Thursday, December 23, 2010

Shame on you, Pat Buchanan.

I always hesitate to read Pat Buchanan's columns, because I know that I'll end up with a eye-twitch from his invective.  On the other hand, I skim them because I want to know what people whose views differ from mine are thinking.  (Sometimes, their points can change my mind; sometimes, they can't.  But I like to keep an open mind.)

But today's column, "The Marines: Sacrificed for San Francisco values," took the cake, and not in a good "I-like-cake" way.  You can read this claptrap here.

First off, Mr. Buchanan, don't use my beloved Marines for your own nefarious purposes.  Sure, there were some Marines who opposed "don't ask, don't tell," and sure, people can disagree about DADT.  Other people, though, think that a person's sexuality has no bearing on his or her ability to serve.  Remember the high-profile change of heart that Colin Powell had about DADT (here)?

Here's the line in your op-ed that drove me nuts:  "Can anyone believe that mixing small-town and rural 18-, 19- and 20-year-old Christian kids, aspiring Marines, in with men sexually attracted to them is not going to cause hellish problems?"  Seriously????

If you really believe that homosexuality is a sin, that's your right.  But, then, be consistent.  Condemn all of the other sins that can occur in the military, too.  What about military personnel having affairs?  If adultery is a sin, where's your outrage about that behavior among opposite-sex military personnel?  And if you're upset about the potential sexual harassment, where's your indignation about opposite-sex harassment--or haven't you been paying attention to those reports over the years?  

To me, many of the arguments that people made about DADT smacked of the same logic that opposed integration in the military:  "It's too much."  "The nation's values disagree."  "Soldiers and Marines shouldn't be distracted by having to share quarters with people of other races."  Integration worked out pretty well, didn't it?

Oh, and don't assume that only the liberals rejoiced when DADT was repealed.  I support a strong military.  I think that this nation would be better off if we had some sort of compulsory service (military or public works) after high school--in part because I believe that we owe our country some payback for the benefits that we get and in part because I think that we're better off when we mix together people who might not normally meet each other.  (And I feel ashamed that I didn't serve.)  I think that the military can provide a wonderful career--and I'm delighted that, now, schools should be able to let the military recruit on campus because the recruiters can sign the anti-discrimination pledge.  

And I worry about the deficit.  I like the free-market (although, to be fair, I don't always trust that it works), and I don't think that "more regulation" is necessarily the best answer to our problems.  I don't think that everyone belongs in college.  I worry about too-high taxes.  So, no, I'm not a knee-jerk liberal.

What I am is a person who loves her same-sex friends, who has worked with gay and lesbian colleagues for her entire life, and who fears that the military was irretrievably weakened by jettisoning talented people because of their sexuality.

Shame on you, Mr. Buchanan, for assuming that homosexuals in the military will be some sort of bad influence on those small-town kids.  Some people in the military will be bad influences, but most won't be.  Blind prejudice, on the other hand, doesn't help our country at all.

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