Being neither Christian nor particularly conservative, I’ve never had any problems with homosexuals, so I may not be the most qualified person to opine on the subject of gays and lesbians serving in the U.S. military. Nevertheless, opine I will, as this issue has become too important for a lazy, ill-informed spewer of opinions such as myself not to offer his two cents’ worth.
I think the words that best sum up my feelings about other people’s sexual orientation would have to be “Who cares?” I’ve always considered one’s romantic preferences, much like one’s religion or political leanings, to be a personal matter and not something that needs to be discussed publicly. Thus, I think “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is a pretty good policy for everyone, and I’ve never understood why it needed to be the “official” policy of our military.
The way I see it, if someone wants to serve their country, we should welcome them with open arms instead of asking if they’re gay and banning them if they say yes. Furthermore, if they’re so openly gay that a question would be redundant, who cares? Does that somehow affect their ability to take orders or fire a weapon? Methinks not. Plus, it would probably brighten up the barracks a little to have them decorated by someone who cares about that sort of thing.
Fortunately, it seems most people in the military agree with me, based on a recent Pentagon study. More than 115,000 U.S. military troops and 44,000 military spouses responded to a survey on the matter, and a whopping 70 percent said that having an openly gay or lesbian service member in their unit would have “positive, mixed or non-existent” effects on the unit’s ability to “get the job done.” Furthermore, 69 percent of respondents believed they’d already served with a gay or lesbian colleague.
Clearly, though, someone must be taking exception to gays serving in the military, as Republicans have been fighting tooth and nail to keep the ban in place. So who, exactly, cares so much about this issue if the overwhelming majority of soldiers don’t? I’ll tell you who: closeted homosexuals.
Seriously, if you’re so worried that someone in your platoon might be staring at your junk in the shower or sneaking into your cot during the night that you want to ban them from serving, it’s because you’re gay and you refuse to admit it. It also means you’re pretty damn full of yourself to think a gay dude would be interested in you in the first place.
But I don’t mean to totally discount the sensibilities of those who want to keep the ban in place. Their feelings are as valid as anyone else’s. So, in order to stop military homosexuality from becoming a larger issue, I propose that we keep thermometers out of the hands of our active troops.
Now, those of you who know my typical level of maturity probably assume that at this point in the column I’m about to make some kind of joke about rectal temperature-taking and the perils that practice presents. I will resist the urge, but I do want to point out the threat posed by mercury, which, as many of you know, is found in thermometers.
A recent study conducted by scientists in Florida and Sri Lanka into declining ibis populations found that mercury in the diets of male ibises had the result of “turning them homosexual.” The more mercury the birds received, the more likely they were to pair with another male bird, go on shopping sprees and use words like “fabulous.”
The fact that the ibises turned homosexual only after ingesting the mercury and not just by being exposed to it might seem to make a thermometer ban superfluous, given that very few people actually eat thermometers, but I don’t think we should put our troops at potential risk by taking that chance.
One might also be tempted to jump to the conclusion that sneaking mercury into the water and food supplies of foreign terrorists would be a good way to undermine their morale and make them less likely to fight. This, however, would be a pointless exercise, as all terrorists, whose objectives always seem to include oppressing women and keeping them hidden from view, are quite obviously already homosexual to begin with.
The difference with terrorists is that they have no problem accepting gay enlistees as long as they’re OK with the idea of blowing themselves up.