Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

As 2010 comes to a close, we can look back at the last two years of the Obama administration and huge Democrat majorities in Congress, and sort out the good, the bad, and the ugly. Part of that look back will include the lame duck session, and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) – a policy put in place 17 years ago by a Democrat-controlled Congress and signed by Democrat President Bill Clinton. The opinions of most Americans on the DADT policy can be classified into four distinct views:

Many people, a significant majority in fact, oppose DADT and support gays and lesbians serving openly in our military. Some Americans disagree with this viewpoint for many different reasons – some of which are valid. Of those who wish to see DADT go away, some would like to see it repealed immediately, while others believe we should go to great lengths to ensure that military readiness and efficiency is not compromised. On the other side of the issue, there are people who believe DADT is a good compromise which allows gays to serve, while protecting the military from political correctness and the liberal gay agenda. The fourth view is outright opposition, harkening back to a time when homosexuals were actively rooted out of the military. Those who hold this view are somewhat rare, but they exist nonetheless.

Repeal DADT Now!

The loudest voice for repeal comes from those on the far left, including the Gay Left and the myriad of organizations that encompass them. These are people who generally oppose military action abroad, support deep budget cuts within the Department of Defense, and the defunding of several aspects of our military apparatus. It seems counter-intuitive that these people would be so concerned with what goes on inside the military, but they do so under the umbrella of equal rights and equal treatment under the law. While their efforts seem noble, they often discount legitimate concerns offering few real solutions to the inevitable challenges repeal would naturally produce. Their hearts may be in the right place, but very little thought goes into the logistics behind repeal, mainly because they do not fully understand how the military works, or how these challenges may manifest themselves.

Repeal DADT – Responsibly

I am one of the many people who believe DADT should be repealed, simply because all Americans should be allowed to serve – and risk their lives – for our country, so long as they meet the physical requirements of the job and follow the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). It seems as though a majority of Americans fall into this category, feeling that the policy should be repealed responsibly, as we are in the middle of a two-front war, and a global fight against terrorism. While the definition of “responsibly” differs from person to person, it generally includes waiting until combat operations cease in Iraq and Afghanistan, or ensuring that military readiness is not impacted by repeal. I favor the latter. These people understand that repealing DADT will be an enormous undertaking by the military, and do not want to see one mission or one soldier’s safety compromised by a hasty decision or poor timing.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is Working

There are those that believe DADT is a good policy, and should remain in effect as it is. There are many people in this group who have legitimate reasons for wanting to keep the policy in place, such as navigating the logistical nightmare of living arrangements and battlefield hygiene as just two examples. Other issues brought forward by this group, such as working alongside gay soldiers and keeping sexuality out of the military – which I will address shortly – may have been blown out of proportion and over-politicized.

“God Hates Fags”

The final group is a small, but boisterous, segment of the population. By now, almost everyone who watches the news has seen images of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) protesting military funerals, and unleashing a unhealthy amount of anti-gay propaganda in the process. According to their website, which is actually www.godhatesfags.com, the WBC admits to engaging in 44,819 pickets in 816 cities, even employing children in their horrific displays which include signs bearing slogans such as “Pray for more dead soldiers,” “Thank God for Sept. 11,” and “God Hates Fag Enablers.” These people, of course, are on the extreme end of the spectrum, but I use them as an example to illustrate that there is real bigotry out there, and it should not be tolerated. These actions are neither Christian nor do they represent the intentions of our founding fathers, who valued personal freedom, and our Constitution which guarantees it. Those who have an intense dislike of homosexuals believe that homosexuality and the military are incompatible. They support a return to the 1981 Department of Defense policy, in which gays were flat-out banned from serving. There are many valid arguments against repealing DADT, especially during wartime, but hating gays isn’t one of them.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

For some, this issue is seen as a battle against the “homosexual agenda.” For others DADT is seen as a partisan issue, and victory over pro-repeal Democrats and President Obama is of utmost importance. In speaking publicly about this issue over the last year, I’ve heard some interesting arguments both for – and against – repeal. Most of the arguments for repeal are based on what people perceive as a “right” to serve in our military. No such right exists. Our military is the most formidable fighting force on our planet, a fact that has kept us safe from foreign aggressors, and helped ensure tranquility and prosperity here at home. The military has always decided who can and cannot serve, with help from its Commander-in-Chief – our president. We could pretend that repealing DADT will create no challenges or conflicts, but we would be deluding ourselves in a dangerous way. While our military is extremely professional, and it has overseen racial integration and the inclusion of women, it did so for the most part during peacetime – and still faced challenges.

