Never in a million year did I imagine myself agreeing with former Vice President Dick Cheney, but I confess dear Civilian, I recently found myself taking my first step into the Dark Side by agreeing with Cheney that the military should repeal its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. However, truth be told, which is not an option for gays currently serving in the military, it was Cheney who agreed with me — since I opposed this half-baked (but not exhaled) policy the moment President Bill Clinton bent over on his campaign promises in 1993 and let the homophobic Congress have their way with him. (I know: bad pun; but in my defense, I am not writing about the unwritten “Don’t Ask, Don’t Pun” policy.)
Now I entrust that you, dear Civilian, will not tell anyone about my dirty little secret, for public knowledge of my foray into the Dark Side will not only disrupt the unique conditions of my civilian service to humanity but will undermine the unit cohesion of my community, which includes but is not limited to my fiancé, three impressionable sons, extended progressive political family, fellow Cold War veterans, substitute mail carrier, the neighbor’s dog Pookie and my spiritual and economic adviser Therapist Bob. Most of these folks are still reeling from the psychological ripple effects from the day I jumped out of the closet and scared the crap out of them by outing myself by finally coming to terms with my repressed heterosexuality. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Since I served in the Army during the rear-end of the Cold War (yeah, yeah, sue me…the courts always side on behalf of bad puns) during the latter part of the ‘80s, before DADT kicked in and the wall in Berlin fell, I’m not sure what it’s like to serve under this policy now — especially while the current metaphorical war, “The War on Terror,” is being waged. You know, the kind of war where people actually get killed, rather than the metaphorical death by boredom while sitting around waiting, waiting for something – anything to happen.
Flash forward to today. One of the most commonly used arguments used by opponents against the repeal of DADT, including Republican Sen. John “What Happens in A Vietnamese War Prison, Stays in a Vietnamese War Prison” McCain of Arizona, is that it will disrupt unit cohesion and effectiveness. This, by the way, is one of the underlying arguments as to why the policy was originally implemented. Based on my firsthand experiences in the Army, if the military was genuinely interested in using a policy to keep unit cohesion intact, they would have expanded the DADT policy to include racists, bigots, xenophobes, homophobes, libertarians, Christians, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Catholics, atheists, fundamentalists, bestiality aficionados, Pastafarians and your run-of-the-mill assholes who don’t think their shit stinks.
Once the military has silenced everyone whose ideologies and/or lifestyles pose a threat to anyone elses’ comfort zone, thus threatening unit cohesion, our country would be left with an army of mimes to defend our freedoms. And the last thing we need is an army of mimes plopped into a theater of war, where, using their white-gloved hands, they’re left to defend Democracy by boxing themselves inside miniature fortresses fortified with invisible walls. Besides, if the disproportion of hate targeted at mimes in America is universal, sending mimes into battle will only fuel the hate of our enemies, who no doubt will have no reservations shooting a mime.
(For the record: let it be known that I do not condone any form of violence perpetuated on the mime community.)
Moreover, the last people we need making life-and-death decisions about what does and what does not define a cohesive unit is Congress, most of whom have never served in the military. The current deluge of bipartisanship that has flooded the Hill in D.C. has carved out a gulf so wide that the entire 8th Infantry Division, Mechanized (You heard me right, dear Civilian, I said Mechanized!) could plow down the center aisle of either chamber during a pivotal debate and nobody would even notice, their childish shouts drowning out the division’s slow, methodical advance:
Democrats: We got the majority, yes we do. We got the majority, how ‘bout you!?
Republicans: We got filibusters, yes we do. We got filibusters, watcha gonna do?
Democrats: (like an army of mimes, remain painfully silent — their painted frowns looking pathetic)
Fearing the Republicans will push the bipartisanship to the brink of going nuclear, the Democrats will inevitably concede and return to the dark recesses of the chamber closet, where they look for their teddy bears or a secret door to Narnia.
Instead of deploying an army of gay soldiers or mimes to the war front, maybe we should conscript our Do-Nothing Congress and ship them off to the front lines. However, I confess dear Civilian, the thought of dropping Congress on to the front lines of “The War on Terror” stokes more terror within the fiber of my being than the manufactured Terror that lurks in the shadows behind the Military Industrial Complex’s bloated budget.
But who am I to talk, I’m just a closeted mime. Please don’t tell anyone, dear Civilian. You know I won’t.