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Cory Doctorow

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

This hurt

My apologies for the less-than-ideal video/audio quality in the clip below. However, the words are easy enough to hear.

When talking recently about President Obama's pick for the next Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and Ms. Kagan's stated opinions on the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding gays and lesbians serving without having to hide their sexual identity, the conversation Senator Inhofe and radio host Bryan Fischer have meanders into an all-too-telling look into the personal feelings the Senator has about gays and lesbians in the military in general:

" .. you have women, men then you'd have a third group to deal with . ."

As a gay man, I'm supposing I'd be a part of the "third group". What in the blazes does the Senator think folks in the "third group" look like? I couldn't help but visualize a couple of new sets of barracks on some base/post/station into which the "third group" would be housed.

Perhaps some of these G.Is are a part of this "third group". What would their special barracks look like, do you suppose, Senator?

(btw, perfectly OK to giggle, guffaw and/or laugh yourself silly. All I saw in the clip below is some bored GIs with time to kill and a need to entertain themselves. Still . . )

" . . you hear the stories all the time . ."

Do you mean stories like this one, Senator? (yeah, I know it's 5 years old. Find a current story that fits the Senator's implication that gay & lesbian soldiers destroy unit cohesion, etc. My bet is you're more likely to find unit cohesion issues stem from other issues)

" . . we're not doing it for the flag or for the country, we're doing it for the guy in the next foxhole . ."

Stifling the urge to giggle at the unintentional double-entendre at the end of this quote, here's a much more clear-headed set of reasons why soldiers do what they do for us every day all over the world. Straight from the source (no pun intended).

Emotions aside, the clip from the radio interview smells like pandering to the conservative base at its worst. I've learned from my little bit of experience in the wide, wide world of politics, though, that it's impossible to set emotion aside from the business of governing. To this end, politicians like Senator Inhofe know this is so just like a reflex and the best of the best in politics can spit out rhetoric reflexively.

Still, this one really cuts through me. I felt like I was grouped in with aliens from outer space, mutants or some other science-fiction imagined third gender. Then, I felt like no matter how committed and honorable I was with my friends, family, co-workers and people I pass on the street, that my ultimate goal in life is nothing but sexual pleasure. I still can't wrap my head around the third quote above. From all I have read, the need to protect, defend and fight along side the soldiers in my unit/platoon, etc., becomes reflexive like breathing or blinking. The former servicemen and women I have worked with and those in my personal life carry that same sensibility with them well after their service to their country has ended.

I cannot imagine how much more strongly a gay or lesbian soldier must feel about this after hearing this mess from Inhofe.

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