And did Jon Stewart ever have a field day. Not only did he brilliantly cut through Ms. Donnelly’s pathetic homophobic bullsh*t, but he was able to boil her testimony down to one easy-to-understand line: If we let gays and lesbians serve openly, who will speak for the homophobes:
(Cannot get the video code to embed) Video can be seen here.
But crazy, hateful , homophobic rantings aside, there was something else that was really bothering me about Ms. Donnelly’s testimony and it went beyond the fact that she wants to keep able-bodied, patriotic gays and lesbians from serving their country openly and honestly without fear of dismissal. And it even went beyond her nutty screeds about “gay men sharing a cramped submarine with other soldiers,” and her stupid comments about “inappropriate passive/aggressive actions common in the homosexual community", and her irrational fears about "forcible sodomy," and her idiotic obsessions about "exotic forms of sexual expression," and her fear-mongering tales about “groups of black lesbians who want to gang-assault" fellow soldiers.
But I just could not put my finger on what it was that was bothering me more than the above mentioned craziness. And then I read this post over at Obsidian Wings and he articulated perfectly what I could not:
I imagine that it often happens that soldiers who are part of the same unit do not like one another. Sometimes, a soldier might even despise another member of his or her unit, or think that other soldier immoral or contemptible. And yet, when these feelings do not have to do with sexual orientation, we routinely expect soldiers to put their personal feelings aside and do their jobs. And when they don't, we assume that they, not the people they endanger, should be disciplined.
If, for instance, a soldier is racist, and cannot find a way to work with African-American soldiers, we do not discipline or expel the African-Americans. If a soldier dislikes another and cannot put her feelings aside and do her job, we do not punish the soldier she dislikes; we punish her. In all other cases, we assume that given a choice between two soldiers, one of whom is trying to complete his mission to the best of his ability, and one of whom is unable or unwilling to put his animosity aside and do his job, we choose the first. We expect this of our men and women in uniform, and we also expect that they will be given the training and the leadership they need to act like professionals.
I have never understood why it's different when gay men and lesbians enter the picture.
Bam! He nailed it. That was what was bugging me – that a crazy unhinged woman with no military service or expertise could look straight into the eyes of a retired Marine Staff Sargent named Eric Alva, a gay man who lost a leg to an IED in Iraq, and tell him and Congress, with a straight face no less, that she was worried – NOT ABOUT HIM -- but about her fellow homophobes. What in God’s name is wrong with our country? And why the hell was this woman even given a platform and a microphone to speak. What a slap in the face to all the brave gay and lesbian men and women who have selflessly served our country and defended Ms. Donnelly’s right to be a despicable homophobe.