Tonight was the first night I was able to watch any kind of political debate, and, ironically, it was the Republican CNN/YouTube debate. I noticed two things: First off, Anderson Cooper can't moderate to save his life and secondly, Rudy Giuliani's got a lisp.
Okay, anyway. the topic that sent me flying to my computer was a question about gays in the military. The YouTube video was sent in by a man who laid out his credentials: a brigadier general with forty-two years in the army and oh yeah, he's gay. So do the candidates support openly gay people in the military. but wait! before we get to the answers--the general is ACTUALLY THERE in the auditorium, so each of the candidates gets to thank him uncomfortably for his service before going on to say that they were afraid that openly gay people in the military was bad for "unit cohesian."
Oh GOD if ever we needed the Daily Show, it would have to be when Mike Huckabee was talking about small, tight units that were threatened by the gays, but never mind. Curse you stubborn studio heads!!! Denying us the gleeful Daily Show goodness!
Where was I? Oh, right--so each of the candidates (well, I believe it was only Huckabee, McCain and Romney who talked) each said "thank you for serving your country" and then went on to spin some crap about how it was bad for morale.
Okay, but here's the thing. In the Army, THEY TELL YOU WHAT TO DO. So if you're uncomfortable with Private Pink over there, your lieutenant could either a) tell you to beat up on him or b) tell you to man up and deal with it. So whoever is in charge of the Army (and technically that's Bush II, right? oh, god...) could decide TOMORROW, "you know what? Let's just not make a big deal out of it." and everyone would have to listen because it's the ARMY.
So then someone else said...ah, hells, they all look alike, if only one of them were black or something... "and the other thing is, a lot of these kids come from conservative backgrounds, so to ask them to serve with people who go against their beliefs is putting them in a situation where they're not comfortable." I'm paraphrasing, and I wasn't taking notes, but at this point I got down on my knees and started praying. You know where ELSE these sheltered conservative kids are going to run into people with differing viewpoints? How about FALLUJAH? Or KABUL? And--seriously--if they can't handle a fellow soldier with different opinions on female attractiveness, how can we ask them to deal with a completely foreign culture?
Then Anderson Cooper asked the Brigadier-General if he felt his question had not been answered. To which he replied "With all due respect, I do not." and I was shouting "No! Don't give these jerks ANY respect! They don't know what they're talking about!"
The thing that sent me sprinting to my computer though was a comment that one of them made earlier in the night, which rounds up all my angry threads neatly. They were talking about Iraq and the military and one of them...uhm, I think it was Huckabee again or the other one who's not McCain or Romney...he said something about military tradition and then started listing off great battles, starting with Concord. (For the record, I find it funny that no one ever mentions Civil War battles--after all, technically no American ever lost one of those!) First off--LEXINGTON and Concord: not such a good battle to mention, since it was kind of a draw. STICK TO YORKTOWN. Dork. Secondly, (and this comes back to the gay thing) you know who fought at Concord? Black soldiers. Yeah, they where there up until the Continental Congress said "You know what? Let's not have black soldiers" and then GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON, who is so awesome I just misspelled his name twice, wrote to them and said "No."
BECAUSE HE WAS THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF AND THEY HAD TO DO WHAT HE SAID.
I don't mean to shout.
But you see my point. This (by "this" I mean excluding certain groups from the military) has happened before--and it got FIXED because the COMMANDER IN CHIEF had the TESTICULAR FORTITUDE to say "No."
And I'm sick of people justifying a lame policy because it would be bad for unit morale and because there's a war on. No, you know what's bad for unit morale? Causing more divisiveness in this country because you're not willing to be a leader who can say "You secure? I'm secure. Bring it on." That's how this military was integrated (racially and genderly and that's not a word but it's late) and that's the reason I'm not voting Republican this year.
Not that I'm a one-issue pony.
But it kind of sums it all up, don't you think?
I will try and put up some vid of this debate, but it's so fresh it's not even posted yet. You can probably find it on YouTube by the time I hit "publish" though--watch it, it's beyond belief.