When I was in the 11th grade, my English class read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. For those of you who don’t know, the book details, somewhat nonfictionally, the trials and tribulations of Jurgis, a Slavic immigrant struggling to survive while supporting his family in the meat-packing district of 1900’s Chicago. The book’s grisly descriptions of what constituted hot dogs, while then outdated by the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 that it helped inspire, also had the unintended effect of inspiring 4 of the 16 girls in my class to vegetarianism. At least one of them remains so to this day. As an ardent supporter of the deliciousness of hot dogs, I argued ad nauseum that knowing what was (or rather, what formerly was) in hot dogs made them no less toothsome.
Now, as a former (albeit briefly serving) service member, it seems there is a similar issue at hand – the impending repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Service members at every level of every branch are throwing up their hands in panic, collectively saying, “We’ll gladly stand in the line of fire, but showering with homos scares the bejeezus out of us!”
And now, the top level of the braintrust that is the DoD has apparently released a thirty-two-plus page survey (PDF) asking service members such important questions as, “Have you been assigned to share bath facilities with an open bay shower that is also used by a Service member you believed to be homosexual?” and “If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed, how easy or difficult do you think it will be for leadership to enforce good order and discipline?”
Okay, first things first: the answer to #1 is “yes.” Outright, plain as day, yes. In boot camp, you share a berthing and a shower with 70 people of your same sex – for up to 13 weeks, depending on your branch of choice. Simple math on the estimate that 4% of people are homosexual tells me that I definitely showered with at least one dude who was gay and we all knew and 1.8 others who kept it hidden better.
And you know what? Our morale never suffered because any of us feared getting anally accosted, or catching gayness. We grew together, and matured together, and realized that if it came down to brass tacks, it didn’t matter if 2.8 of us liked to make out with guys, because we’d get the job done. That’s not going to change if DADT is repealed – no person in their right mind is going to try to “surprise” one of his squadmates in the shower in front of a dozen other people, or try and dance the YMCA while they’re trying to return enemy fire.
Now onto the second question, to which the only suitable reply I’ve been able to conjure is something along the lines of “Fuck You,” only meaner. I’m not gay, nor have I ever been. Christ, I couldn’t even look my doctor in the face after she put one finger in my ass. But to think that somehow repealing DADT would incite bedlam in the ranks infuriates me to the point of wanting to reenlist, put “Faggotry” down as my religion, and strip naked just to wag my junk at my base’s Commanding Officer. Are they serious?
All repealing DADT is going to do is make 4% of patriots more comfortable with themselves, and the idea that a nation is behind them (not like that); while having the somewhat more desirable effect of keeping ignorant bigots away from guns and assumed power because they can’t stomach the idea of serving next to an open homosexual.
Because if we’re being honest, those are the kind of people I don’t want in my Army. The ones who’ll shoot any “A-rab” ’cause he’s a “dirty towelhead”, who’ll condescend any black man because he’s a “lazy nigger,” and think that every “queer” is gonna try to “rape his asshole” just because he’s allowed to be gay in the military.
Maybe we shouldn’t repeal DADT at all – just change all references to homosexuals against morons – but we have to do one or the other soon.