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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

NEW YEAR’S DAY – AND NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN

I sat up tonight for a couple of reasons. One, I hurt my back lying in the front yard while the blessed, BLESSED rain fell in Houston. NOT a drought buster, but more rain than we’ve seen at one time since January 24th of this year. I keep forgetting that I’m an old fat woman who has a difficult time getting up without the help of a heavy-duty crane, or WonderWife (who was at work at the time), so I wrenched my STUPID back and had to crawl on my hands and knees to the pecan tree and pull myself up. By myself. OOOOWWWWIIIIEEEE. Maybe I should keep the heavy-duty crane on retainer for the times that I feel like – and pull – dumb stunts like that one.

The second reason was a bit more personal and deserved commemoration and celebration, even if I was the only one that was celebrating. At midnight, the repeal of DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL went into effect. It doesn’t sound like much, does it? Repealing a stupid, senselessly cruel law that has resulted in a great number of good Americans being dismissed from serving the country that they love simply because an accident of biology made them into what they were: gay. That being gay, or GLBT, is not something that they chose and should not have disqualified them from service. This is the great sin that then-President Clinton committed; basically, as President Obama has been forced to do by an intransigent political party, then-President Clinton made a compromise that was wicked and a betrayal of everything that he’d promised the GLBT community.

If you were gay, you could serve if, and only if, you were celibate and you stayed away from your fellow GLBTers. I don’t think that I need to enumerate the suffering that this caused over the years. I don’t think that I need to repeat the horrors that the GLBT service members went through, from sly, nasty jokes about “those queers”. I also don’t think that I need to tell anyone who has more than 3 functioning brain cells just how awful it’s been lately, either. People being outed and ousted from service, never MIND that their fellow soldiers/sailors/airmen and women knew and basically didn’t give a damn about their sexual orientation. People like Lt. Dan Cho, and Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach.

Supporters of repeal compare it to the racial de-segregation of troops more than 60 years ago. Desegregating the troops after WWII probably cost then-President Truman the election – but he did it, the world did NOT end, and that was pretty much the end of the matter. He did it by executive order, too. President Obama opted for the legal repeal, and, while I didn’t like it then and still don’t like it now, he was right to do it the way that he did. This way, it will have to be re-introduced, IF the ReThugs and their contemptible fellow travelers, the TeaPartiers, are ever stupid enough to try.

"We're Gay. Get Over it," stated the cover page of the Marine Corps Times distributed to bases worldwide a week ahead of Tuesday's repeal. In San Diego, about 200 active-duty personnel — both gay and heterosexual — made up the nation's first military contingency to participate in a Gay Pride march this summer, carrying banners identifying their branches of service. An Army soldier was in tears, saying she was touched by the thousands cheering them on, after hiding her identity for so long. The headline offended some, but for many troops it echoed their sentiment that repeal is a non-issue for a military that operates by following orders and is busy at war. That sentiment is backed by Pentagon officials who say they have found no evidence the repeal so far has disrupted forces or harmed unit cohesion as predicted by opponents.

At least 100,000 GLBT service members have been discharged for being gay, beginning with WWII and continuing until today. That’s an awful lot of people whose only crime was their sexual orientation. While there a just a WHOLE lot of reasons to condemn the Clinton Administration for failure to correct this, the belief that Clinton could have won a showdown with Congress over creating the policy is nonsense. Then-President Clinton was stopped dead in his tracks by – you guessed it – POLITICS. THANK you, Sam Nunn, I DON’T think. Similarly, the belief that DADT was, in itself, worse than preceding antigay military policies is willful, stupid ignorance. Yes, it was bad. Is bad. There were far more egregious policies in place that did a lot more harm than DADT. However, please remember that the larger point will still remain that any form of limitation on the admission and retention of out GLBT service members in the military will be abused for the same reasons they were a decade ago as reported by SLDN: institutional homophobia. Just like statistics on gay bashing in the civilian community, expression of it can ebb and flow whenever the amount of public discussion of gay equality does.

Eventually, guess what? It will cease being a topic of conversation of any importance. After all, Great Britain got rid of their version of DADT – and guess what happened? The world didn’t end. NOBODY CARED, and less than 1% of the on-duty people quit the military over having to shower with a bunch of gay dudes and women.

I did live long enough to see it, after all. I seem to be saying that a lot lately, don’t I? Isn’t it WONDERFUL?

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