Sunday, February 21, 2010

Syndicated columnists Leonard Pitts and Kathleen Parker view minorities in the military: a generic issue

It is interesting to read articles by two columnists about black Americans in the military—in light of President Truman's integrating the military in 1948—and having homosexuals serve openly, ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Kathleen Parker does a good job of putting the issue of homosexuals serving openly in perspective when she says that it should only be discussed as an issue of military effectiveness. But, then I direct her to read Leonard Pitts’ thoughts on how it was for black Americans to serve in the military, drafted, when they were still denied their civil/equal rights. It may not be a civil rights issue, as the military is different from the general society, but it sure makes a difference, even when the military is now all voluntary, to have a segment of society denied the right to serve their country on the basis of a private matter.

The question is why homosexual military personnel, as was true of black personnel, should be treated differently, why someone should be refused the right to serve when their abilities are needed, as was true of the personnel who could speak Arabic. While the reason for kicking someone out because of an act is understandable, why do heterosexuals NOT get kicked out for a sex act that homosexuals are?

The record shows that some people who actually have had homosexual acts are not kicked out, and assumed to be still heterosexual, homosexuals have been kicked out even though there was no act. Yet there is actually no scientific way of deciding who is or is not homosexual. The act does not make someone homosexual, and someone can be homosexual without the act. As Dr. Evelyn Hooker found in research, and was used in court in the 1960s during the Vietnam war when the military tried to force young men to serve when they had said they were homosexual, it was silly for the army to actually ask a man to perform a sex act to prove he was homosexual. In fact heterosexual men said they would do so, and yet they were not homosexual and evaded the draft.

Since no one denies that homosexuals have served and are serving in the military, the issue is not a problem of military effectiveness. And as Pitts points out, it is truly an issue of human rights when during WWII black soldiers guards were refused service in restaurants while German enemies were served with white military guards. And there were questions about the ablity of black men to serve on an equal basis with white men and if they were brave enough. Not to mention the issue of Japanese Americans serving despite their familiies being put in concentration camps. Parker has to deal with this sociological issue and so does the military and Congress.

And it is a proven fact that when Truman integrated the military in 1948, the majority of citizens oppose his action. Just as they opposed interracal marriage in the 1960s when the U S Supreme Court finally gave all Americans the right to choose their marital partner-except homosexuals. And it is irrelevant how many people oppose homosexuals in the military. When our nation is at war and needs personnel who are willing to protect us, it is nonsense to ask if there is an issue of “military effectiveness.” As has been said often, including by another Barry, Goldwater, the question is only if homosexuals can fire a gun or do a job as well as heterosexuals, as it was a question in 1948 of whether black men could serve as well as white men. And later, how women can best serve in the military. Now is the time to act, there is no need for “research,” as it has been done since the nation's founding.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Youths and sex, trans exclusion at wedding and bisexual confusion/articles in newspaper on homosexual issues

While many people don't read newspapers and rely on news from tv and blogs, etc, they are missing "news" and views that are relevant. It is not new, but in recent advise columns of a local newspaper (The (Shreveport) Times) there were question of trans and bi interest. In one the person wonders how to handle the wedding of a child when they are not inviting her (I think it was mtf) to the wedding, but she is paying for a share of it. Actually everyone knows of her sexuality, and have been friendly, so it is strange.

In another a bisexual man is trying to understand why everyone keeps trying to make him make a choice.

(The answer in the first is go with your feeling, as it is their wedding and you may not want to press the issue but can talk about it later and explain that the exclusion hurt her. In the second column the answer, obviously, is, you don't have to explain your sexual orientation nor do you need to defend yourself. It is an issue that is diffcult for many to understand, so just live your life and they will figure it out.)

