kind of doubt it…

Posted on Wednesday 22 September 2010

Saxby Chambliss says gay slur originated with his office
Political Insider
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

by Jim Galloway
September 22, 2010

My AJC colleague Bob Keefe in Washington has this: U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ office has determined it was indeed the source of a highly publicized homosexual-bashing slur on an Internet site. But in a statement, Chambliss’ office said it has not discovered exactly who was behind the slur, and has turned the matter over to the Senate Sergeant At Arms.

“The [Sergeant at Arms] has worked side by side with our personnel to determine whether the comment in question emanated from our office. That appears to be the case,” an unsigned statement from Chambliss’ press office read. “There has not been a determination as to who posted the comment,” the statement read. “That part of the review is ongoing, and is now in the hands of the Senate Sergeant at Arms.” Spokeswomen for Chambliss did not return a reporters phone calls or emails seeking more details.

Tuesday, a poster identifying himself as “Jimmy” wrote “All faggots must die” on Joe.My.God., a blog dedicated to gay and lesbian issues – just as Republican Chambliss and other senators were debating a Democratic proposal to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The proposal failed. The posting was traced back to an Internet Protcol address matching Chambliss’ office, but it’s unclear whether it was one of his offices in Georgia or in Washington.
My guess is that either this will go nowhere or come out with my favorite Senator, Saxby Chambliss, saying something righteous about not tolerating blah, blah, blah… But it means something nonetheless. General McChrystal ended his career around having an office with people with a bad attitude. Saxby says of "don’t ask, don’t tell:"
    "In my opinion, the presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would very likely create an unacceptable risk to those high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and effective unit cohesion and effectiveness. I’m opposed to this change, and I look forward to a very spirited debate on this issue…."
Notice the wording, "persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts." That’s Christian Right code that says homosexuality is the conscious choice to commit sinful acts that "would very likely create an unacceptable risk to those high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and effective unit cohesion and effectiveness." By avoiding the noun, he avoids the truth. He might as well say “All faggots must die” or maybe “Play dead.” I wonder if he has even thought about how that makes Gay soldiers feel to live in the closet? I kind of doubt it. After all, he never was a soldier: "During the Vietnam War, Chambliss received student deferments and was also given a medical deferment for bad knees due to a football injury."
  1.  
    Carl
    September 23, 2010 | 12:16 AM
     

