Saturday, December 11, 2010

Don't Ask Don't Tell

If you’re not gay and in the military, don’t ask don’t tell doesn’t seem like too bad of a deal at first. What if they applied it to cripples? In order to be allowed to fully mingle in society, all we would be legally required to do would be to make some attempt, no matter how inept, to pretend we’re not crippled. In exchange, everyone else would be legally required to act like they believe it. So in my case, I could get a huge box like a refrigerator box and fashion it to fit around my wheelchair and decorate it with streamers and flowers and claim I’m riding in a parade float. I’d waive my Miss America waive. And no one would be allowed to dispute my claim because at least I’m making an effort to appear to be normal. Discriminators would have to be more discriminating in their discriminating.

This don’t ask don’t tell deal could work well with all kinds of cripples. Blind people could always say they’re just out walking their dogs. People who have seizures, when it’s all over, they can say it was an improvisational dance. Little people could walk around on stilts.

But I know that before long, somebody would blow my cover, probably some wise ass delinquent kid. I was rolling through Chinatown in Washington, D.C. once just minding my own damn business when all of a sudden this kid about age 12 starts walking beside me. He looked Chinese. I could tell by his contemptuous smirk that he was a snotty little shit.

“You’re short!” he snorted.

“I’m as tall as you,” I said.

“But I’m standing and you’re sitting down!” said the little weaselly runt. “And you got a big head!”

I saw this as a teachable moment, a rare opportunity to help a young person learn a valuable lesson about tolerance. So I said, "Hey kid, cram it."

But it would be some punk ass kid like that who would violate the protocol and spout something like, “That ain’t a parade float! That’s a wheelchair!” Or eventually I know I’d get worn out under the weight of trying to pass and not want to do it anymore. But the minute passing cripples stop keeping up their end of the bargain, all bets are off. And then all of those who have had to grit their teeth and play along with our charade will finally be free to dump their pent up resentment on us, and they will.

So maybe the only fair thing to do when it comes to sexual preference is to apply don’t ask don’t tell to everyone. Nobody, be they hetero or homo or what have you, is allowed to express a sexual preference in public, for fear that someone might find it to be creepy. Because the problem is that we as a nation have not reached a consensus on the definition of creepy. Some people say we should let Jesus decide what is creepy, but I don’t know about that. Jesus is a nice guy and all, but he’s kind of a tight ass about a lot of things. Pretty much everything creeps him out.

Creepiness is very subjective. I remember in the 1980s when Senator Jesse Helms, the late bigot, waxed venomous on the Senate floor about how those disgusting, hell-bound gay people were spreading AIDS. I thought to myself, you better be careful what you wish for, Jesse. Because if we start sending consenting adults to jail because we find their taste in sex partners disgusting, if I’m ever in charge, the first person I’ll be forced to lock up will be Mrs. Jesse Helms.

There needs to be a presidential commission formed for the purpose of coming up with recommendations on how to define creepy. Their report can be used as a blueprint for legislation and if it is approved by two-thirds of the House and Senate and three-fourths of the state legislatures, we can add an amendment to the Constitution proclaiming once and for all exactly who and what is creepy. And then we’ll know exactly who can be shunned.

Or we can apply don’t ask don’t tell to everyone. That will make our hetero heads explode. I know mine will.

We’ll all be out on the streets demanding repeal.