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NOTE: This is the latest post to Superbusnet. You forgot I had a site, didn't 'ya? Well... so did I. :( But I'm mostly happy with this one, and it should get a reaction from the majority of my friends' list.

EDIT: Livejournal, are you fucking serious? You won't let me put a fucking image in my piece? It's basic HTML, and it's worked for at least six years. Oh, but you continue to give me retarded fucking virtual gifts that I can buy for my friends. "Here, I love you, have a stupid, useless virtual trinket with no appreciable value!" This is why I virtually abandoned your service until I realized I liked feedback. And where's my fucking search engine!?

EDIT2: This is a joke. I've simplified my image tag as much as I possibly can, and LJ's still eating it. What a fucking piece of shit. It's an IMAGE TAG. It's not like [img] has been depreciated by the virtually useless W3. It doesn't get simpler than that. Livejournal is actively breaking their Goddamned software, but keep bothering me about shit I don't care about. Fuck you, Livejournal. Oh well, pretend there's a picture of Lt. Dan Choi on the next paragraph. Or even better, just go to my site and read the article on software that doesn't suck a dick.

The vast majority of my friends are very much in favour of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transexual (GLBT) rights, just as much as I am. One of them is even heavily involved in her college's GLBT community, despite the fact that she's as straight as an arrow. I'm with them, but they have always looked at me quizzically over the years when I've explained to them that I could not support the elimination of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT). For those who live under a rock, the policy states that gay and lesbian people can serve in the military can cannot be asked about their orientation, but they also cannot tell anyone of their orientation. Ever. If they do, they're discharged.

The way I looked at DADT in the past was the same way I still look at women serving on the front lines of combat (another view I get a lot of pushback on). Simply put, the military is not the place to pursue social changes. The pursuit of social change and acceptance is perfectly acceptable - even laudible - in the civilian world, but in the military world, only two words matter: combat readiness. Simply put, the goal of the military is to protect America through lethal force. We've sanitized how "lethal force" is seen through euphemisms through the years, but put simply, we - by we, I mean current and active duty servicepeople alike - are hired killers. We have to be able to kill our enemy at a moment's notice, on order, without being killed. This requires a mindset that, frankly, civilians don't understand unless they go through it. Using my experience in the service, it was amazing how equal parts disciplined and undisciplined my fellow servicemen could be, myself included. We could get a job done, well, with little notice, and with a competence that most private sector workers would blush at, but then we would have raucous, vicious fistfights afterwards. Granted, these fistfights were usually over in one minute and forgiven in two, but emotions run high under the pressures that we as servicemen are put under. It's also important to consider that while my particular unit was a tight-knit group, if we had an outlier, we had a hive-mind mentality towards that person, and made sure to remove that person by any means necessary. We ran out a supervisor because he didn't jive with how we did business. We beat up and ostracised someone who stole from his fellow shipmates. I've personally administered - and received - beatings that would get me thrown in jail in the civilian world, and no one outside our group knew about it. Call it barbaric if you want, but it's how we did things, and despite the changes in the military over the years - even when I was in ten years ago, the old-timers were decrying the "New" Navy - I don't think things have radically changed since I got out in 2004.

I dread to think of how we would have treated an openly homosexual member. I can easily see my workcentre being divided into three camps: one camp who wanted to get the fag out by any means necessary, another group that was OK with the gay person and wanted to help them, and a third group that didn't give a shit but wanted peace and - most importantly - combat readiness. The former group would have been the majority, and the latter group is usually those in charge at whatever level. I can tell you exactly how it would have happened: the first group would have made life a living hell for those in the second group, while the third group - the supervisors - would have done anything to get the troublemaker - the outlier, the "fag" - out of their hair to restore order. The person would have been ostracized, it would have been a massive distraction, and the people in charge would have gotten that person out of Dodge as quickly as possible, more for their own sake than for the sake of the safety of the person in question. To tell the truth, I don't know if I would have been in the second group or the third. I had no issues with going against the grain - one look at my discipline record indicates that - but I also fought for the sanctity of our environment tooth and nail. It's very possible that 23 year old me would have looked at a gay person that was causing such an uproar and said "sorry, buddy, but you gotta go". It would have been morally wrong, and I'd probably regret it, the way I regret a lot of things I did and said in my early 20s, but it would have been the right decision from the standpoint of a group of people that were effectively training for and fighting in a war from the moment we were sent to defend New York City on September 11th of 2001.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell is dead now. On December 18th, the US Senate used the lame duck session - about the only time these people can get something done, apparently - to vote on repeal. It's considered miraculous that eight senators "broke" from the GOP to actually take into account a Pentagon study that indicated that there would be minimal problems with eradicating the policy. Imagine that, Senators listening to a study instead of putting forth fear, uncertainty and doubt. But with the policy dead, I can't help but celebrate, despite my earlier stance. Even when I advocated my positions, I usually prefaced them with "I hope I'm wrong on this". Judging by numbers that indicate a large percentage of the military - even the Marines - would be OK with serving with a homosexual person, I seem to have been wrong. If people that are actively serving and fighting two wars have no problems with serving with other gay people, what right do I, someone that's been out for seven years, have to do anything but agree with them?

