“Just Asking” – Don’t Ask and I won’t Tell you Again

The American Military had an interesting policy a while back

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

But the problem was that they applied the idea to a narrow and oppressive and illegal policy – because it was not consistent with the American Bill of Rights.

Which says that the Individual is the Social Unit of Consequence with the Freedom to Take Liberties with Whatever Makes You Happy

Because that’s what the pursuit of happiness is – being able to figure out what makes you happy.

So if anyone is made happy by offering their life in service to their nation – then, more power to them – and go for it.

I used to work at RCMP – Royal Canadian Mounted Police – and I regularly had lunch with Corporals on up to Inspectors.

But I was a Federal Public Service Employee – a civilian – so I did not have to obey any of the quasi-military stuff about standing when senior officers entered the room or any of that macho top dog underdog zero summing – that to my lesbian mind – is the kinkiest domination game that is played out in public.

Because I joked and whined a lot about how I really really wanted to be given one of their Police Hats.

And one lunch – it was me and 9 RCMP Constables and Officers – and one of the constables – and this is how Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell plays out inside Canada’s RCMP:

I am a soft butch – and you are going to get a chance to look at me – because I’ve decided to add video content to this blog – there’s two kinds of videos that will start being posted.

On Fridays – it’s going to be me Depressersizing To Elvis Presley and maybe some Patsy Cline or kd lang – not sure which

and on another day of the week – or maybe just special ones – I am going to monologue the blog instead of writing it – because – I can’t be sure – given that this blog has an international audience – if you all know – y’all know – how to read my blog – which you recognize as written English – but I am writing in Canadian English – and that is a very derivative of American and Commonwealth English.

And I do not talk or act or think much like my fellow Canadians – so when I observe other Canadians who are talking like Americans – for example – Mistuh Harper who still owes me $50 – and I asked for all my reader’s help to collect said $50……

Then I get very very concerned – because I talk like Americans in Hollywood – and Mr Harper talks as if he’s from Washington, but he really talks – to my ear – like he’s Texas – and Mr Harper is from Alberta – which is Texas in Canada.

And I love Americana – Elvis and the 50’s – so when I listen to Mistuh Harper talk – I know who he sounds like – McCarthy – only with Canadian restraint – because Mistuh Harper is the first American Prime Minister of Canada – and the whole world saw what happened under George W Bush – 9/11.

And to my mind – the only difference between W Bush – war mongering draft dodger – and Harper – economic policy wonk – is that Mistuh Harper keeps his religion to himself. Because Religion and Politics in Canada – they don’t mix – so we do not have all the sex scandals because no Canadian politician is so dumb as to Declare – FAMILY Values – because if there’s one thing that Canadians do not like to talk about – it’s money.

So there is not enough money in Canada for gay or girl sex workers to be bribed – so Canadian politicians are never brought down by live boys or dead girls.

They have been brought down by Dead Wives or Live Girls or Angry Wives who know better than to stand by that kind of man………

So – wow, roundabout way (great for traffic calming on street too, btw) to get your minds cleared of what I was going to say about the RCMP.

So – at lunch within the RCMP HQ in Vancouver – Me and 9 RCMP Constables to Inspectors – I want to set the scene in your mind – just the exact way that I see it in my mind – and then you will have a clue why I am a screenwriter of edgy character driven dramas which expose the seductive line between mainstream/fringe.

Because this is an absolutely true story about me – and it will show everyone – how I view the world and why I know – how I know that I am always right or write – I get those words confused sometimes:

INT. BOARDROOM – LUNCHTIME

Around a large rectangular table that fills the room so that people are not able to walk passed anyone sitting at the table – the chair backs touch the walls.

NINE RCMP CONSTABLES TO INSPECTOR GRADE people are eating homemade lunches, mostly middle aged white men.

ONE RCMP CONSTABLE is a a very butch lesbian who is the lowest ranked constable in the room – and is not doing anything to attract attention to herself.

NINA is eating a microwave burrito for lunch.

The group is friendly and welcoming of each other’s company – and the room has just fallen silent as people breath and eat some food before the next round of conversation.

BUTCH CONSTABLE
You know, Nina, if you really
want a forage cap, you could
apply to join as a Member.

Male constables and Inspectors nod approvingly.
Some looking to Nina for her response.

Nina puts down the burrito and looks around the room – at each and every person’s now expectant face.