Troop morale, unit cohesion, the ability to conduct successful missions, and the safety of our troops – both gay and straight – should be our top priority, and that of our government. With that said, a 1992 report by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) estimated that nearly 17,000 men and women were discharged for homosexuality during the 1980s, and another 14,000 were discharged under DADT since 1993. Together that’s 31,000 service personnel – about 2% of our Armed Forces – with whom we have invested time and money in training, discharged from the military. That number includes good soldiers, officers, career veterans, and those trained in Arabic, many of whom were guilty of simply being gay.

The comfort level of serving alongside gay men and women is one legitimate concern, but the Pentagon’s own DADT study seems to have put that to rest. Of the roughly 400,000 military members and spouses surveyed, only 29% cared enough to respond, and 70% of those believe that repeal would have a positive impact or no impact at all. Of those who responded saying that they already believed someone they worked with or served with was gay, 92% said it was a positive experience. This seems to show that those currently serving will do just fine with DADT repeal. However, there are other issues which require greater examination.

Some believe there is no place for sexuality in the military. This is an argument I’ve heard often, especially from conservatives, yet it confuses me greatly. Clearly there is plenty of heterosexuality in the military. Men frequently talk about “hot chicks” and other things of a more sexual nature not fit for publishing here, yet no one advocates for a DADT policy for straight soldiers. It seems as though these opponents do not understand the meaning of “openly gay.” There is a clear difference between “being gay” and “engaging in homosexual acts.” For example, if a soldier is an orthodox Jew, he is allowed to serve as openly Jewish – meaning that he does not have to hide or lie about it. However, the military prohibits soldiers from wearing non-military issue hats while on duty, which prevents the orthodox Jewish man from wearing a yarmulke. If the Jewish soldier refused to follow the UCMJ and wore a yarmulke every day, he would be reprimanded, punished, or possibly discharged if he refused to comply.

The most relevant arguments I’ve heard against repeal have to do with the logistics involved in living arrangements, showers, battlefield hygiene, and personal conflicts. Currently, men and women have separate accommodations, for obvious reasons, but how do you add gays into the mix? When President Truman desegregated the military, a large majority of Americans were against it, and many white service members wanted nothing to do with black soldiers. There are stories of race riots on Navy warships during the Vietnam War, and sexual assault is an “epidemic” according to the GAO. Surely these are not reasons to ban straight white men from the military, and neither should they be reasons to ban blacks, women or gays.

The ultimate lesson from all of this is that implementation of repeal should lie in the hands of those in charge of our military. Even though Congress has passed repeal, and the president has signed it, it must be approved in writing by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, followed by a 60-day waiting period, before it takes effect. This allows the military time to carefully implement repeal. This is preferable to having repeal pass through the courts. In the meantime, as everyone in our military honors their duty and follows the law, we will undoubtedly hear from those outside the military with an opinion on this highly emotional issue. Some are already insulting members of the military by insinuating that they cannot rise above sexual orientation and do their jobs professionally. Others are urging soldiers to quit the military, and urging parents to discourage their children from seeking military service. On the other hand, some institutes of higher learning like Yale and Columbia are reconsidering ROTC programs because they will no longer create a conflict with their non-discrimination policies.

In the end, DADT will soon be a thing of the past. Gay service members can now return to duty to fulfill the remainder of their contracts. Will they? Who knows, as many believe DADT had become a way out of the military for some. Either way, it is the right thing to do. This is America, and in this country we are supposed to believe that “who you are” is more important than “what you are.” As Barry Goldwater famously said, “You don’t need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.” No one today would suggest that African-Americans be removed from the military, and it is my hope that decades from now, the same can be said for our gay soldiers.