An even more difficult issue for people to deal with, especially parents, is how age can victimize the young. In a column by Froma Harrop, the issue of young people having sex is covered in ways most people don't think about-since most people worry about children being molested, and intergenerational sex. But she points out that even a young man who had never had sex before, if he is, say, 20, can be arrested for having sex with a girl who has had many sex acts but is only 17. And many laws, even not about sexuality, punish young people, such as new laws on texting while driving etc that seem to only aim at young people. And many laws punish young people more than adults. (Older people often have just as many car wrecks as teenagers, for instance.) And the issue of liquor is hard to deal with since we send young people at 18 off to die in a war, yet deny them the right to drink. so the age for allowing sex should be based on common sense, not religious dogma s.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A visit to the hospital leads to such publications as The John Birch Society's, The New American (12-7-09)

I have not heard of or thought of the John Birch Society in years. So it will not be a surprise that, like some off-beat religious publications that devotees place (secretly sometimes) in libraries, and physicians' offices, it was a back issue of The New American that I glanced at when waiting for the doctor.

I wonder how many other people, wasting time, if not hurting too much, glance at such publictions? But I want to mention why I think the issue was interesting and may be important, not to rightwingers but to leftwingers and the vast majority of Americans who are neither.

I found the article, the cover story, on Newt Gingrich strange, coming from "conservatives," as the article itself says. It points out that, shock, a politician does the opposite of what he or she claims when running for office. (Having just watched several hours on the History Channel, on Presidents' Day, of our early presidents, the same was true of them, with the best of reasons and often we are better off that they did NOT do what they intended.) But the list of his wrongs should be useful to those who for other reasons oppose him. And in a sense the Republican Party is equally to blame as it was they who also spent money "like Democrats" (even while Newt was in control).

Of interest also was an article by an unidentified writer -most other writers were identified-on "Obama's 'Safe Schools Czar." That being of course the current "devil' for the rightwing to use to attack Obama, as if there were not enough good reasons, Kevin Jennings of GLSEN connection Once again it is our community/movement's mention of young people that scares the nuts/bigots. Or does it, or is it merely the one thing they think they can use to scare the ignorant voters with-as if Catholic priests and Protestant preachers having extra or no marital sex isn't the right issue to talk about.

William F. Jasper seems to know an awful lot about our movewment and history. Of course most homosexuals/lgbt people don't even know of Harry Hay, or NAMBLA, much less ONE and the DOB. It is interesting that bigots know Harry, et al were communists, but never mention the real work Harry did, founding Mattachine, etc, from which came ONE and HIC. And like they will not 'get" the humor of Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, they will not get the real point about Harry, Dale (Jennings), et al, who were kicked out of the Communist Party which thus lost their talent, and this led them to found the most successful civil rights movement after those of black Americans and women. The stupid communists might have been more successful if they could recognize true talent and the truth. (As I understand it, early Christians tried it and knew that it didn't work.)

But the bigots sure find the person or organization to use to make homosexuals seem only to want to have "their children." As if we don't know that "their children" are often, about 10% like all of society, already homosexual and don't need "recruiting." And PFLAG, which bigots don't seem to want to acknowledge, is proof that this issue will no longer be of value, as parents now want to protect their children from such bullies, especially the adults who use the Bible or Koran to preach hatred, as they did promoting slavery. And COLAGE is the children of glbt parents who also no longer will believe the lies, as they know and love their parents in the same way all children do.

Jennings, like most humans, has been a little too rambuctious and made statements in the fervor of the moment, but I like his heart and mind more than those of the bigots who fear him. He should know that it is our enemies who listen and hear more, sadly, than our friends, so that to make wild claims only hurts us, as it gives the enemies words to show us as "wild." In trying to get members excited for a cause leaders often make statements that are not realistic-"we will win next month"- when in reality it might take years of eduction and work and money,etc.
But a larger article that I still can't decide about is one on the novel 1984. I think it is a good article, viewing the book from a different political perspective. I think it would be a good discussion issue for college classes, etc.

It seems to me that the error Fox News viewers make, and we all make, is to not hear the views of others. We can ignore the talking points/sound bites for instant news and lies, but when a sincere view is given, we need to hear it even if only to get the information that refutes it.

So I'm glad I glanced at the publication on the stand at the hospital, which I would never have known about or seen otherwise.