aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, June 25, 2006
SLDN on McCain on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
Senator McCain has long stated that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is the right policy, and is working. He’s just plain wrong. More than 11,000 well-qualified men and women, including Arabic linguists, pilots and medical professionals, have now been fired because of the ban on gay service members, and the number grows daily. Thousands more decline to enlist because of the prohibition on open service. All the while, our military readiness suffers and the government continues a discriminatory law that punishes gay Americans because of who they are.
Senator McCain would do well to listen to the counsel of military leaders who have said it’s time for the policy to be repealed. Lietuenant General Claudia Kennedy, General Wesley Clark, Brigadier General Pat Foote and others understand the absurdity of keeping this law in place. And he may learn important lessons from our allies, who have found great benefits, and no negative side effects, in lifting their bans.
Our gay and lesbian service members in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world deserve respect for their sacrifice. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ isn’t working, but they are, every day and with great pride in their service.
Conservatives like Hillary as “Warrior Queen”
I probably don’t pay close enough attention, but I’m not seeing liberal bloggers take the position I hold: I was for the war because I bought into the media hype brought on by conventional wisdom and manipulated intelligence. Looking back, it was a mistake.
Still, I oppose pulling out and leaving the country at the mercy of insurgents, rival factions and chaos. It occurs to me that had we waited, we might still have invaded, but possibly years later with a Clintonesque coalition that would have conducted the war differently, won and stayed to help build democracy and peace.
So had I been in the audience at the Take Back America conference I would not have booed Hillary. And today I note that on The Chris Matthews Show Joe Klein says that we should “give her credit for taking a position that she might actually believe in rather than doing this as a matter of political calculation.” I do.
Klein also said that “the period of Hillary as the inevitable candidate has ended.” But the best Hillary quote of the morning was this from Andrew Sullivan:
I think Hillary as the warrior queen is a fantastic iconography for the country. I mean, warrior queens always do well - Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth I - there is a very deep mythology in the back of our heads… that warms to that figure. Now if Hillary can pull it off, it’s the one way I think she could win the hearts of the people that are currently polarized against her.
Sounds like conservative appeal. The Harrisburger (is that the same ultra-conservative Harrisburg, PA I was raised in?) says:
I’d like to see her lose and would never vote for her, but let me say that I don’t fear a Hillary presidency as much as I did a Kerry presidency. Her opinions on Iraq and Iran—minus the sometimes unduly harsh criticisms of Bush (which are, in any event, to be expected; she’s a Democrat, after all)—do not distress me too much. Plus, she has always come across to me as cold and ruthless—ideal qualities for taking on our enemies. So count me unpersuaded by anyone who might argue that Hillary could not adequately prosecute the war.
It looks like Hillary’s on the right track to me.
When my straight friends - who lived on a heavily traveled downtown corner and flew a gay flag in their large living room window - moved away last year, I pointed to a post on Larry Lessig’s blog, Gay Like Me , by Jennifer Brown, co-author of Straightforward: How to Mobilize Heterosexual Support for Gay Rights. In it she suggests that by “permitting confusion about whether or not they are gay...heterosexuals can promote gay rights.”
This week my straight friends here - aware that I watch TV in TiVo-time - have been very eager for me to sit down and watch The Colbert Report from last Monday. I finally did last night. In it Stephen Colbert hilariously illustrates Brown’s point. bitter_crimson provides the excerpts. From the intro:
“You know, I am really steamed. I marched in a parade this weekend; the poster said it was in honor of my favorite emotion: Pride. Well it turns out it was a gay pride parade. And I didn’t find out until after I’d marched for three hours shouting, “I am Stephen Colbert, and I am proud to be out.” By which I clearly meant outside: it was a lovely day.
“Apparently this whole week is Gay Pride Week. Now, I’ve got no problem with gay people, except for my many problems with gay people. But why do they have to steal the word “Pride”? It’s yet another attempt by the homo-lexicographical agenda to turn our dictionaries gay. They already took the word “gay” and gayed it all up. I used to use that word all the time - then they stole rainbows and closets. Back in college, when I was young and gay, I threw the gayest rainbow-themed closet parties around. Jimmy, put up that picture! [above]
God I miss those short-shorts. They really cooled down my upper thighs!”
Then came Threatdown: Homo-Sexy Edition:
The number FIVE threat to my heterosexuality is “Gay Superheroes.” Thanks to stories about Superman Returns in the gay monthly The Advocate and the LA Times, the media is all abuzz about a possible shift in Superman’s orientation. Take a look. ...
“Now, I don’t trust most rumors, but where there’s smoke, there’s flaming fire. This has got me nervous: Americans mimic the behavior of their heroes, so if Superman turns out to be gay, he’ll turn America super-gay. We’re talking gayer than a speeding bullet. Sure, there were hints in the old comics, but when I was a kid he stood for everything that was good about America. He even fought a member of the nerd patrol named Braniac. And he came here after his home planet Krypton was destroyed, most likely, by gay marriage.[...]
[Threat number two is the “ex-gay movement."]
“As a straight man, I should never be told that same-sex attraction can be cured, because if it can, what’s stopping me from taking a dip in that end of the pool? The hot, salty end. And then when I’ve had enough, I can just read Leviticus and *snap* presto, I’m cured. The idea that it’s temporary makes it all-too-tempting. The only thing holding me back is that I don’t desire men.
“Which brings me to threat number ONE: “Desirable Men.” Okay. For the sake of argument, let’s say there’s a gun to me head, and I’ve gotta pick somebody. I’ll say it: George Clooney, Denzel Washington and Johnny Depp. Okay, that’s three. I’ll throw in a fourth! A young Sean Connery. Lord help me if they ever build a time machine. But the worst offender? Brad Pitt. Specifically from the movie Fight Club. Look at these abs: that is beyond washboard. You could grate reggiano parmesan on that stomach. I have thrown out five copies of that DVD, but every Friday night somehow it’s back in my player. Congress, if you wanna preserve marriage, you will ban that movie and make Brad put on some weight. I’m not gay, but come on, I’m human.
“And the other number one threat? BEARS.” [Oh, I love him so much it’s insane.]
BONUS VIDEO: Colbert, “manning the baricades at fort marriage” ... “I got no problem with people marrying snakes, as long as they’re not marrying gay snakes” (with fun opening flub).
I had planned to be in New York today; I’ve enjoyed the pride parades (my preferred terms, for me it’s more a celebration than a protest march) since the 80s (prior to that Fire Island had been my preferred venue for pride). I’m sorry I’ll miss it.
ATLANTA - When Atlanta’s Gay Pride parade begins Sunday afternoon, a White County teenager will be at the head of the line.
Kelly [sic] Pacer was chosen several months ago as grand marshal for this year’s parade.
Pacer is the teenager who was thrust into the national spotlight last year when she tried to organize a gay support club at White County High School.
As we reported in the spring, members of her family are also expected to march in the parade.
Kerry’s dad, Bill Pacer, said at the time his daughter is excited about the parade. “She’s absolutely elated; it’s quite an honor.”
Pacer added that Kerry “wants to be an attorney who will fight for the little people; fight for people’s rights.”
Kelly and the students fighting with her, gay and straight alike, are our proud future. More here.