History in the Making

Today, history has been made. The United States Senate defeated a filibuster led by John McCain (R-AZ) and went on to vote 65-31 in favor of repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy banning gay and lesbian soldiers from serving openly. The House of Representatives had already voted 250-175 in favor of repeal earlier this week. It is important to point out that when the repeal was originally defeated, Democrats had tacked the DREAM Act onto the bill containing the repeal of the policy, prompting every single Republican and Independent and many Democrats to vote against it. The bill approved today was a solo act, completely unadulterated, not tacked onto anything.

Scott Brown (R-MA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mark Kirk (R-IL), George Voinovich (R-OH), Richard Burr (R-NC), John Ensign (R-NV) and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) were the Republicans voting in favor of the repeal. It was originally enacted in 1993 by Democrat president Bill Clinton, who had previously vowed to end the outright ban on all gay and lesbian candidates joining the military. Over the past 17 years, tens of thousands of capable soldiers have been discharged from all four branches of the military.

Yet to come are the signing of the bill by President Obama, certification before Congress of the Pentagon report released earlier this month on the effect of lifting the ban, and a 60-day wait period before any changes are allowed to take effect. It will be a little while before we can actually start serving, but we’re on the final track to making this discriminatory policy a thing of the past.

So raise a glass, folks. History has been made today and we’re a part of it!

The Difficulties of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

The military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (DADT) is taking a serious beating this week. First, federal court judge Virginia Phillips determined that DADT was Unconstitutional. Then she issued a moratorium on enforcement of the policy. Then the Obama administration challenged the ruling in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals – and the justices issued a stay of the moratorium, so I guess now DADT is enforceable again. I’ve been reading around some of the comments and there are two common running themes among those who believe that DADT should remain in effect.

First are those who have served and don’t have a religious undertone. After one commenter remarked that DADT should be stricken down, one former soldier replied, “this coming from someone who has never served nor understands the culture or code of the UCMJ.”

To those who fit that profile, I would say this: culture isn’t always right. I wonder what the culture was during WWII, when our country was still segregated and black soldiers were segregated from white soldiers as they were in civilian life. An awful lot of white folks actually believed that they were still superior to black folks – that was, at the time, the culture. What is the culture you’re talking about? Is it one that bans fraternization in the UCMJ, yet ignores it when it does happen? Is it one that forbids sexual assault in the UCMJ, yet gives little more than a slap on the wrist when a soldier is caught doing exactly that? Is it a culture that dislikes open homosexuals because you’re afraid we’re all nymphomaniacs who want to screw everything that walks?

If the latter is the case, then you’re wrong, and your opinion and attitude are based on pure ignorance. Most lesbians – myself included – aren’t interested in straight women. I have cute little crushes on a couple of celebrities, but last I checked Kate Beckinsale isn’t a US soldier and doesn’t plan to become one. Even still, if she walked into the room I wouldn’t be staring at her boobs and dreaming of motorboating. Why? She’s straight. There’s something about women who have slept with men that is more unappealing to me than the idea of shagging a relative. The fact that you straight men are always imagining women stripping down and sitting on your faces does not mean that lesbians do. I can’t speak for gay men, but those I know feel the exact same way. We are no more sexual than straight people are and we’re not out to have sex with everyone on two legs. Do us all a favor and dispell that from your culture.

The second running theme is entirely religious. One commenter wrote, “it is a taught perversion, not a born one. This is why the aggressive homosexual community is pursuing the school systems to try to indoctrinate the next generation of children. For the short term, it will work for a while, however, most know the difference of right from wrong, and it will backfire. You can see this happening now. As most people grow older, they will find the Lord and repent their sins and try to lead a sinless lifestyle. When they do, they will find peace in their lives. We have to pray for those in the homosexual community to find the Lord and repent their sinful lifestyle, and walk with Jesus. Only this way, will they truly inherit Heaven and find peace. If you love your fellow man, you will do the same.”

Okay…I am conservative politically. I am a lesbian. I am also a believing Christian. I do not find my faith at odds with my sexual orientation. If it were a choice, as you say it is, I would absolutely choose to be straight. Do you have any idea how much easier my life would be? If it were a choice, I wouldn’t have had crushes on other girls in class when I was in second grade! Do you really think it was a choice back then? I didn’t know what it was. All I knew was that if I told the girls I liked that I thought they were pretty, I’d be severely beaten (and, in fact, I was on several occasions). As an adult, I don’t sleep around. I won’t sleep with someone on the first or even the second date. I have a relative, though, who is as straight as straight can be, and she has done sick and twisted things in bed that I never wanted to know – she’s also lost count of the number of men she’s slept with. Tell me, whose “lifestyle” is really sinful?

