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October, 1960, 12 years after President Truman integrated the services, I was studying FDC for the 105 howitzer at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. PFC Davis (me) was walking across the base with a Sgt. from my company. We passed an African-American Lieutenant. We saluted him and he saluted us. All very normal. As we continued, the white Sgt. said to me, “You know, I was only saluting the uniform." I draw these lessons for DADT: 1. Prejudice dies very slowly. 2. There were dire predictions of doom and gloom when President Truman integrated the services. 3. When the military receives a directive, they salute, say “Yes, Sir” and get on with the mission.
If another former soldier may join Melissa's father in talking about the "Old Army": The Army is remarkably tolerant of any beliefs or behavior as long as they're not "in-your-face" and don't interfere with good order and discipline. You can be a white supremicist, a black separatist, a radical feminist, or an evangelical Christian, but as long as you don't bother people and keep your activities out of the office and on your own time, no one much cares. I worked with gays when I was in the Army, and everyone knew they were gay. But they kept a low profile and did their jobs, and no one bothered them. I was in the Army when the civil rights movement gave more power to black troops, and when the Women's Army Corps ended and more career fields opened to women -- two events that the repeal of DADT has been compared to. To extend the comparison, there was trouble only when the militant blacks and militant whites and militant feminists and militant sexists caused it, and I predict that the same will happen today. There will be trouble when the militant gays and the militant homophobes cause it, and it will take awhile for the leadership to discipline and/or discharge the jerks and troublemakers. For the rest of the troops, I predict the general attitude in the ranks will be same now as it was back then: "OK, you got what you wanted. Now shut up about it and get back to work."
There's a military expression I heard sometime ago: OBE (Overtaken By Events). I hope this applies to Jackie's storyline, but then again, there's some continuing controversy over the right to reenlist (per this Slate article). Let's hope they let her come back -- she deserves better than clumsy come-ons from Jeff.
I don't know where GBT is going with the current storyline, but I love Melissa more every time I see her. That gal has moxie!
Sam and her mom remind me of my daughter and me -- but you have to realize her dad's a head case; I'll spare the details and ask you just just to take my word. B.D. is not (okay, there was that shooting up the garage thing, but still, he's not the overblown controlling kind). Now Jeff and Melissa? He'd annoy the hell out of her, but puppy love may be what he needs to finally get his kit together. Meanwhile, DADT in the ashcan of history where it belongs brings tears of joy to my eyes. Were I in the military, I'd still be circumspect about my sexual orientation; why risk it? I'll add that it doesn't surprise me the former military people have a problem with DADT's repeal. I know several, and they don't seem to quite understand that today's forces are composed mainly of people who don't remember when there was no DADT, and largely find it silly that there is/was such a rule. Our society has changed a lot in my lifetime, and it seems common knowledge that orientation has nothing to do with capability, good sense, or the capacity to stand and deliver in combat. Lastly, shame on you, John McCain! You've proven yourself a dinosaur waiting to join the annals of history. Maverick, my middle-aged tushy! Shame, sir, shame.
What you gay right advocates do not understand is that you proved to the military leaders that their opinion is irrelevant and you will not listen. If you had listened, you would have heard that the 70% of the military that said that gays could serve are the very ones that will now try to get out of their eight-year enlistment contracts by claiming their religious rights do not allow them to serve with gays! You were used and you fell for it.
I opened today's paper, saw the continuation of last week's storyline on DADT, and realized that for the first time I can recall in 40 years, Congress acted on an issue before Doonesbury had finished satirizing inaction.
Go Sam! When did she get savvy like that? B.D.'s doomed if his women are ganging up on him.
I see today that the Senate finally voted to repeal the odious DADT farce. It's about time. I served thirty years and served with sailors I and everyone else in the Command knew were gay, and I am quite sure I served with many who I did not know were gay. In my years as a senior enlisted advisor to the COs I served with, I never once had a problem with a sailor because of his (or her) "gayness". Drunks, dopers, malingerers and just plain stupid sailors, yes, there were problems with all of these, but never a problem with a gay person because of their sexual activities or conduct. It's about time the old dinosaurs like McCain and General Amos move into the twenty-first century and quit spouting their tired homophobia disguised as concern for the troops.