    The “spirited debate” part is probably important though I find that even the remotest prospect that I am somehow defending the stance of the cretin Chambliss, (a man who denigrated an ACTUAL soldier, one who sacrificed his ACTUAL limbs so that the pampered and cloistered Saxby could play football in college, reprehensible in the extreme), I am conflicted. I would, as I’m sure Saxby Chambliss would, prefer that there not be kinds of soldiers who needed to have different kinds of considerations provided to them on the basis of a diffused biological determinism. I am conflicted about the whole business and I do not believe that I am alone in this anxiety. On the one hand, I recognize that “gay” people have the same kinds of patriotically driven motives to serve their country and should be accorded every opportunity to do so….further, that they may have nothing at all, by way of active “choice” in the modes that their sexuality must be fulfilled. I accept – there is ample evidence – that a proportion of human populations are “wired” in a way that is different than the major proportion of human populations. That this, may I say a “segment”, of any given human population shall discover a need to express itself in a manner that runs counter to the majority in the matter of sexual expression. For me, it boils down to this…”I don’t really give a sweet damn how you want to get your rocks off Jack – just get your job done and keep me out of your personal life”. This is the conservative in me (and this water runs deep, and clear, and strong). Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is fine with me. Let’s face the biological facts. Sex has a single purpose where the species is concerned – this cannot be refuted by any conceivable argument. That it is pleasurable, is between consenting partners, causes certain disturbances, creates and destroys human relationships, is the highest form of “connection” between any given two human beings and all the rest is utterly meaningless in the big picture. If all the gay people took over tomorrow and were left entirely to their own devices – well let’s just say that the degree to which the gay and the lesbian would come to comfortable terms with propagating the species is absurd on the face of it. That’s not to say that a few hundred years of Gay Rule wouldn’t turn out to be useful catharsis for the species as a whole. Still, in practical terms, while I find the occasional evidence of witch hunt/gestapo tactics in administering of DA/DT highly objectionable, wrong and open to tort, I don’t’ find the underlying sentiment wrong. I really don’t care how gay soldiers feel that they can’t be openly gay. I don’t regard sexual “orientation” as a selection issue in the first place. It is none of my business to know and none of your business to tell me. Honestly, indulge yourself with a bowl of pudding, seek your release in an airport latrine, do any kind of thing you wish to do but keep it to yourself – please. At the end of the day, sexual behavior has played a fairly small, admittedly essential, role in the overall scheme of things but at this stage of the species development game, it ain’t worth doing a lot of fighting over. I don’t think the uniformed services desire the repeal of DA/DT. They fight and die so that we may all go to sleep at night with the comfortable reassurance that “they” are covering our asses. I don’t care that some of these patriots are Queer but why should I (“we” – the “law” of the land) be ready to accord them special status/protection/consideration on the basis of their biology? This is fundamentally different than according rights to persons of color or other race. It is not the same by any stretch. It is at once more complicated, and less complicated. The LGBT coalition have many valid grievances – they should be accorded the basic rights of any other citizen in civil matters, in economic matters – they should not, as a matter of course be discriminated against on account of their sexual orientation. But where can it be demonstrated that they must necessarily be accorded “special” rights and considerations beyond those extended to ordinary citizens. They have contributions to make to be sure but why do their contributions have to be accompanied by unique protections? Back in the day, we served and we kept our mouths shut about our politics, our indulgences, and who it was that we wanted to have in our beds. Those things are no business but our own – the government has not a shred of defensible interest in those domains and should not be obliged to spend a dime in pursuit of intelligence thereof. At the same time, it is the responsibility of the citizen to keep his private matters, well private. Being gay relates to sexual expression which seems to me an entirely private matter. If the Army prefers DA/DT, I don’t think they need say anything more than they prefer it for whatever reasons. Again, your sexuality is NONE of my business, do not MAKE it my business.

  2.  
    September 23, 2010 | 12:30 AM
     

    Mike Almy [more later]…

  3.  
    September 23, 2010 | 6:03 AM
     

    Were the issue ‘special treatment,’ I’d agree with you Carl. I’m not terribly interested in the sexual life of others either. Call me Victorian. But I think that’s something of the point – specialness. Most of us know who is Gay and who isn’t. It’s not that hard. People call it “gay-dar,” and it’s part of the evidence that homosexuality is biologic. However, what DA/DT really turns out to be is an injunction to “not be.” Major Almy is the prototypic example. After his private email was examined, he was involuntarily discharged from the Air Force. He didn’t “tell” anybody anything. And he became special because they found out he was Gay.

    The essential logic behind “don’t ask, don’t tell” eludes me. My Senator, Saxby Chambliss, says, “In my opinion, the presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would very likely create an unacceptable risk to those high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and effective unit cohesion and effectiveness.” If you read that literally, he is saying that “the presence” of Gay soldiers would interfere with “unit cohesion and effectiveness.” That equates with “don’t be,” and that won’t do – because it is not possible. Senator Chambliss’ comment actually highlights the center of the Gay rights movement. He says, “persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts” rather than the noun “homosexuals.” As I mentioned above, that’s code. It says that Homosexuality is a choice – and a wrong choice at that. Homosexuals know that’s not true. They’ve always known it.