Next up? Your Christian-ese. It is lost on most people. Non-believers, such as my roommate, don’t understand “finding the Lord”, “repentance”, and “inheriting Heaven”. You are speaking a different language to them, one that turns them completely off to our faith. The best way to help people understand Christianity is to live your life so that others want whatever is giving you peace. My gay and lesbian friends are far more interested in my faith BECAUSE I don’t say those things.

Your accusation that all gay people are infiltrating the schools to indoctrinate and recruit kids? Bullshit. Pardon my Japanese, but it’s pure bullshit. I will agree that there are gays and lesbians who are entirely inappropriate in teaching positions. The kindergarten teacher who made her class sign GLSEN pledge cards irritated me beyond belief. The high school teacher who took her class to her lesbian wedding without parental consent also irritated me. Recruitment, though? Please! If you are that paranoid about it, then take your kids out of public school. Nobody is trying to recruit any kids to choose the homosexual lifestyle. All we want is for kids who are attracted to the same sex to feel safe enough that they’re not going to have to survive what I did.

Finally, I will quote the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Read all of that one more time. Do you understand it? That means that if your entire hang-up about homosexuals like me is based entirely on your religious belief, then according to the Constitution – that document I would give my last breath to defend – you cannot pass nor enforce laws written from that perspective. You are entitled to your belief, but I am also entitled to mine. Neither you nor I are allowed to enact any law that forces other people to live according to our faith. I have always, always, ALWAYS been against hate speech laws because it would infringe on your rights to believe that my lifestyle is wrong. I have ALWAYS insisted that gay marriage should NEVER include a requirement that all churches submit to marrying gay couples. I expect you to pay the same level of respect.

I don’t want to make a political statement by serving; I just want to serve. Why is that so difficult? I will tell those of you who fit those two categories the exact same thing I tell my liberal gay friends: grow up. It’s not all about you and what you want. Challenge yourselves and you might just learn something.

Slight of Hand

It was big news when, out of nowhere, Democrats announced they were tacking a provision to repeal DADT to a defense spending bill. The announcement just a month ago was that Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, openly opposed allowing DADT to continue and supported repeal. Democrats agreed with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that they would wait to repeal the bill until a report on the impact of a repeal on the capability to recruit and readiness of the military could be completed. A date of December 1 was set.

Then, this week, they announced a sudden change in plans. They couldn’t have had better timing: as Steve pointed out in his post a couple of days ago, the Obama administration has been under fire for the past couple of weeks for their lack of response to the massive pipeline rupture spewing thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico every day. Obama has managed to assign all the blame for the disaster, including the lack of attention to containing the oil that is now washing ashore in Louisiana (or even attempting to begin cleanup efforts, for that matter), to BP. Not only was Katrina Bush’s fault, this disaster is apparently his fault too, according to Madame Speaker Pelosi.

Worse yet, at least for Obama’s legal issues, is the revelation that the White House is tangled up in offering Joe Sestak a job if he would agree to drop out of the primary race for turncoat Arlen Specter’s senate seat. Back in February, Sestak let slip that he’d been offered a high-level job within the Obama administration to drop out of the race and said that he’d adamantly refused to accept the offer, but also refused to give any solid details. The press jumped on the allegation, immediately asking the Big O’s personal talking head Robert Gibbs to explain the claim but everyone had suddenly clammed up.

You see, it is a felony to attempt to bribe a candidate to drop out of a political race, just as it is a felony to bribe a politician to vote a certain way. As soon as the questions surfaced the administration went into lockdown. Nobody said a word. When anybody did speak, the only thing they were allowed to say was, “nothing improper took place.” They were willing to say that nobody did anything wrong, but at the same time they wouldn’t tell us what DID happen. They kept saying that a report was in the works. Odd behavior for a group of extremely powerful people who didn’t do anything illegal, wouldn’t you say?

