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The Daily Agenda for Sunday, December 23

Jim Burroway

December 23rd, 2012

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Wild Bill Dannemeyer’s Op-Ed on Gays in the Military: 1991. It’s been a year and a day since President Barack Obama signed the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Act into law. In 1991, the debate was well underway over whether the Defense Department should rescind its policy barring gays in the military. In the pre-DADT era, the ban was a matter of DoD policy, not the law. Conservatives then, as now, wanted to keep the ban in place, and few were more hard core about it — or more obnoxious — than Rep. William Dannemeyer (R-CA). On December 23, 1991, he was true to form in his op-ed lambasting gay people with his usual class:

A very poor joke asks: What is meaner than a pit bull with AIDS? The guy who gave the dog AIDS, of course. This could be the fightingest son-of-a-gun in the whole Army. But should he be?

I have seen how aggressive the lunatics of ACT-UP can be-rioting in the streets, smashing windows, fighting with anyone in disagreement-and have often thought how effective they might be on the front lines of combat. But does this prowess and compunction for destruction automatically certify the few and the proud?

…Many people still believe that homosexual sodomy is a perverse behavior, that someone choosing to do so isn’t playing with a full deck. Survey after survey of military personnel supports this belief. …For homosexuals to blame others for reacting adversely to their chosen lifestyle is absurd. The notion of punishing “homophobes” (the label applied to people who find homosexual sodomy repugnant) in the military as perverts rather than those persons who define their very existence by a sex act is itself perverse…

Those were the arguments against gays in the military in the early 1990s. When Bill Clinton ran for President, he promised to overturn the ban. But as soon as he was sworn into office, he ran into a buzz saw of opposition led by fellow Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia. In 1993, Congress shifted the ban from administrative policy to legal imperative with the passage of the Defense Authorization Bill, which included the codification of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into law. According to Servicemembers United, 14,346 soldiers, sailors and airmen/women would be discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” over the next eighteen years.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

Comments

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Stefan
December 23rd, 2012 | LINK

It’s actually been 2 years and a day since repeal was signed.

Steve
December 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Not only was DADT a law, but in some ways it actually made things worse. The only positive aspect was that discharges weren’t punitive, but administrative now. On the other hand, because of the entire media circus, now everyone talked about the gays and the atmosphere became a lot more homophobic. Commanders were never properly trained on how to apply the law. So the witch hunts and illegal investigations continued until around 2001. Discharges rose every year until the Afghanistan war.

The military outright lied about what DADT really meant (no surprise given that the architect of the law was a homophobe who went on to work for a prominent “family values” org) and the politicians of course believed them because the military can no wrong.

Ben in Oakland
December 23rd, 2012 | LINK

“Those persons who define their very existence by a sex act….”

One of the defining characteristics of homohatred is the willingness of the homophobes to project whatever garbage is flowing through their heads onto gay people, blaming US for THEIR misdeeds.

This is a classic exampl of it. WE don’t define our existence by a sex act, YOU do. We don’t threaten marriage by getting married, YOU threaten it by a 40% divorce rate and a 40% illegitimacy rate, by offering civil unions or domestic partnerships instead of the gold standard of marriage. WE don’t threaten military cohesion, molest children, or recruit. The people who threatened to quit rather than serve with gay people, heterosexual fathers who are the culprits 50% of the. Time, and exgay programs do these things.

And on and on and on.

TomTallis
December 23rd, 2012 | LINK

He’s still just as mean as he looks in that pic. His latest craziness is that Jews will take over the world. Now where have we heard that before…? Hmmmm…

Reed Boyer
December 23rd, 2012 | LINK

I remember this vicious old SOB with great clarity and unabated loathing. Dannemeyer, Dornan, and Schmitz. Orange County’s finest exemplars of absolute rock-ribbed self-righteous contempt parading itself as “morality.”
But Dannemeyer had a special “straight to the gutter with the dogs” flair to his rhetoric: dehumanizing, demonizing, and without regard for anything other than “saving the past.”

Ben in Oakland
December 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Oh my. He certainly has crossed over the great divide between garden variety bigot and virulent Jew hater. You’ll never guess who are Christ killers again, just when I was giving up my ancestral guilt for doing exactly what god wanted them to , and its still all my personal fault. What was the charming reference in John about Jews being stiff necked?

I’ve always believed that for most out and proud bigots, if you scratch the surface bigotry you’re bound to find a bright, shiny bigot underneath. It’s too bad the living long is absolutely no antidote for stupid.

Donny D.
December 24th, 2012 | LINK

Jim Burroway posted:

But as soon as he was sworn into office, he ran into a buzz saw of opposition led by fellow Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia.