There is still work to do. Senator John McCain, showing a cowardice and lack of moral conviction I find surprising coming from a person with his history, bashed the bill being a concoction of liberal elites wanting to push their agenda on the military at all costs. I'm sure he had fun writing that from one of his many million dollar homes, but he exposed something about all of this: a lot of the opposition to Don't Ask, Don't Tell has been from people either too stupid to change or too afraid to. All Senator McCain - a man who was in favour of repealing DADT in the past - is doing is catering to them because that direction is where his conservative voter base is heading. You don't be a senator for over twenty years without changing with the people that put you into office, and the people who put him into office - and are opposed to not only keeping DADT, but who are going to the polls to ensure that gays can't marry, can't adopt, and have generally been making the lives of GLBT people in America hard based on spurious claims that it threatens the sanctity of marriage (a claim that they themselves have made laughable). It all sounds so much like another time in our history.

However, the good news in all of this is that it seems America is changing for the better. I thought it unthinkable ten years ago that the military would accept gays into the military willingly. And even though Americans still largely reject equal rights for homosexuals based on religious lobbying - itself hypocritical considering religious organizations aren't taxed in America - numbers show those feelings are softening with the passage of time. We're not out of the woods yet, but we can see light.

I was wrong. Thank God. And good on the thousands of people - both civilian and military - that pushed for a change that had to happen.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 20th, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC)
(Hmph, LJ is acting like Borders today.)

I am pleased that this change has occurred, but time will tell whether or not it can be successfully implemented. If gay people can openly fight and die for their country now, perhaps a time will come when they can marry? One can hope!
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 20th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)
Wordpress does support privacy settings, but they're a bit more restrictive without plugins (for example, you can lock down entries to people who are signed up for the site, but it will take a bit of work to lock it down to people who you want to read the entry. You'd have to use user ranks, and that can get messy).

But here's the problem, especially for me: people would have to sign up for the site. Not only that, they would have to actively follow it. I can't even get people to load my RSS, either of my site or of my Twitter feed (and I'm a high-volume Tweeter), you think they're going to go over, follow another website, and actively read it or give feedback? People don't even read my DHGF stuff, and that's professional quality work! They only really have something to say about it when I actively post it here.

It's just not convenient enough for most of my LJ friends to follow me at my own site, which is basically a closed off social network in itself.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 21st, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)
... oddly enough, I think I have some DJ invites I can dust off ...
Dec. 20th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
Livejournal, are you fucking serious? You won't let me put a fucking image in my piece?

I have posted an image in my latest LJ entry solely to mock you.
Dec. 20th, 2010 05:48 pm (UTC)
Standard image tag, right? I've been using image tags for seven years now, Dale. Oftentimes, professionally! I can post a fucking image tag.
Dec. 20th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)
That doesn't mean you're doing it right. :P Or furthermore, that the image tag alone is the problem. If you gummed up the HTML somewhere else, LJ may choke on the image tag because of it.

Likely you typoed markup somewhere, in or without the image tag, and didn't catch it. That wouldn't be LJ's fault.
Dec. 20th, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC)
Dale, the HTML isn't rocket science. I do a margin: 5px for every image I do, ever, mainly because both DHGF and my site run Wordpress (Blogger was a whole different story, but Blogger sucks). Even cutting out the extra stuff (I had a pixel margin, aligned it to the right, had the image as a hotlink and a title tip), it choked on it. I know how to do a damn image tag.

Hell, I still have it in my clipboard, and can copy it if LJ supports an area for putting in code (like the [code] function on web boards that support BB Code)
Dec. 20th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC)
How were you setting up the margins and alignment?

Hell, I still have it in my clipboard, and can copy it if LJ supports an area for putting in code (like the [code] function on web boards that support BB Code)

You could just stuff it in a text file somewhere.
Dec. 23rd, 2010 03:33 am (UTC)
Dec. 20th, 2010 06:07 pm (UTC)
Yeah, ngl, the stupidest argument ever against gay marriage is that it will "devalue the institution." Really? Aren't we straight people doing that well enough already? Celebrity weekend marriages? "Marrying for the money"?

But I too am glad it's been repealed, and the RT that you did on Twitter about its threat to DOMA? I hope to god that happens and that atrocious act is repealed.
Dec. 20th, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC)
I remember when I used to have an opinion about these things.
Now I'm just glad that a thorough study was actually observed and taken into consideration.
Dec. 23rd, 2010 03:32 am (UTC)
Make that two of your LJ Friends that are heavily involved in their College's LGBT community. I honestly considered running for an Exec Board position, but decided I didn't have enough time this year. Maybe next.

Within the last ten years many people have become very accepting of the LGBT community. There are still a large amount of people who aren't accepting, but things have been getting better. It helps that newer generations are growing up with this acceptance. I'm glad this is happening, and I hope things continue moving in this direction.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


Mr. Met
Superbus the BRAVE!!!

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