So, on May 21, the announcement came: in one week a vote would take place on a defense spending bill. Included in the bill was now the language to repeal DADT.

See where I’m going with this yet?

There had previously been absolutely no plan to do anything about DADT until the end of the year. That report was what everything was to be based on, and both SecDef Gates and Admiral Mullen had specifically asked Congress not to revisit the issue until the report was completed. Congress agreed. The only reason they went back on their word was because they needed to do something to drum up some positive press with at least part of their constituency, and the best way to do it was to keep a promise they’d made to the gay community. Repealing DADT will be a historic measure, one guaranteed to win Obama some favor.

The Democrats had to do something to save face. This was the best way to do it. Obama did nothing proactive after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform; he could have gotten the jump on a cleanup effort. He could have saved the coast from the ecological disaster that has already begun, but we’re more than a month out and Obama STILL hasn’t done anything. If you think Katrina was bad, wait to see what happens now.

The report on the Sestak affair wasn’t released until this past Thursday. In it officials claimed that it was Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel who asked former president Bill Clinton to offer Sestak the job. I’m curious…if Sestak was being offered a job in Obama’s cabinet, then why didn’t Obama make the offer? Why did a second party need to enlist the aid of a third party, one who is no longer personally in the government, to make the offer? The whole thing reeks of plausible deniability. Everyone involved, from Sestak to Obama, knew perfectly well they were doing something illegal. I have to ask again, also – if nobody did anything wrong, then why couldn’t they have come out the day that Sestak let the cat out of the bag and told us what happened? If that report is the truth, it should have come out three months ago.

I want DADT to be repealed, but this is dishonest and I am no closer to giving Obama or any of the Democrats any kudos than I was before. This was carefully-orchestrated liberal slight of hand. Watch closely, and you might just figure out where the deception is.

Washington’s Dividing (Gay) Issue of the Year: D.A.D.T.

For about a week now, the number-one searched term on internet search engines like YAHOO! has been: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” 

As with the previous administration, the current one is using an issue important to some members of the gay community to deflect from much larger problems most sane people would like dealt with first.

After completely failing the American people, Obama finally held a press conference today on the BP oil disaster which is closing down businesses, endangering the Gulf and all of its natural resources which human beings and wildlife rely on, and happened to kill a handful of decent hardworking Americans responsible for providing and refining energy that we need as a nation to remain productive.  In the conference, Obama accomplished what we all knew he was capable of doing: to assign total blame to BP and accept absolutely no substantial responsibility whatsoever.  

Couldn’t he have done this about 20 days ago?  Ahh, he must have been too busy playing golf, giving comedy routines to the Hollywood elite, and attending fundraisers and events for Barbara Boxer.  (Guessing by his track record of carrying candidates to victory in 2010 with endorsement, perhaps we can thank him for his contribution to at least one issue important to Americans: getting rid of pompous incumbents.)

And while he wasn’t playing golf and stumping for Boxer, he was busy having lavish state dinners with foreign leaders who attack American policies.  After inviting President Calderon from Mexico to the United States last week, we saw two Presidents disparage Jan Brewer’s noble efforts to protect Arizonans and rail in rounds of applause from a liberal Congress by trashing the majority of Americans who support it.  (Rumor has it one of those presidents were supposed to be American.)

Clearly Americans are royally pissed off at the administration and Congress which are reflected in the latest GALLUP tracking poll with the President’s approval rating at 46% and his disapproval rating at 47%.

What better way to attempt to distract from issues important to Americans like immigration and a current national crisis which goes far beyond the simple characterization of something equivalent to “Bush’s Katrina” than to stir up American disagreement on crucial matters of national security?

Clearly, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is a matter of national security where its proponents have made their valid arguments and its opponents have made theirs.  Honestly, I am sorry, but I couldn’t care less about it right now.  Other than a few friends directly affected by it — one in particular who was kicked out of the military once it was discovered he was gay — it is not an issue that united Americans are focusing on.

Flashback a few years to George W. Bush.  If you recall; McCain, Kennedy, and GWB were trying to force amnesty down our throats before the 2006 midterm elections and in the heat of grassroots-American rage in its opposition to what became known as “shamnesty,” Bush directed Congress to jump on a divisive issue attached to homosexuality and they immediately began debating gay marriage.