It is SO NICE to see a gay or pro-person get this right! So often, most of the time, actually, I see MORONS claiming that Clinton sought at the beginning of his term to get rid of the military’s anti-LGB ban, screwed up, and got us Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue instead. Nope! As Jim said, Clinton said during his campaign he’d work to end the ban, but at the very beginning of his first term he was WAYLAID, or maybe I should say AMBUSHED by the military’s upper brass and their little toadies in Congress. The new administration was put completely on the defensive, and tried to fight what the top brass and its sycophants were doing, but lost the fight. The morons can claim whatever they want, but I remember that time quite while, and since then had to go through years of people, including on OUR SIDE getting this wrong before I started to see anyone get it right. Why that should be, I have no idea, with so many of us having lived through those years.

I hope someone can tell me I’m remembering this wrong, but one thing I remember from that time were the government proceedings, mostly congressional hearings, where NO openly lesbian, bisexual or gay person was allowed to speak.

And THEN, after DADT became law, the media presented it as better than the previous status quo, and only SOMETIMES quoted gay groups, who always said it was worse than the military’s old policy. It took the straight media, oh, excuse me, the mainstream media, YEARS to come around to our way of understanding DADT.

I’m not a big “gays in the military” booster, but I still feel anger and disgust when I remember those times. Back then, it seemed like we were the only people on our side.

Donny D.
December 24th, 2012 | LINK

Reed Boyer wrote,

I remember this vicious old SOB with great clarity and unabated loathing. Dannemeyer, Dornan, and Schmitz. Orange County’s finest exemplars of absolute rock-ribbed self-righteous contempt parading itself as “morality.”

If you are referring to crypto-Nazi John Schmitz, I think his district was in Los Angeles county, specifically in and around the city of San Marino, adjacent to Pasadena. But John Briggs, famed for his anti-gay initiative, was one of the Orange county rightwing whacko politicians. Don’t know if he was antisemitic, though.

I didn’t know that bigot William Dannemeyer was still around. Somehow, it’s not a surprise that he is now, or is now publicly, antisemitic. Orange county has always been (in)famous for being whacked out and rightwing.

Donny D.
December 24th, 2012 | LINK

In my first message above, “gay or pro-person” should read “LGB or pro-LGB person”.

Ben in Oakland
December 24th, 2012 | LINK

Donny. Your memory is exactly correct. Sam nunn orchestrated the attack on Clinton, the whole dog and pony show that included ”o no, the showers” meme, and the rest.becuase of that, for twenty years, I refused to donate a dime to any political party and any politician. I took delight in donating to maisie hirono in her fight against Linda lingle, and to Elizabeth warren against Scott brown. 2012 was the first time I donated, mostly to Obama.

Timothy Kincaid
December 25th, 2012 | LINK

Donny,

I don’t disagree with most of your comment. However, I have a different recollection of this:

And THEN, after DADT became law, the media presented it as better than the previous status quo, and only SOMETIMES quoted gay groups, who always said it was worse than the military’s old policy.

As I recall, the community’s attitude was, “dammit, well at least it’s better than it was.” We were under the delusion that “don’t pursue” was actually going to be policy.

I think it took us some time to discover that the new policy was actually, “Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t you dare leave any possible sign that some person who doesn’t like you can use to open an investigation against you.”

Timothy Kincaid
December 25th, 2012 | LINK

Oh my. He certainly has crossed over the great divide between garden variety bigot and virulent Jew hater. You’ll never guess who are Christ killers again, just when I was giving up my ancestral guilt for doing exactly what god wanted them to , and its still all my personal fault. What was the charming reference in John about Jews being stiff necked?

One of the more disturbing (and perplexing) oddities is how anti-Semites try and use scripture as support. For some reason they seem to forget that these criticisms were made by Jews to Jews about Jews. Sure Paul makes a big deal about how there are some Greeks and how they are just as good as he is but for the most part this was at that time an internal dispute inside the tribe and the criticism of fellow Jews was to justify their outreach into non-Jewish communities.

But in the minds of bigots, not just the apostles and Jesus – but even the Old Testament heroes – are magically put into the non-Jewish category and “the Jews” are the problem.

I swear, I really wonder if the people who most claim to defend themselves by the Bible have ever read it or know anything about its writing, compilation and what was included or excluded and why.

Ben in Oakland
December 25th, 2012 | LINK

My suspicion, Timothy, is that they read the bible exactl the same way I watch porn, and perhaps for the same reasons.

People forget that Christianity started out as a Jewish heresy, which is why the Old Testament is a part of the bible. Paul started in on the Gentiles when it was clear the Jews weren’t interested. Jesus, whatever his lineage, was the promised messiah, the one descended from David who would re establish the house ofdavid and the righteous kingdom of Israel. He failed to deliver the promised political changes, and was perhaps farm more interested his role as apocalyptic prophet than he was in a political undertaking.

The antiSemitism of historic Christianity is visible as early as the book of acts. By the time the gospel of John appeared, the Jews had been turned into devils who refused Jesus and caused him to be killed. The disappearance of Jewishness from both Jesus and his apostles was into full flower.

That’s why, in my opinion, it is so easy for antiSemites to avoid the obvious conrptradiction in their prejudice. They Christian mentality and the Christian mind were prepared for it from the earliest days of the church.that’s what happens when you’re on the losing end of a heresy charge.

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