Now, of course, Bill must have wished for a little Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell back when he idealized out loud: “Is oral sex really sex?” – to which I felt like writing him a letter saying: “Check this out, Willie. If some liquid flies from your body like a rocket heading to lunar terrain and some of it becomes a news story around the world regarding a dress that it has stained and you are feeling no pain, wearing an expression on your face that’s both serene and insane – you have had sex, my man.”
Having experienced more than my share of discrimination, thanks to old Jim Crow, it’s the “less than” aspects of the deal that gnaws at your soul. It’s the everybody else can do it but you can’t and that quickly grows old and remains old.
Like, to us heteros, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is as foreign as advanced Swahili Trigonometry. We ask and tell regularly, instantly, enthusiastically, repeatedly. We can’t wait to ask, “Hey, how was she?” And we love to answer: “Hey, man, I took care of the B-I-Z!” And women are responding to “How was he?” with, “Well, he pretty much went ahead without me.” Back in my marine corps reserve days our sex lives was pretty much all we discussed in the barracks during summer training. But for gay people in the military it’s “Shhh, we don’t want to damage morale. We won’t ask and you sure as hell better not tell.”
But for me, everything in life is about the children and DADT is a homophobic cancer that has metastasized from the Department of Defense, down to them, courtesy of the Boy Scouts of America. The BSA (which is sometimes heavily sponsored by a school’s PTA) has, for a while now, put Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in play with young boys who might be gay, having gone all the way to the Supreme Court for the right to turn them away along with any atheists with whom they might play. And the Boy Scouts are still nestled in “America’s Finest City’s” most precious of parks, enjoying a city lease that costs them about a buck and a handshake while our city charter makes it clear that it can’t do business with organizations that discriminate.
Now it seems that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is slowly and relatively silently being drowned out by the ringing of the death knell. But when it comes to everybody being treated equally I think a strong statement needs to be made by somebody in a high place in behalf of such an ideal. And who should that somebody be? The President of this Land of the Free.
Barack Obama has to step forward and stand tall and condemn our treatment of gays in a tone that can be heard loudly and clearly throughout the halls of Congress and the Senate and the Pentagon and out on the streets and in our living rooms and dens where our television sets are almost always on.
In my narrow way of thinking when it comes to equal rights, the president, if he or she does nothing else, should pursue issues of equality incessantly and daily with the utmost amount of energy – because liberty is the essence of our priceless democracy if I remember Miss Daniels’s 4th grade civic lessons correctly.
Obama needs to adopt a booty kicking attitude and issue a decree, whether he has “the power” to or not, clarifying that in the USA everybody is supposed to be free whether they’re heterosexual or classified as LGB or T. And Q too.
As far as gays in the armed forces are concerned he needs to break it down and keep it real and remind us of the fact that thousands upon thousands of gays and lesbians have put themselves in the proverbial harm’s way, serving in militaries since whenever the first war got under way.
He needs to stress that we are a constitutional democracy bound to let our people live free and no where in the language does it limit a single soul based on his or her sexuality – and the way we’re operating now is a mockery of such an ideal of human decency.
And when it comes to our children I’ll give him the words to say: “Hey, it’s our children, mine and yours, who must carry on when we have passed on and they cannot, down the line, promote strengthened traditions of tolerance and acceptance if we don’t demonstrate how. No one among them today should have to hide in closets because they are gay. Freedom for all is the American Way.”