NINA
Sure, I could. But uniforms are more a fetish
than a lifestyle thing for me, I just want the hat.

and if you think that our Maple Leaf on our flag looks read in the middle of that white playing field…..

well, mouths dropped open, food hung suspended in the air, people gasped and faces turned so red that the maple leaf – was no longer distinguishable because there was not a white face in the room

except mine

dot dot dot

She shoots, She scores – it’s Hockey Night in Canada –

Ladies and Gentlemen –

Nina always scores a hat trick –

and anyone who loves hockey can tell you that there are three parts to a hat trick – the set up, the sting and the score.

but most people only pay attention to the score

 

Onward Christian Soldiers – March off to War

As a humanist, I am somewhat amused by the idea of humanist chaplains being added to the US military’s chaplain corp.

The idea that there are no atheists in foxholes should be challenged, but also examined.

Believers would like to think that atheists are childish perpetually rebelling adults and that when push comes to shove, we put aside our anger at god and we really do believe.

That isn’t the case at all, atheists are in foxholes. In fact, when you are in danger, taking the time to pray and ask to be delivered, is when you are more likely to be killed because you stopped paying attention to the surroundings that are endangering you.

But, should there be atheists in foxholes? That is a more compelling question. Why should an atheist join the military at all? Career opportunities and training –the involuntary American draft of the lower and middle classes has ended and been replaced by a voluntary poverty draft of the economically disadvantaged. The US military is the employer of last resort.

Sure the US military has the most tricked out hardware and sophisticated tactics, but a military compromised of such a mixed bag of people who have varying degrees of dedication to the task are not an effective force against dedicated and decentralized fanatics who hide among their civilian supporters, because they are the civilian supporters.

To my mind, the phrase, no atheists in foxholes, should mean that no atheist was dumb enough to sign up for military service and risk their lives for nothing.

However, patriotism is not limited to theists, although, it is essentially, putting your idea of nation above all other nation ideas – so patriotism is essentially, the religion of citizenship. And fundamentalist patriotism is that My Country Right or Wrong/Might Make Right mentality that dovetails into religious fundamentalism.

We cannot fight fanaticism with reason and rationality – we need to fight it with fanaticism directly and reason indirectly.

I have long thought that the way to deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan is with an all female army, preferably when they’ve synced up their menstruation cycles – the Taliban would have little option but to flee the fields. The only way to fight a fanatic is by presenting them with their worst fears.

So, leave the humanists and marginally religious soldiers stateside, they won’t perform as well as fundamentalist soldiers and will require more post battle trauma counseling and won’t ever be able to return to combat status.

Theists are easier to convince to die for a cause if it’s connected to their god’s will aka higher power that will reward them for their sacrifice. There is very little separating a Fundamentalist Christian/Patriotic soldier from a fundamentalist jihading suicide bomber – with the except that the suicide bomber is more dedicated to the cause in that they are absolutely laying down their life. Whereas a soldier in a troop, may survive the various battles and war overall.

It is to the military’s advantage to have religious/patriotic soldiers – soldiers who are dedicated to the purpose experience less post traumatic stress disorder because they can justify what they see as necessary to the higher purpose.

When soldiers have joined for the career and training opportunities and it’s their bad luck that a couple of wars are on – even the ones who initially joined after 9/11 to protect their country – once you question the purpose of the conflict, you necessary can’t ignore what’s happening around you. It starts a cascade failure of meaning and purpose – thus the soldier becomes traumatized.

It helps the US military avoid the expense and loss of manpower when they don’t have soldiers who will become traumatized. It is also to our society’s advantage to send only the religiously motivated – because they will experience less psychologically trauma and be able to reintegrate upon their return home, but also because this would remove an aggressive segment of our society from the gene pool for those who do not.

One of the main purposes of war is to reduce population, directly through battle but also indirectly in the aftermath of famine and disease. War is what happens when you put too many rats in the cage, they battle with each other until the number of rats is supportable by the resources available.

Planet Earth is our cage and there’s not enough resources for everyone, something’s got to give, and it’s better to eliminate the obstructionist portion of society – the religious sector – so that the rest of us can get on with the business of shifting from fossil fuels to other sustainable fuels, to sustainable societies that are better able to get along and cooperate with each other the way we need to do and that religion is one of the major stumbling blocks to.