Most strident adversity to gay issues like “gays in the military” come from people who equate homosexuality to a sickness or a social disorder of some kind.  But people change and in order to get them to change, we must exist in a society where the most important issues of the day like a national tragedy such as the oil spill or the complete and utter madness stemming from a simple Arizona law supported by the majority are discussed and resolved.

Clearly, this administration and its liberal congressional partners-in-crime are not, and have never been, interested in representing the core parts of its people who unite us.  If they had, their version of “health care reform” would have never had a chance to come up for a vote, we wouldn’t be using our hard-working tax dollars to contribute to bailing out Greece’s failed socialist policies, we wouldn’t be inviting foreign leaders who cannot control criminals within their own country to come on our soil and accuse us of all being racists, and we wouldn’t be witnessing the most embarrassing reaction to a national crisis.

Instead of blaming Bush this time, he’s blaming BP and has ripped a page out of the worst chapter of the Bush playbook: when you’re up against the ropes, turn against the voters and throw out a scapegoat issues sure to divide Americans to distract from finding solutions to our biggest current problems.

THIS is the extent of gay relevance in Washington.  It doesn’t matter which party is running the show.  But at least one of those parties don’t run around pretending to be our best friends so we foolishly walk into voting booths and pull levers to gratify their electoral hunger.

Until we can get matters on track like jobs, our economy, securing our borders, and assisting those in the southern states most affected by the BP gush, I’d prefer Washington stop using our community to divide Americans and screw with delicate matters of national security.

Losing Both Battle and War

Today, GetEQUAL staged another protest. This time it was a two-pronged message; one was staged during President Obama’s speech at a campaign fundraiser for Barbara Boxer in Los Angeles last night. Today, Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo were joined by four other former military members in handcuffing themselves to the fence in front of the White House. It was the second time that Choi and Pietrangelo had done this.

GetEQUAL is comprised of gay rights activists to whom the details are unimportant. They have shown themselves willing to do almost anything short of running down Pennsylvania Avenue naked to get attention directed back at their cause: the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. I’m not sure what I think about them just yet because I can’t find any verifiable information about the organization.

I know for damn sure that I disagree 100% with the methods by which Choi, Pietrangelo and their associates are getting their message across. I agree with them that we need equal rights but I don’t agree with the delivery. First of all, they are in their military uniforms. They are blatantly disrespecting their orders. I applaud them for standing up for Army Core Values. There are seven core values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. Take one out and the rest crumble. For standing up for integrity and upholding their oaths, they have my gratitude and respect. I cannot abide them using their stand as a slap in the face to the rest of those values, though. There are both Republicans and Democrats holding out on repealing DADT, and their decisions will hinge on what their constituents want. If our actions turn their constituents off, we can kiss any possibility of equality good-bye for the forseeable future.

I have said for a very long time that we need to be wise in our approach to gaining equality. In 29 states it is currently still legal to fire an employee for being a homosexual. There are over 1,100 benefits and legal rights that are denied gay and lesbian people in the United States, among them laws that actually restrict one’s ability to pass creative and intelligence rights on to a non-related, non-married partner (meaning royalties for published writings or music can only be passed to relatives). There are several rights we still need to strive for, but doing whatever we can to get everyone’s attention isn’t going to get us there.

A few pointers. First of all, simply denying NAMBLA from marching in Pride parades or having booths at Pride festivals isn’t enough. Guys like Kevin Jennings need to renounce their time following Harry Hay, who supported NAMBLA (as well as the communist governments that round up homosexuals and send us to labor camps). Organizations such as GLSEN need to stop promoting gay rights to children in elementary school, stop putting books like “Am I Blue,” “Heather Has Two Mommies” and “…And Tango Makes Three” in elementary school libraries. They need to remove sexually explicit material of any kind from their suggested reading list, because frankly it is appalling that anyone is suggesting that seventh graders read books such as Queer 13. It’s mortifying to me that books like that are being suggested for anybody under the age of 18. To me, it comes awfully close to sexual abuse.

