Friday, February 05, 2010

DADT Pushers

In the annals of those who support the continued exclusion of gays from the military, we've already talked about Senator John McCain's stunning reversal of his "listen to the leaders" position. Now that top military officials are onboard with repealing DADT, he no longer cares what they think! Now that's mavericky!*

But Senator McCain is hardly the only offender here. Let's look at some of the other top movers on the issue. There's Elaine Donnelly, whose professional responsibility is keeping gays out of the military, mostly by trafficking in obscene stereotyping. I enjoyed watching veteran Rep. Patrick Murphy eviscerate her in 2008 on the issue. Duncan Hunter is currently getting attention for his fear of a hermaphrodite wave, but I still recall fondly his belief that Israelis aren't "Judeo-Christian" enough to have problems with gay people.

Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), beloved in the military community for savaging the patriotism of war hero Max Cleland, is worried that homosexuality is incompatible with the military's "high standards". Not an expression of hostility towards gay people at all! He also, in perhaps the most bizarre charge ever, fretted that gayness would lead to soldiers with (brace yourself) TATTOOS!

Given all that, it's almost refreshing to here some true straight talk from FRC bigwig Peter Sprigg, who flatly wants to overturn Lawrence and ban homosexuality outright. Tony Perkins, the chief of the FRC, is a military veteran himself. But he seriously indicated that he would not have chosen to serve if it meant serving next to gay and lesbian peers. Put him next to the gay and lesbian servicemembers who risk their lives for country that still sanctions official discrimination against them along several axis. I know who best represents our military traditions.

* "Mavericky" is a registered trademark of John McCain, meaning "principle-less support of whatever position is most politically expedient or ego-enhancing at the present moment." In this case, opposing DADT-repeal both helps him in a primary challenge from far-right ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth, and sticks it to President Obama. So it's a bit of a gimme.


Peter Orlowicz said...

I know who best represents our military traditions.

And what exactly gives you the right to determine who or what best represents those traditions? You've reacted with significant rancor in the past against those who aren't Jewish and yet would seek to define what your community should and shouldn't represent. Why, then, is it okay if you do it? Are we having a "some of my best friends are veterans" moment? This is a pretty strong brand of hypocrisy, if you ask me.

joe said...

David's right, of course, but John McCain is ultimately playing the same game as most of his peers do. He just does it b etter by cornering the brand on "maverick." (Though that's actually less helpful than many believe, as the 2008 election results demonstrate.)


annals of those who support the continued exclusion of gays from the military

I want to say something juvenile here.

David Schraub said...

I'm not sure why you're picking this fight, Peter. Are you actually arguing that the persons who would refuse to serve if it meant standing next to gay and lesbian soldiers are better exemplars of the American military than the people (not just gays) who have served freely and willingly even when their country hasn't viewed them or treated them as equal? I don't think that you believe that, so this is a protest without an underlying harm.

In any event, the military is under civilian control, and the debate the civilian government is, in part, whether we prefer gay servicemembers who choice to serve even for a country that often despises them, or (presumably) straight servicemembers whose loyalty to their ranks is so thin that they'd abandon it if it meant sitting next to teh gay (as Perkins threatened). Hence, it is perfectly appropriate for civilians to issue opinions as to that controversy (there is no analogous reason why the social meaning of Judaism should be in the hands of non-Jews -- unlike the relationship between the military and civilians, Jews are not in a position of service and control vis-a-vis gentiles).