Today I have drawn a line. Each man must draw his own-- every thinking person ought to be drawing them constantly-- and when I see that gay servicemen and veterans are going to be marching in formation, military music blaring-- a horse detachment!-- at the San Diego Gay Pride Parade today, I had to get out my stick and dig a ditch deeply across my own mental sandy patch.
The justification that will be made for such blatant endorsement of our military mission is that DADT Repeal isn't about war and peace, it's only about discrimination. One ordinarily sage commentator on my political discussion board, a gay man who never served, takes this myopic position.
I strongly, irrevocably disagree with him.
This is NOT a major step in gay equality. It is a SHUCK. I AM one of those discharged for being gay decades before there was anything called DADT. I am almost undoubtedly the only such person you know; mathematically speaking there are not a lot of us, only some 13,000 discharged under DADT, and undoubtedly quite a few less in the entire history of the service.
Now my friend Denny doesn't have any idea, gay or not, what telling that lie when you step forward and raise your hand to take the oath is all about. I do. I HAD to enlist. There wasn't any question about it, my family military history made that a done deal, it wasn't a matter of IF I would enlist, it was only a matter of when.
But I knew I was telling a lie when I took that step forward and raised my hand, because although I LIKE girls, and I like sex with 'em, I also was DYING to be with a guy and know what that was really all about (I do not regret finding out, lol). I was a virgin (technically) with both sexes until I was 20 and in Vietnam!
I am determined to save one, two, more young gays, and other young people who have given no thought to the entire military mission, and who are seduced by the recruiting fairs, the video games, the enlistment incentives (which have nothing to do with patriotism)-- the Fred Karger Republican electoral bait-and-switch specifically targeting gays and students-- from committing the grave and stupid error of joining a FUBAR mission FOR THEIR MATERIAL ADVANCEMENT RATHER THAN FOR THE CLEAR DEFENSE OF THE UNITED STATES.
Or merely for more inchoate reasons of personal or familial economic desperation.
And Denny is mistaken here. If patriotism-- to say nothing of a real urgency to fight off invaders-- was the major impetus for people to join the military they wouldn't need the freaking recruiting fairs with their slick and seductive video games.
No, it is personal material (which includes educational, since that's what you get educated for, so you can make more money, or even get rich) advancement, or today, desperation to help their families because their parents are now long-term unemployed, that brings 90% of enlistees in.
I know one 21-year-old, no father since 7, grunt laborer/jack of any trade you'll hire him for, been the man of the family taking care of his mother and sister since then. I asked him whether he had thought about going into the service (this is a muscle twink, a freakin STUD, tell you what, and almost certainly dead straight).
This normally macho poor-white-trash Mississippi kid said, "I don't guess I will, I ain't got no problem with them other people in other countries. I'll just keep workin'."
"I always have," he smiled.
It was clear that he HADN'T given joining up any serious consideration. Well done, Daniel (the young man's name). But most of 'em do, and enough of them join to keep this mess going, and the reasons they join have nothing to do with defending the USA.
And that is why even the APPEARANCE of gay support of military objectives, whether, as Denny continues to argue, that necessarily implies the SUBSTANCE of that support, is a negative example that, apparently, gays are not only ready but EAGER to set for the impressionable children, including gay children, coming up behind them.