We have to stop thinking locally and think globally and part of thinking globally is that diversity is good and that no one group of people is any better than any other group of people, we’re all in this together.

As long as the focus of the world in on one religion over another, we are never going to collectively step up and say that none are better than any other – so it’s up to those who have stepped away from the my religion is better than your religion argument and notice that religion is hampering our species sustainability.

Military asks Senate to repeal DADT

Seriously. Well, except the Marines and a few specialist branches – they want to keep it.

Why, after 17 years, is the US Military so hot to take Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell out of the policy manual?

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates also urged the Senate to act quickly, warning that the military doesn’t want change imposed by “judicial fiat.” Speaking at the Pentagon, he alluded to a recent string of court opinions calling the legal viability of the current policy into doubt.

 

I don’t doubt the military wants Senate and not the courts to repeal it – because by the Senate means that when the current combat missions are over, they will try to bring DADT back in some form.

Kicking gays out of the US Military is a peace time activity.

The Right and Left are closer than you think

It’s funny to me how often we are given a false choice of either/or. Unless it’s a choice between two available dessert items, there are always more than two options.

Especially political identity. Left or Right.

What do those even mean? In Canada, the difference between left and right is microscopic compared to the US.

Incidentally, the US Democratic Party has always been more right wing than our defunct Progressive Conservative Party. It’s only now with the Harper party that the Democrats and our conservative party are along the same lines – but it is the first time the US president has ever been leftier than a conservative PM in Canada.

Continuing on the Canada to US on the left/right, the US right and left have very differences compared to the various political left and right parties in Europe.

Other countries that are theocracies are certainly extreme right and the countries with leftie dictators don’t have any obvious differences – so apparently, when you go extreme enough, left and right seem to be the same thing other side of a ball, rather than two opposite ends of a continuous line.

Politics are messy and the left and right grassroots movements in the US and Canada are little better – both seek to control the masses. The only difference is what each side is seeking to control. The left wants to control your public behavior and the right your private behavior.

The left appears concerned more with the what – what are the impacts of what we do on other things like the environment or people and animals. Their push to is re-consider our actions and laws with sustainability, improved rights, stricter government regulation of industry and business and other aspects of our public space.

The right is more concerned with the how – how others conduct their private lives, their bailiwicks are morals, abortion, gay sex, sanctity of marriage (why does it always seem to be about the sex with them?) and less government oversight and control. Although, how they are supposed to police private lives with less government control is not exactly clear to me.

I don’t know anyone who wants to give control over to either side, because no matter how left or right that you are, there will always be someone righter or lefter who finds you lacking.

I do think that the left side is winning, and for the most part, socially that’s a good thing.  There is no downside to at least tolerance if not actual or eventual acceptance of other groups of people. And while every group has their bad seeds, it’s not the group’s fault.

Women can vote and drive, interracial couples can marry, gay and lesbian couples can marry in Canada and in some US states or cities. We really don’t need to play more oppressed than thou – any group being oppressed or discriminated against diminishes us all. That ask not for whom the bell tolls thing still applies.

I was a kid in the 1970’s, but even I remember people thinking that if you recycled that you were a hippie weirdo and by the late 90’s if you didn’t recycle that you were an Earth hating jerk. Greenpeace is mainstream now.

Most office buildings are branding themselves as Green, with in building recycling and many composting, reducing energy use and putting on green garden roofs to replenish the city air. Many companies exceed what’s required by law and provide the same benefits to gay and lesbian employees as they do straight ones.

Even the US military is working on a slow retreat exit strategy from Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

We need to focus on where our interests are common, not what defines us as different. We need to recognize what challenges we are facing globally – climate change is real – what amount or if human activity contributes to it isn’t the issue at all. That we excessively pollute and have changed climate and habitat locally is not a question – acid rain I am talking to you. We know the globe’s climate has changed, there’s been warm and cool periods and ice ages.

They will happen again. But, if we’re all going to have to live along the equator because everything around it is covered in 5 miles of ice, or the oceans are a lot higher and we have to move inland, we need to figure out a way for 6 billion plus people to get along and conflicts over different skin colour, religion and consumer habits need to end.

We need to figure out a way for societies not to collapse, for business to function and achieve profits, for fair labour practices, for sustainability.

It’s the public behavior we need to be concerned about, not other people’s sex and family lives. It’s the public behavior that affects us all, after all.