Who’s defending my America? | VailDaily.com

Who’s defending my America?

Matt Zalaznick
Vail CO, Colorado

While spreading freedom so deftly in Iraq, Gen. Peter Pace is spitting on it here at home.

The head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should read the founding documents of the nation he says he’s defending ” all that stuff about men being created equal and having freedom of speech, religion, expression and assembly, yada, yada, yada.

General Pace should get to know the citizens he says he’s protecting. More and more Americans are accepting homosexuality for the normal lifestyle that it is, and that acceptance is not likely to evaporate.

In fact, if history is any guide, the acceptance of lifestyles once considered abnormal increases significantly as younger generations reject obsolete prejudices when they come to dominate social discourse.

While the U.S. has a pathetic record on race relations, the country has made progress. And while the shameful response Hurricane Katrina and the recent outbursts of some of our beloved celebrities are proof we have a long way to go ” and despite the stoking of fading bigotries by the religious right ” we the people continue to make sluggish progress toward greater tolerance.

But perhaps the general’s just too darn focused on mishandling the mission to notice that many of us have said homosexuals and lesbians deserve all the rights other Americans enjoy. A significant number of us have been decent enough to allow them to join in civil unions and have same-sex benefits at work.

And far too few of us have done the right thing and said its OK for gay couples to marry.

Maybe the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights are simply another couple of documents the Bush administration, its appointed hacks and its few remaining cronies consider “quaint.”

This cabal has already betrayed a few of the nation’s most sacred principals by condoning torture, abolishing the rights of “enemy combatants,” twisting up the separation of powers and trying to eliminate the separation between church and state.

Hey, what’s another inalienable right or two down the drain?

The Bush administration is using terror to fight terror, and this clear disregard for so much of what makes America America forces one to wonder ” “worry” might be a better word ” who the Pentagon is fighting for in the Middle East. Makes you wonder whose America and which Americans Gen. Gay-Basher is defending if he thinks so many of them are immoral.

Is it the America of Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, feminism and the civil rights movement? Or is it some darker, un-Democratic America where moral tyranny and intolerance are enshrined in amendments to the Constitution, the leadership of the military and occupants of the White House ” regardless if any of their daughters are considered by the general to be immoral.

Gen. Gay-Basher was generous enough to share his views on homosexuality when asked whether gay Americans should be allowed to serve openly in the military. He’s among the stubborn old guard whose own sexual hang-ups are clouding their judgment and harming our military.

Once of Pace’s predecessors, former joint chiefs chairman John Shalikashvili, has said gay and lesbian troops have a role in defending the nation and shouldn’t have to hide their sexual preferences.

According to the Associated Press, Shalikashvili said in January that he has changed his mind on the issue since meeting with gay servicemen.

“These conversations showed me just how much the military has changed, and that gays and lesbians can be accepted by their peers,” Shalikashvili wrote in a newspaper opinion piece quoted by the Associated Press.

A few columns ago I wrote that there is still a market for homophobia in the U.S. That was in response to that idiotic Snickers Super Bowl ad with the kissing mechanics ” it was before Ann Coulter gleefully used the word “faggot” to giggles from her right-wing audience.

Even Hillary Clinton, who milked a photo op in Selma, Ala. for all it was worth, couldn’t quite bring herself to defend homosexuals. When CNN asked whether she though homosexuality was immoral, she said “Well, I’m going to leave that to others to conclude.” Pathetic. Soulless. I hope she drops out of the race so she can pander in the privacy of her own home.

She left it to conservative Virginian Sen. John Warner to stick up for gay Americans.

I can imagine decades from now my daughter watching Coulter’s and Pace’s gay-bashing and having the same feelings of disgust I had when seeing pictures of the Ku Klux Klan from the mid-20th Century.

And hopefully she will feel the same comfort I felt to know Coulter’s and Pace’s worldviews have faded into history along with the Klan’s.

We’re supposedly spreading freedom and democracy in Iraq, while bigotry blossoms on the homefront in the speech of two of the violence’s greatest defenders.

They can defend their war and their ignorance, but Gen. Peter Pace and his fellow hatemongers aren’t defending my America.

Assistant Managing Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 748-2926, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.

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