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Don't Ask , Don't Tell

Don't Ask Don't Tell ends today. I support it, but if for a minute we think it's going to be easy, I have to ask, "What have you been smoking?" Overall, my faith in soldiers makes me want to think they will deal with it just fine. In a sense, it is hard to know. It isn't like racism or related social issues. This has to do with the "verboten"(forbidden) subject of sex.

The leadership calls it "sexual orientation" as though this handles it. BS! A propensity to be interested in a same sex relationship is basic theory and it would be like GIs being typical males flirting with girls or whatever. But, we are dealing with long standing prejudices fueled by a culture trying to come to grips with a different set of values. Technically, it is sexual attraction. It just happens to be same-sex attraction.

There are issues like showering and displays of affection that revolve around deep-rooted societal and cultural beliefs. Then there are the religious views. Preachers who are not immune from prooftexting (taking out selected passages to prove their point) the Bible to reinforce their homophobic beliefs even though sincere.

My belief is that overall, soldiers will get past this. I liken it to homophobia in general. Let me give you this example: A soldier will have all these macho/homophobic beliefs and suddenly, he meets a guy who is gay. They become friends. The heteresexual/homophobic feelings go out the door. It happens. I have dozens of war stories of my own. I met a gay Priest once who said he was attracted to me. What!!! Me??? Although flattered, I like women. (this is macho talk). We laughed and became great friends. He left the priesthood years later when he "came out." We are still really good friends.

My big thing is let's don't get in a state of denial more than we already are. While I think that soldiers will adapt, I don't have a clue how it is going to work. Sex is a natural driving force in men in particular. Think of all the men, powerful men, who have been stupid. Eric Spitzer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Strauss-Kahn, the French asshole who was accused of raping the maid. Need I say more. Put any spin or psychobabble you want on it, it is the "elephant" I'n the room.

And our culture is still mired in a type of strange silence about sex. Soldiers in conventional units will probably do better with the repeal than the more elite units like the 82d Airborne Division, Special Forces (Green Berets) and the Special Operations units of all the services like Seal Team Six. The Marines will not have an easy time of it, you can count on it. And, then there are the movies that absolutely reflect our culture like "An Officer and a Gentleman." Richard Gere and his fellow trainees are in formation and the tough as nails drill sergeant played by Louis Gossett, Jr. is hassling them. One recruit says he's from Texas. The drill Sergeant says, "The only things that come out of Texas is steers and queers." Take a look at the movie, "Full Medal Jacket" and count the number of references to "fags." Good luck and God bless.


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