I just finished the one bag of potato chips that I bought yesterday in my harrowing journey to the supermarket, where the supermarket parking lot was the most harrowing aspect since it does not seem to have been plowed except by the tires of cabin-fever suffering adults in need of milk, bread, butter, yogurt and Cheese Puffs, and am about to embark on my first cup of hot chocolate since I forgot to buy coffee beans and am getting anxious that I will not have enough for my morning cup until I can next exit the cabin. It’s a blizzard outside, as it’s been for hours, and I’m now on my fourth day of school closure (not counting last Wednesday for a mere three inches of snow). For a week, until Monday, my older daughter was here, as was my younger daughter and my dog. Now I am home alone. No one is watching me snack, and watching junk tv, and napping, and reading the weather report over and over, and looking to see it the moment it is posted: the announcement that school will be closed tomorrow. (They just made the announcement: school will be closed on Thursday and Friday.)
In the midst of all the busy-ness, I have had some time to reflect on a number of things. One of the things that kept me most occupied (other than Sarah Palin and the fact that this is a woman who garners an incredible amount of attention as opposed to the countless intelligent, caring women who are not heard from because our media and far too many people are incredibly stupid and selfish—sorry) is hearing that some Republican senators say that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell should stay in place because otherwise unit cohesion will be at stake. Mind you, I have never been in the military and I am not a lesbian, so my response comes from who I am: a woman who lives in this country, and in this world. A country and a world still dominated by far too much violence, especially against women. So tell me, how is it that lying about your sexual orientation will rip at the effectiveness of our military while the unprecedented number of suicides, and attacks and harassment of females in the military don’t do that? I don’t get it.
I know, putting suicide and rape in the same sentence is a bit of a stretch, but seriously, if they really cared about each and every soldier and not some inane pandering to people who have stored their compassion in toe nail clippings boxes, wouldn’t they get up and cry for change that will help soldiers deal with their internal and external wounds? (Never mind stopping the wars and every drum call for war—including the latest Palin inanity of suggesting that going to war with Iran would be a way for Obama to definitely get re-elected. Why is anyone listening to this incredibly mean and stupid woman? Is it because she is a woman? I really don’t get it.) And wouldn’t they call for doing something—I know, this is a tall-order societal thing—to stop men’s abuse of women as some sort of ritual for proving masculinity the world over.
How is it that knowing that someone in your unit is gay and dealing with that is worse than thinking that maybe someone in your unit is gay and having to be overly cautious because you don’t want to offend him? I, of course, am going on the assumption that people who need to work together can actually work together, and do their utmost to make for a positive environment where everyone can work and be valued. Oops, not talking about the Senate. Rather, I'm talking about everyone else who has learned to act grown-up at work, because that’s the only way to potentially keep a job and a paycheck coming.
I don’t have the statistics at hand and I’m not going to get side-tracked by Googling it or asking my friend who is writing about violence against women in the military, but it is unprecedented. Shouldn’t this have an enormous effect on unit cohesion or military might? And not just for the women who are scared and degraded and hurt, and not just for the men who are the perpetrators. But what of the men who find it offensive, wouldn’t their unit cohesion be demoralized knowing that they are living with rapists and abusers?
Can’t the hypocrisy ever end? What kind of world could we possibly be trying to create if the “enforcers” of that philosophy are not able to be free? Free to express their sexuality. Free to go to the bathroom at night without fearing of being raped. Free to express their nightmares without worrying about appearing weak.
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. How about working to create a society that values an open dialogue of non-ideologues? How about limiting the number of times stupid ideas and stupid people are quoted in a day? Yes, I know, who is to decide? How about this: If what you say hurts people for no reason other than self-aggrandizement, then what you said is stupid and you might be as well. Is that hypocrisy? I’m not sure. For goodness’s sake, isn’t there a way to treat everyone with respect? You would think it’s a basic human right: Be respected and valued. Does that really infringe on someone else’s right to be respected and valued? I would say only if your values infringe on other people; in that case I would say that your values are the ones that need to be clipped.
I think the snow needs to stop and I need to get out of here for a while.