cross-posted from Dagblog
Hey there, conservatives. I know a bunch of you have had a good ride bashing on gays in the military for most of the last twenty years. (If you're a conservative who hasn't, good for you. You can ignore the following advice, with my hearty compliments.) And I know those of you who've been doing the public hating also hate to give up a good thing. Now that gays are openly serving in the military, I understand that it feels like time to double down. The issue's always been a winner for you before. Why wouldn't it be a winner now?
Here's your problem. For the last twenty years, you've been arguing against the idea of gays serving our country in the military. And since no one could be in uniform and out of the closet at the same time, you could serve up all the scary fantasies you could imagine; you do have a talent for serving up those fantasies. But now that our gay soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are openly gay, you aren't arguing against a hypothetical policy any more. Now you are publicly attacking real people. And the people you're attacking are American soldiers and marines during a war.
When you were attacking imaginary gay soldiers for doing vague imaginary bad things, you could pass yourself off as guardians of tradition. But when you are attack American servicemen and women who are serving in a war zone, it makes you look crazy, unpatriotic, and mean. That's not a coincidence. It really is a crazy, mean, and unpatriotic thing to do. And that's what it looks like.
If you want to make this a central campaign issue, that's fine with me. You'll get pummeled, and I'll enjoy watching. If that seems impossible to believe, let's put it this way: there have always been gays in our military, but they could not admit it. That allowed you to say whatever vile thing you liked about them without being contradicted by inconvenient facts. Now those same gay soldiers and Marines can speak up for themselves, and even more importantly, they can let their service to our country do the talking. Some of those people have served three or four tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. Meanwhile, your main contribution to the war effort has been attacking the character of the guy who served those three tours. I wouldn't call attention to that if I were you.
Merry Christmas. It's a good time for kindness and decency. And it's never too late to start.