Thursday, September 30, 2010

What's in a Word?

Decades ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and Orville and Wilbur (not the popcorn Wilbur, the other one) had figured out that airplane stuff, I was actually in the United States Air Force, sort of. I was a radio and television broadcast specialist, which is to the 'real' Air Force what Velveeta is to cheese. I've made a decent living as a drone of the military-industrial complex but have watched for years as America struggled with membership in the "I Wanna Serve My Country"club.

Last week's attempt to begin the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was dispiriting because it seemed (from my kid in the weeds location in SE Connecticut) to have an awful lot to do with election season and not very much to do with anything else. Don't misunderstand me-Mom raised crazy children, not stupid ones and I've been on the orb for a little over fifty-eight revolutions (around the sun; far fewer in other areas) and concede there's more to this than meets the eye. I'm not going for funny today-I genuinely don't get why a vote 'might' happen, but only after election day, on this issue.

Despite all the years I was in uniform and/or worked with those who are/were, I have NO idea with how many homosexual people I've worked. It's also none of my business. We would (I hope) all agree prejudice based on race, creed, national origin, how many pony rides for your birthday you've received, isn't just wrong, it's dumb. I'm glad my long shirt covers my star belly, or maybe I don't have one; how about you? All of us live and work with every kind of people (I was channeling Robert Palmer for a moment) from very talented to, and through, not so talented.

For me, relentless pragmatist, it comes down to civil rights and the power of math. A compelling argument to cease racial discrimination in the Armed Forces in 1947 (decades before the country the military defends was close to comfortable with that idea) was the size of the talent pool you excluded by discriminating. Might I suggest the same calculations were done for the inclusion of women when compulsory service ended. You may feel very differently about living and working with homosexuals and your right to feel that way is protected by our Constitution, but so, too, are those whom some of us seek to exclude.

If, as a nation, we ever find ourselves in a major conflict requiring a draft to generate the armed forces needed to preserve the Republic, I doubt very much the selective service board will care a fried rat's hindquarters about the sexual preferences of anyone who's swimming around in the draft pool. Let's face it, priorities are priorities and getting elected to something is always important to somebody. "I been Ayn Randed, nearly branded a Communist cos I'm left-handed-but that's the hand to use.
Well, nevermind....."
-bill kenny


Anonymous said...

Why is this still an issue? What were the Gay '90s all about? But, hoping the congressionals would do what's right rather than what's deemed re-electable may fade by the 59th rev.

dweeb said...

Excellent question to which I, at least, don't have an answer. What's the expression? 'There's no atheists in the foxholes?' Maybe that's true of curly-haired, or left-handed, or green-eyed or INSERT your Bogeyman HERE, and we just don't know it yet.

What I fear I do know is that as long as somebody sees a political advantage in kaing this some kind of litmus test for 'American', this ride will continue to go round.