13 people, including veterans, were arrested this week after handcuffing themselves to the White House fence to protest the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on homosexuals. President Obama has pledged to push lawmakers to repeal the law in the lame-duck session before a new Congress is sworn in.
Most troops don't mind serving with openly gay peers. At this point in history/evolution, the military has got to be ready to repeal "don't ask don't tell." Still, 40 percent of Marines strongly oppose the repeal.
The Marine Corps is a component of the United States Department of the Navy; the two units often work closely together for training, transportation, and logistic purposes. The Navy, of all military branches, should strongly be in favor of repealing don't ask don't tell; this branch involves being stuck on a boat with a bunch of guys in sailor suits.
That's very campy.
If someone wants to lay their life on the line for their country, why not let them. What is the FOX News brigade and conservative America afraid is going to happen?
So a while back, I went to a Navy recruiting office outside of San Francisco to find out and posed as a flamboyant man interested in joining their crew.
To The Navy Recruitment Office
I'm wearing a large floral shirt. This compliments my yachting cap. I enter the Navy recruitment office. Everyone is dressed like a sailor. No one sees the irony.
I wait for my recruiting officer; a very tiny woman who goes by the name Linda. I go by the name Newman Shuman. We sit at Linda's desk. There's a picture of Linda singing in a Navy talent show.
"Newman what're your goals?" she asks as part of the recruitment process.
"I want to go to college!"
"And Newman what do you want to study?"
Leaning back in my chair, I ponder this and speak slowly.
"Modern Interpretive Dance."
I'm still nodding, picturing this in my head. The tiny recruiter presses on.
"Newman, what are your goals after completing your Interpretive Dance degree?"
My head's still nodding. Again, I speak slowly: "I want a new car. (Pause.) A Miata."
"Newman have you ever used drugs?"
"Oh Yes!" I say enthusiastically.
"What kind of drugs?"
"Oh...everything!" I pause. "Especially Amyl Nitrate!"
I make this point clear by waving my finger.
"Did you use meth, marijuana, mushrooms..."
I sit up in my chair. My eyes widen.
"Oh yes, everything!"
Linda requests some elaboration.
"But I quit doing drugs a long time ago."
"Oh, that's good."
"Yeah, it's been at least two months."
I'm now shown a Navy recruiting video. I watch it with grave seriousness. I even rest my hands on my chin and squint my eyes. It shows a bunch of Navy guys running around a boat playing with cool stuff like radar.When it finishes, Linda questions me further.
"So how does the Navy sound to you?"
Remembering the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, I slowly rub my chest.
"I think I'd like to join so I can work with all those men -- I mean sailors. On that big boat!"
My eyes widen.
"Yes, it's a team effort. And once you're in port, you'll have to work one day out of four."
"Can you be stationed on a submarine?" I ask.
"Yes. Is that something you're thinking about?"
"I think it would be really great to be in a submarine, below the ocean, with all those men -- I mean sailors."
I leave the Navy office with a dreamy look on my face.
Is this what FOX News and the military veterans who handcuffed themselves to the White House fence fear will happen if we allow homosexuals in the military? If competent and qualified people want to proudly serve their country why not let them?
As Bill Maher joked, "If 6 million men and 17 million women who tried to join the military last year were turned down for being too fat, it's time to let in the gays. Yes, they are immoral and they're going to hell, but at least they go to the gym."
Read Harmon Leon's book, The American Dream.