I really appreciate the sensitivity and depth with which you approach the DADT issue. As usual, politicians are testing the wind, looking for a lever, considering their options. Your character has reason to be wary. While the services shoot themselves in the foot by discharging (I hope it's not a UD or DD; prolly GD) capable people. I don't recall liking everyone I served with, but I did strongly prefer people who were steady and capable under stress. I did not inquire about their sexual preferences at the time. It does seem stupid and rude in the extreme to discharge capable service members when they're way down on brains in the Army anyway. Oh, yeah, Facebook. I've told my kids, and I keep this promise; never write anything on a computer that you don't want read on the Six O'Clock News, or in a court of law. Merry Christmas to all.
Jeff is self-absorbed and narcissistic, but he's not a sociopath. The latter know what they're doing and they intentionally harm others for the sake of their own self-aggrandizement. If Jeff would just withdraw his head from the proverbial you-know-where, he'd be fine.
I love where you are taking Melissa this week. As a (liberal) Army civilian employee, I work with a number of former infantrymen who are against the DADT repeal. Thursday's strip summarizes better than I ever could why the ban is ridiculous. On a side note, never mind the naysayers, I want to see what happens when Melissa and Jeff get together!
I must admit, in the 20 or so years of reading Doonesbury, this thread on the DADT issue is a pretty good representation. I knew several gay soldiers when I served and had no issues with them nor they with me because we had the common soldiers bond. DADT shouldnt be a law; discriminating against anyone in the military is just wrong. And when DADT is repealed, it is just as well that Women should be allowed to participate in Combat Arms on the front lines. I know plenty of women that can sit front seat in an Apache or fly an A10 just as well or better than most men. And a few that can even outshoot me.
Naming names and outing McCain as a fraud. Awesome.
I have been a fan of the strip for more than 30 years. I just want to say that today's strip is up there with the biggest highlights of all that time: topical, human, and vitally important. And somehow still wryly amusing. You might just have struck the greatest blow against DADT yet.
Terrific irony that Zuckerberg is named Time magazine's Man of the Year on the same day that the Melissa concludes "Facebook really is evil!"
Normal people don't use the word "functionality" in conversation unless they're dictating bad ad copy for underfinanced tech companies.
Pvt. Illegible-Name-Tag's girlfriend must feel awful about the result of what should have been some harmless venting...
It's amazing how Jeff Redfern elicits sympathy and hope for his redemption among readers. People struggle to imagine him as just a misguided, nice boy -- ripe for enlightenment. But really, every evidence we've been given indicates that he's not just a goof living a fantasy, but that he's a sociopath with no perspective, no idea of the consequences, a creature of sheer impulse. He may not be evil by intent -- he does dream of himself as hero -- but it's clear by his actions, not his dreams, that it's all and only about himself.
It's time to give him to Uncle Duke. They so deserve each other. We all know how evil breeds evil, but GBT deserves thanks for his reflection on this more subtle aspect of the brave new world, where these amoral or apathetic creatures are bred by people of some decency who are just too busy or confused to really take a clear hold of what's involved in parenting. Has that not been the Redfern family?
Today's strip could not have pointed out in a more appropriate way the absurdity of not allowing gays and lesbians to serve their country openly. Sending a Warrior home from war where her brothers and sisters in arms depended on her to do her job of combat support or combat service support, and where her Soldiers depended upon her for her leadership*, because of her sexual orientation** is a crime. Guess what, people; they're here, they're queer, and they can shoot, move, communicate, sustain and survive. DADT will end sooner or later just like segregation ended. Deal with it or get the hell out of my Army!
* I am, of course, making a huge asumption that she is also an NCO, by the casual tone of her conversation with Melissa, who we know to be an NCO.
** Also, I am assuming that she's not getting "disharged" for engaging in behavior forbidden by UCMJ or by any other lawful, in-theater order given by the appropriate combatant commander or any other officer in her chain of command. The "don't ask, don't tell" nature of the dialogue makes me think I'm right in my assumption.