Last week, our lawmakers were treated to a panel on the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prevents openly gay and lesbian soldiers from fighting for their country. (Balko points out that 58 Arabic translators have been booted under "don't ask, don't tell" - think they could have been useful?) For some reason that escapes us here at ONAF, the anti-gay forces on the right chose Elaine Donnelly as one of their witnesses at the hearing, despite the fact that Donnelly's credentials on the matter are somewhat questionable. According to Post columnist Dana Milbank, she promptly delivered one of the most hilarious moments of unintentional comedy Congress has seen in a while. A few choice morsels:
Donnelly treated the panel to an extraordinary exhibition of rage. She warned of "transgenders in the military." She warned that lesbians would take pictures of people in the shower. She spoke ominously of gays spreading "HIV positivity" through the ranks.Racist and homophobic in the same breath? Awesome. Milbank points out that the incident Donnelly refers to happened in 1974, though Milbank must have an awesome research department because I couldn't find another reference to it online. But wait, there's more:
"We're talking about real consequences for real people," Donnelly proclaimed. Her written statement added warnings about "inappropriate passive/aggressive actions common in the homosexual community," the prospects of "forcible sodomy" and "exotic forms of sexual expression," and the case of "a group of black lesbians who decided to gang-assault" a fellow soldier.
Then came Donnelly, severe in a black jacket with a flag pin on her lapel as she attacked the "San Francisco left who want to impose their agenda on the military." She spoke of the "devastating" effect gay soldiers would have on the military and said "people who do have religious convictions" would be driven out of the military by the "sexualized atmosphere."Ooh, and this:
"We are not talking about a Hollywood role here," Donnelly lectured the lawmakers.
[Arkansas Democrat Vic] Snyder asked [retired Navy captain, lesbian, and panelist Joan] Darrah about Donnelly's reference to "passive-aggressive actions common in the homosexual community," saying, "I'm almost tempted to ask you to demonstrate."The lawmakers' reactions are great, too. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), an Iraq War veteran, almost explodes. Chris Shays (R-CT) practically yells at her. The quote of the day, though, goes to Snyder, responding to Donnelly's concerns about HIV:
Darrah was stumped. "Like a woman who is stared at, her breasts are stared at," Donnelly explained. She further explained the "absolutely devastating" effect of homosexuals "introducing erotic factors" and made a comparison to Sen. Larry Craig's adventure at the Minneapolis airport. She said admitting gays to the military would be "forced cohabitation" and a policy of "relax and enjoy it."
"By this analysis . . . we ought to recruit only lesbians for the military, because they have the lowest incidence of HIV in the country."I don't have anything to add. I'm sure there are reasonable people who support "don't ask, don't tell," but in the absence of reasoned debate, we'll take high comedy.