We have already established that I should stop reading the local papers. Tonight, we can add Republican debates to the things I should stay away from. I made it through a lot. I didn't turn away when they talked about the economy, unemployment, taxes, medicare, etc. I disagreed with most of what they said, but not to the point of yelling.
But then they got to the gay questions. I am fairly certain my head actually did the Exorcist spinning thing. I stomped about the room. I used the f-word a lot. I scared my dog. It's not the gay marriage thing, exactly. I expected those answers. I fundamentally disagree with them and am appalled at how many of those allegedly conservative candidates would so willingly amend the Constitution over something as small as the definition of marriage. Doesn't seem quite in keeping with what the founders intended for the amendment process. It would never pass, so it's all just bluster anyway.
The more frustrating discussion came when the candidates were asked whether they would continue with "Obama's" repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (I use quotation marks because last I checked, Congress passed the repeal bill). They didn't all say they would undo the repeal, but with the exception of Ron Paul, they all gave the sense that DADT had been valid, shouldn't have been repealed, that there are in fact valid concerns with allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military without having to worry that something as simple as going on a date or referring to a significant other by name or a gender pronoun could get them kicked out.
For the last friggin' time, "allowing" gays to serve openly in the military is not a matter of special rights or social experimentation. It's just what should be the normal, natural way things are done. People who volunteer for the army and are willing to lay down their lives for their country should just be able to do so, regardless of which team they play for. And it's odd and unnatural to say if you play for Team Straight you can talk about it all you want but keep your trap shut if you play for Team Gay. So by repealing that odd, unnatural DADT rule, we've finally gotten to where we should have been all along. And hell no, we should never go back.
I just cannot comprehend any reason whatsoever why anyone thinks it's ok to say that gays should be treated differently, that they should be told their employment should be conditioned on remaining silent about their private lives, a condition not required of any other service members. I heard the word immoral a lot of times tonight, but not one of those candidates has any sense of morals that I can respect. Because DADT was immoral. Treating gays differently and then accusing them of asking for "special" rights when they want that differentiation to end is immoral. Asking anyone who puts on a uniform, picks up a gun, and fights for this country to lie about themselves if they want to put their lives on the line for all the rest of us is immoral.*
Every single politician, pundit, service member, or civilian who thinks otherwise should be deeply, deeply ashamed. Being gay is not immoral. Treating gays like they're sick, diseased, icky, or in any way less desirable than straights is immoral.
So, yeah, if that's what the Republican party has to offer, I want no part of it. And I really shouldn't watch any more of their debates.
*(And can I take a moment to give a huge shout-out to all the men and women who served in the military under DADT and were so committed to the idea of service that they were willing to live that lie? Talk about dedication to military service.)