Don’t ask, don’t fuck with me

The weekend is here, as is December, and snow is falling here in Madison. Bravo is televising a seasons 1, 2 and 3 epic marathon of Project Runway, and I am holed up finishing (starting?) a paper on transgender in(ex)clusion in LGBT community organizing. So, I am cracking open the Diet Coke and proclaiming “bring it” to the end-of-semester stress.

As you probably already know, Wednesday evening was the CNN/YouTube Republican Presidential Debate, and it was just as captivating as one could have ever expected a gathering of middle- to older-aged white men discussing gay-hatin’, Jesus-praisin’ and gun-lovin’ to be. Outside of the expected content, the below question really got to me.

I am so tired of the bullshit response of “unit cohesion” concerns among conservative politicians, and the far-reaching generalizations made over those serving in the military is insulting not only to gay and lesbian troops, but to heterosexual troops assumed to be too close-minded to deal with those who are different with them. The U.S. military is in no position whatsoever to be turning down help from wherever it can get it, and serving our country is something that means a lot to many Americans who choose to enlist. Not allowing them to openly be who they are while putting their life on the line is downright degrading, and I’m still waiting for a better response to questions like Brigadier General Keith Kerr’s from this debate than what we have been hearing for the past decade. The rousing applause of the debate’s audience after the candidates continued to babble on about “family values” and “homosexual lifestyles” was nauseating.

Allegations were later made by a number of conservative bloggers that Kerr’s question was planted by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, given that Kerr serves on a Clinton LGBT-related steering committee. CNN producers have since pandered to their accusations by apologizing for including the question in the debate, despite Kerr’s repeated statements that he was acting as an individual and that he “has not done any work for Mrs. Clinton.”

The whole controversy misses the point, in my mind, given that the whole idea of YouTube debates is to open the forum up to questions from any individual with something on their mind, which may or may not represent the interests of the entire constituency. Democracy is about everyone coming to the table and having their voice heard, as well as the “watchdog” duty that bloggers have taken up in the past several years. Although it is important, and noteworthy, to know that Kerr is associated with the Clinton committee, that shouldn’t mean that the question needs to be completely disregarded. As the above article from the Washington Times points out, many of the questions asked in the debate were contributed by individuals with organizational ties from both ends of the political spectrum. This is simply the nature of the beast. When democratic ideals are used to encourage censorship, something has gone wrong.

In case you didn’t catch this entry’s thesis: “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is fucked up.


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