    Last week, I saw a 14 year old boy with his mother. He was a good student, but a problem at home. He wouldn’t ‘do his chores.’ He was always fighting with his mother and step-father. By my “gay-dar,” he was Gay. He’d always known that he had “crushes” on boys, but had only recently “sort of” told his mother. As is often the case, she “sort of” knew it too, and had been working like crazy to make it not be true. Once the issue was on the table, she talked about how hard it was going to be for him if he “went that way,” being Gay. He simply said, “I got no choice, Mom. Hard’s all I got.” At school, he’d recently finally responded to the constant teasing by agreeing that he was Gay. He said, “When I said it, they stopped [teasing me].” As he talked about it, you could see his mother begin to relax. She seemed to understand how “don’t ask, don’t tell” had been eating up her son and her home. We got back to the “chore” thing later, but it went nowhere. They seemed to have lost their energy to even fight about it anymore. I felt like I earned my non-pay at my volunteer job that day.

    If the repeal of DA/DT meant having a platoon of flamboyant Gays wearing pink uniforms strutting their stuff, I’d be saying “No” as loudly as the next guy. Then again, if there were a platoon of women marching like Majorettes with Dallas Cowboy cheerleader uniforms, I’d howl just as loudly. Military discipline and comportment is a thing unto itself – a required thing. “… high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and effective unit cohesion and effectiveness” stand on their own merit. It’s not my cup of tea [as you recall]. In fact, better that they have a Major Almy than a Major 1boringoldman. Since it’s neither sex nor sexual preference that makes the soldier, why should one have to pretend in order to be there?

    I take your point about keeping your sex-life to yourself. That kind of banter is off-putting, no matter what the details. And I take your point about “special.” We went through a lot of that after the Civil Rights movement with African-Americans. The same thing with Feminists. I think they were the worst – jumping on anything to allow them to attack male chauvinism whether it was there or not. I don’t hear a lot of that these days. I fully expect there to be post-DA/DT repeal cases where someone who acts up in a perfectly awful way and gets discharged will run around yelling about discrimination. That’s just how these things go. I got sued for millions for firing a black woman who alleged discrimination. I fired her because she came to work as a Psychiatry Resident stoned, intoxicated on Valium, with a loaded pistol in her purse, bragging about being suicidal every day. The court kept the suit alive for years because of the discrimination charge. The sad thing was that I really liked her, and thought that some of her sickness was, indeed, sociological. But, a loaded gun is a loaded gun, and she was just too scarred to treat others.

    I know you, and I know that you would let people just be what they are. I’d bet most soldiers are the same way. Frankly, I don’t think this issue has much to do with the actual situation. Gay people don’t like being seen as “less than” for no reason. They read the part about “all men are created equal” and they know they were “created” Gay. So their part makes sense. With Saxby Chambliss and friends, I think it’s a “polarizer” to hold onto the Christian Right vote – people who think that their kids might be “recruited” into homosexuality. That’s just not how things work, but it brings in the votes…

  4.  
    September 23, 2010 | 8:04 AM
     

    Dear Carl,
    I usually agree with much of what you write on Mickey’s blog, but I disagree on this one. Mickey makes some very good points. I’ll add a few more.

    Your argument about keeping your private life life to yourself would carry more weight with me if you applied the same standards to heterosexuals: no pictures of wives in lockers or on desks, no base housing for married couples, don’t dare live off base with your wife, don’t even send her emails that suggest more than casual friendship, don’t frequent bars where guys pick up women, don’t talk to your best friend about what you did Saturday night, no officers club or NCO club parties that include spouses — or even girl friends or women who hang around bases looking for pickups.

    Why do you conclude that gay people being themselves openly is the problem rather than straight people with attitudes such as you describe being the problem? Is the problem of unit cohesion one of homosexuality or homophobia? Where is the evidence that gays undermine unit morale, and how did they distinguish whether the problem was their presence or the rejecting attitude toward them being themselves?

    There is also evidence that this attitude is generational — younger service men and women are far more accepting that older ones. If you want an evidence-based discussion written by a professor of history who has made this issue his main research focus, I suggest Nathaniel Frank’s “Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America,” St. Martin’s Press, 2009. Also I believe the Rand Corporation released a study that had many similar conclusions, but I don’t have that reference.

    Further, there is the evidence that many other countries, including Israel, allow gays to serve openly without significant problems.

    Ralph

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