09 February 2010

Time to Revamp 'Don't look, Don't talk'

It has been 65 years since the establishment of the first official policy on homosexuality in the nation's armed forces, and frankly it has become an antachronism. The original policy -- Don't look, Don't touch -- made a certain degree of sense at the time it was instituted. Its beauty was in its simplicity: don't peek at the other soldiers' you-know-whats, for heaven's sake don't touch anything, and (it was understood) don't never talk about what you didn't see.

When JFK came in he sensed that the times they were a-changin, and he relaxed the policy slightly, to Don't gawk, Don't talk. Less than one year later he was shot, and although we hesitate to assert a causal connection, for members of that generation the two events will forever be linked. As the Vietnam war escalated, LBJ altered the policy to Say it, Don't spray it -- and the backlash ended his political career.

One of Nixon's first acts on taking office was to bury the issue as far down as possible, and thus was born the policy of (hands over ears) No No No No No No No... Jimmy Carter, who famously acknowledged in a Playboy interview that he had felt lust in his heart, threw caution to the wind and demonstrated bold leadership with Don't peek, Don't rub baby oil all over each other. And there the issue sat until Clinton established Don't ask, Don't tell -- and undermined his own credibility as an advocate of open sexual relations both among and between the sexes, furtively whenever possible.

But in today's world there ain't no justification no longer for such a demeaning world view, noway, nohow.

That is why we are so pleased to announce the latest new policy regarding homosexuality in the modern military: on the first day of basic training, the drill sergeant will gently lay an index finger across the lips of every recruit, place the other hand palm forward on the upper breast, and utter the words: Hush, don't speak.

This is Larry Rasmussen, rambling on, in Kingston Jamaica mon.

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