Stop holding gay sex seminars disguised as gay rights seminars. High schoolers do not need to be sent to classes in these seminars where the keynote speaker is going to encourage them to graphically describe their sexual fantasies in front of God and everybody and then go on to show them the proper hand positions for certain unmentionable acts.

Do you really think this kind of thing isn’t absolutely disgusting? If this is normal for you, there is something seriously wrong with your psyche and you should not EVER work with children. What kids learn in our society should be left up to their parents whether we agree with what their parents are teaching them or not. Keep pushing and, as we’ve all seen, they WILL push back. And there’s a hell of a lot more of them than there are of us. Being equal does not mean that we need to take their rights away. The instant we do that we’ll set ourselves up for the same loss down the road.

Yes, we deserve equality. We absolutely deserve equality. We’re every bit as human as anybody else. We live, breathe, love, bleed, cry and laugh the same way they do. Our rights, however, are not the most important thing here. We MUST be careful how and where we tread lest we lose not only the battle, but the war also.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

AirForceWife brought up a name that I’d read about recently and had to pull up again during a conversation about DADT. The chat was about milbloggers and the questions about DADT posed to Gen. Oates; more recently, another Army General has gotten himself in hot water over his staunch defense of the policy. Gen. Mixon wrote in Stars & Stripes that a majority of the military supported DADT and if they wanted it to remain in place everybody needed to write to their Congressmen to let them know how they felt (the supposed deluge of calls and letters never materialized). Gen. Oates has stated that surveys of in-theatre troops show that the vast majority just don’t care about sexual orientation the way they did in 1993.

Then she brought up Danny Choi. I had to think and search a bit, but eventually remembered that just three days ago, Lt. Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and fluent Arabic linguist, was arrested.

He and previously-discharged Captain Jim Pietrangelo handcuffed themselves to the White House fence – in uniform.

This is after Choi announced on the Rachel Maddow show that he was gay. Under the DADT policy, the Army had no alternative but to recommend firing him despite both the troops serving under him and his superiors defending him as an asset to their unit. What I’m failing to understand is how a commissioned officer arrived at the decision to pull such a stunt, in uniform, in front of the White House, before he’s fired. He was drilling with his unit just prior to the protest. What’s more, huge steps have been taken in recent months to begin the end of DADT.

This act set the gay community back light years.

Troops are forbidden from participating in protests while in uniform. Any employer retains the right to keep such a policy in place. For me, I could lose my job; for a soldier, it’s wanton disrespect to show up at the home of the Commander-in-Chief in uniform and handcuff yourself to the fence in protest of a policy that the C in C is trying to end. I don’t think Choi had in mind what kind of example he was setting for his troops. I think this was a purely political stunt. It’s one that’s going to cost us.

It wasn’t the first time he’s taken part in a protest while in uniform. He was also a highly-hailed speaker at the Equality March this past October – in his class alpha uniform. Then, as currently, he is still a commissioned officer in the Army National Guard.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-eUfCA2gJo]

It’s one thing to take a stand. It’s another to take that stand too far. I agree that Obama doesn’t have any sense of priority when it comes to this policy, but there are less disrespectful ways of rallying people to a cause. If you’re trying to win hearts and minds, you don’t act with the express intent of shocking those you are trying to convince. Those who might have been accepting of our cause have been very off-put by Choi’s actions.

Just when we’d taken a step forward, this protest took us two steps back. Now where do we go?

A “More Humane” DADT

Wow. As if having “don’t ask, don’t tell” as a policy weren’t offensive enough, now we’ve got Secretary of Defense Gates adding insult to injury.

He’s talking about finding a “more humane” way of enforcing DADT.

Is this their idea of keeping promises? I hope not, because it feels more like a lousy attempt at placation. Obama promised–he PROMISED–to do away with this ridiculous policy. Most of our current servicemembers don’t care what their fellow soldiers’ orientation is as long as that person is doing their job and has their back. Israel, among other countries, did away with bans on homosexuals serving in the armed forces some time ago and didn’t experience any loss in unit cohesion.

So what is our problem?

Here’s the problem: Obama is trying too hard to make everyone happy in this case. There are some things you just can’t be that diplomatic about, and this is one of them. You cannot promise to take care of a problem and then turn around and do something like this. Of course, this is all AFTER team Obama defended DADT as a method of boosting “unit cohesion.”

