The Daily Show: Queer and present danger

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Let's talk about "don't ask, don't tell." The legislation was enacted in 1993 to allow gay people to serve in the military as long as they told their colleagues that the picture of the ripped, topless and jean-shorted fireman in their footlocker was actually Cousin Rico.

It's the type of typical civil rights legislation that precedes the more historic, "All right, you can have your civil rights act!"

The House of Representatives has already voted to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," but what about the Senate?

Last week, its Armed Services Committee called Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen to discuss a 10-month study of the issue conducted by the Pentagon.

The study seemed to suggest that individuals with strong enough stuff to volunteer to spend months at a time in a desert hellscape being shot at by Pashtun-speaking hill people don't seem to be overly concerned if their brothers in arms like to hold brothers in their arms.

You can often assess the mood of the Senate chamber by its members' opening remarks. Let's try one from flavorless Democrat Evan Bayh, D-Indiana.

"In all likelihood there were gay Americans serving at Valley Forge; there were gay Americans at Gettysburg," Bayh said.

That was Bayh expressing surprise that, despite reproductive disadvantages, gay people have been around for hundreds of years. Let's hear something from Bayh-flavored Republican Susan Collins, R-Maine.

"I was struck by an observation from a special ops operator who said 'We have a gay guy in the unit. He's big and he's mean and he kills lots of bad guys, and no one cared that he was gay,'" Collins said.

That is the worst audition for a job as a DJ at Bazookas, the army's clandestine all-male go-go joint, I've ever heard.

L adies and gentlemen, he's big. He's mean. H e kills lots of bad guys! Give it up for S ergeant Schlonger!

So far the reasons for repeal are on the practical side - they've already been in the army, and gay men and woman can be just as big and violent as straights. They are a gym-going people, you know.

But there was really only one senator who mattered at those hearings - John McCain, a man who in 2006 said he would revisit his views on "don't ask, don't tell" if and when military leadership said it was time.

When they said it was time, he said he needed to see a study. Now that the study has been done, it should be interesting.

"I am troubled by the fact that this report only represents the input of 28 percent of the force that received the questionnaire that's only 6 percent of the force at large," McCain said.

So you're really going down with the ship, huh? McCain is like one of those Japanese soldiers living on Okinawa in 1949 - still fighting because he doesn't realize the war ended a long time ago. And even though he's been alone on this island for years and years, he doesn't like gay people.

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