Don’t Ask, Don’t Wonder
Fringe remarks: Ribald and disrespectful, there’s nothing here for decent folk
These remarks represent only the view of the Fringe editor, and not the rest of the God fearing, clean living people associated with the Prospect. The Prospect denies the desire to be sued by anyone.
You must be at least this tall to read this article: 5 feet.
A bill to repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell” has passed, and only awaits Obama’s signature. Readers might remember that “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell” is a cutesy name for pretending gay people don’t exist in the military. It was passed as law in 1994.
TITLE 10 > Subtitle A > PART II > CHAPTER 37 > § 654
(14) The armed forces must maintain personnel policies that exclude persons whose presence in the armed forces would create an unacceptable risk to the armed forces’ high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.
Rainbow flag of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgendered or the Differently Hornied
Apparently the first U.S. soldier to be literally drummed out of the corps for shaking the wrong hand of another soldier was Lt. Frederick Gotthold Enslin, who “served under” George Washington. Fred “Gotthold” Enslin apparently attempted sodomy with “John Monhort a soldier". He “attempted sodomy”? One has to wonder what difficulties might have arisen, or not arisen, to result in “attempted” sodomy. Is it more difficult than one imagines? Isn’t it fairly “straight forward” to accomplish? Was Monhort ticklish?
Enslin was only a Lt., maybe the boys were just inexperienced.
In the interest of full coverage, we’ll remind our readers that sodomy is also possible with a female partner or any number of mammal and bird and, who knows, maybe even fish species. Birds and fish have just the one “vent”, so “sodomy” might not be the appropriate word here; your Fringe Editor has never batted for that particular team. At some point, no doubt, the law becomes very complicated (we might ask County Council Jim Curtis about it some day, though this might be a legal specialty).
In addition, we are told gay men also find other ways to “get the job done”. As inventive and creative as humans are, and as central to the self as sex and sexuality are, it is probably impossible to imagine all the ways people have found to be intimate and sensual. Most readers would probably prefer we not try to imagine.
In any case, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, a novel way of saying “mind your own business and try to pass for straight” was a modest success, but this soldier has to report that openly gay people have been serving in the military for some time.
Here’s my tale: as a young draftee I was sent, God knows why, to a high security installation in Deutchland. I worked with a number of interesting people there, but I had one good friend, who I’ll call “Dan” (NHRN), who was more interesting than all the others.
Dan wasn’t “gay” because most straight people weren’t using the term back then, he was a queer. Dan wasn’t just queer, either, he was a freaking queen. How gay was he? He was so gay even his mother knew. I do not exaggerate here: he sang Streisand beautifully; cried every time anyone brought up “Love Story”, and wore a purple middie once when we went shopping at the main BX. He wasn’t just “openly” gay, he was joyously, flamboyantly gay. He was also intelligent, well read, honest, hard working and had a great sense of humor. He never hit on me once, and it never occurred to me that he would. Being older, now, I feel a little rejected by that.
I never saw his “u-no” but I’ll bet it was spotless. Sometimes he’d put a towel down before he’d sit on my sofa.
By no means was he the only gay person I knew in the military; I met Dan through a roommate who was gay. I also had a friend who was a lesbian, but then as now lesbians generally don’t care for me as a friend. Again, the rejection is mild, but noticeable.
I suppose the point is that no one was “demoralized” because Dan loved to lie around in long diaphanous robes, and the skinny perfumed cigarettes he smoked didn’t encourage disorder. He was far more pleasant to serve with than the loutish heterosexuals who loved to talk about their “Gook bitches” back in Vietnam (I’ve since come to realize that war and a conquered people abroad are necessary for some guys to get laid.)
I would never have hesitated to trust my back to Dan, and then as now, I simply can’t have too many friends who are interesting and intelligent. I don’t have sex with most people I know, by common consent. Of all the couples I know, I only imagine a few of them having sex (you’ve been sent your disposable cameras, so you know who you are).
In short, in the military, and in every day life, it simply doesn’t, and shouldn’t, matter at whom someone else pitches their woo. The same rules of courtesy exist for everyone: their lives are their own, their physical persons are sovereign. We get the most out of our friendships, and out of life, when we enjoy people as they are.
There are a lot of people who will celebrate when Obama signs this bill. Personally, I’m a little depressed that it has taken so long for this to happen. It has always been shameful to allow the prudish prying of some to hamper the rights of others to simply live their lives as they see fit. Anyone who volunteers to serve in America’s standing army is a dope, regardless who they bed, but if that is their choice, how is that anyone’s business? Let’s at least pay them well, respect them for their desire to serve, and let them enjoy the liberties they are fighting to preserve (or whatever it is we’re going for in the Middle East.)
Obama praised the senate for passing the bill, and promised as part of his campaign to end this kind of discrimination in the military.
It certainly is true that the Founding Fathers didn’t intend for just everyone to have personal sovereignty, but sometimes, like a child, an idea out grows its Founding Fathers, and in the concept of “liberty” as residing in the person at birth is too important not to expand on in our nation.
I’m sure that, if he’d thought about it, Jefferson would have said something like:
“But it does me no injury for my neighbor to fancy who he pleases, or if he pleases himself. It neither looks for my keys nor pulls my leg.”
Epilogue: regarding those disposable cameras, only a few have been sent back. Those who sent back pictures of pets or endless photos of hands flipping the bird, you’re going to get a second camera with clearer instructions.
Have a nice day!
Jefferson: But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg