Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Gays in the Military: Sully takes on the military mindset. I'm so glad to read this, since it is something I've thought for a while: When someone from the military argues (usually as a last resort) for "don't ask, don't tell," they often end with a statement like this (from a letter to Sully from a Navy E-5): "Openly gay personnel would have a negative effect on good order and discipline and some of them would get HURT." I'm embarrassed to hear this kind of reasoning, this kind of abdication of responsibility, even from an enlisted sailor (but certainly you'll hear it from officers, too): We just can't be trusted to behave like the gentlemen soldiers and sailors we're expected to be if you put some gays in with us.

Seems to me that this mindset explicitly admits that the problem of "order and discipline" comes not from having gays in the military, but from having bigots there. What's the appropriate response? My suggestion: "You know what, sailor? This is the United States Navy you're talking about; it's not some goddamn sailing club for you and your friends, and it's surely not a democracy. Nobody asked with whom you will and will not consider serving honorably. If your president asks you to eat, shower, and fight next to a bearded lady, you'll damn well do it and like it."

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