishment pricks in Washington who are out of step.

But I digress.

The best way I can think of to celebrate today's momentous event is to savor the outrage of anti-gay fundamentalist zealots. Here's a fabulous piece of absurdity from the psychotically anti-sex Jesus political group
American Family Association via Hullabaloo:

The armies of other nations have allowed gays to serve openly in the military. The reason they could afford to do this is simple: they could allow homosexuals to serve in their military because we didn’t allow them to serve in ours.

They knew they could count on the strength, might, power, and cohesion of the U.S. military to intervene whenever and wherever necessary to pull their fannies out of the fire and squash the forces of tyranny wherever they raised their ugly heads around the world.

Those days are now gone. We will no longer be able to bail out these other emasculated armies because ours will now be feminized and neutered beyond repair, and there is no one left to bail us out. We have been permanently weakened as a military and as a nation by these misguided and treasonous Republican senators, and the world is now a more dangerous place for us all.
Man, I giggle every time I read that.