They also defended DOMA. So I’d like to know where Perez Hilton is now after lambasting Miss California. Oh, wait…he doesn’t have the balls to go after anyone who’s not a Christian.

More humane? How can we make DADT more humane? If it were enforced the way it’s written, maybe, just maybe I could see the route we’re taking now (trying to convince Congress to overturn it). But considering the fact that “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue, don’t harass” is often used to oust well-qualified soldiers on the say-so of third parties who have a grudge rather than the admission of the accused, I don’t think there’s really any way to salvage it. Get rid of this ridiculous policy.

Obama could suspend it indefinitely until Congress holds hearings. He refuses because he doesn’t have the spine to do it. And all this talk about making Congress do it to make it permanent is nauseating! If the President can do it by executive order, he can certainly UN-do it the same way.

We can’t have that, though. God forbid Obama take the initiative and responsibility for this decision. He might cause more irritation to some groups than he already is. Just as long as the burden isn’t all on him, we in the gay community can wait.

While we’re waiting, though, Obama is losing money and votes. GLBT folks who voted for him won’t let him get away with this one.

More humane?

Gag me.

The Truth Hurts

Today, the Supreme Court refused to hear argument from 12 former servicemembers dismissed under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. The lawsuit claiming the policy is unconstitutional has officially failed.

The justices refused to hear it based on a specific request by the Obama administration.

The administration said in a release, quote, “the appeals court ruled correctly in this case when it found that don’t ask, don’t tell is rationally related to the government’s legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion.”

If anybody in the gay community has any delusions whatsoever that Obama is our friend and is still planning to strike down DADT, lay them aside now. We have them on the record proving the reality that they do NOT have our interests at heart. The truth hurts, folks, and it’s time to face that reality that we’ve ignored for the sake of “The One.”

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t…What?

I know I promised a blog on violence perpetrated by liberal activists, but I’ve been going non-stop since I made that promise. This is literally the first chance I’ve had to sit down and think about anything other than work, and I had to point something out. I will deliver on my promise, but for now, I think this is more pressing.

It’s come across the wires that the 2010 budget includes funding for continuing the enforcement of DADT. “Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue, don’t harass” was signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1994 after he made a campaign promise to end the military ban on homosexuals in service. The same guy who promised to be a friend to the gay community gave us DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) shortly after DADT. Last year, during the heated presidential campaigns, Barack Obama made a promise to end DADT and the ban for good.

Considering how things have gone so far, should we really be surprised that he has not only not kept his promise, but has extended the life of the policy?

He promised change. What’s changed? He’s managed to nearly triple the national deficit with a pork-laden spending bill that the Associated Press has finally agreed had absolutely no basis in reality whatsoever. We thought Bush economic policies were bad with his bailout? I was pretty sure we wanted that crap to stop, yet Obama has handed out more bailout money since he entered office than Bush did in eight years. The man has only been in office for seventy days! He talked a big game about “applying some flinty Chicago toughness” to D.C. in regards to the weather, yet he can’t even do what he’s calling on the rest of America to do–turn down his own freakin’ thermostat. Where’s the example? Geez, at least Carter put on a sweater, lit a fire in the White House fireplace and did exactly what he expected everyone else to do.

Should it really surprise us that Obama hasn’t come close to carrying out the promises he made to the gay community? When Kerry was running against Bush, I told everyone to beware: he was NOT going to be the savior of the gay community. I said the same thing when Obama was running, and hardly anyone believed me. Now we’ve got some of the gay news agencies quietly sticking in the back pages the news that Obama isn’t keeping his promise after all. Why can’t we all just admit it? Another politician lied to gain our trust and votes. I’d rather vote for someone who isn’t going to lie to me about giving me my rights than a man who will get on TV, tell a slick lie, do it with all the conviction in the world and not care that he has no intention of following through.

Don’t ask, don’t tell–don’t mess with the way things are. Lord knows if he pisses off too many people he won’t get re-elected. We can’t have that, now, can we?

I’m gettin’ a little tired of being used as a damned bargaining chip. Mark my words, folks, that’s exactly what we are.