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06/15/2010

The rainbow conniption

by Jeremy Hooper

If we were talking about any other group of people, crude imagery from the most extreme opponents would be resoundingly called out for what it is. But when it comes to Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal, day in and day out we see groups like the Concerned Women For America turn colorful imagery against our community, an unrefined shorthand for the supposed damage they want folks to believe will come to an inclusive U.S. military:

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Soldiers in colored headbands? A "rainbow pentagon"? Don't be fooled here: These CONcerned Women aren't honoring pride month. The rainbows aren't good-natured, the way ours or any other pro-equality outlet's would be. The obvious idea is to make gays seem concurrently aggressive and weak: On one hand out to destroy the military, on the other hand meant to emasculate it. This from an organization that one would think would have an interest in shattering, not fostering, preconceptions based on gender/orientation.

It'd be easy to write off as churlish and childish, were the implications not so serious. But the reality is that this group, CWA, has joined forces with the coalition that's working with members of Congress to stop open service from ever taking benign, peaceful flight. When a well-spoken advocate on our side gets booked as a cable program's pundity "point," someone like CWA's Penny Nance or Wendy Wright get the "counterpoint" slot. Equal footing, equal time. And for the most part, these kinds of sophomoric insults go unaddressed the host. Even though there is such a CLEAR difference between the way our two sides engage and between the motivations underlying the work, groups like CWA are always presented as merely a conservative interest group -- nothing more. The situation itself is largely painted as an "agree to disagree" kind of thing.

Frankly, it's nauseating. Brave men and women are laying their lives on the line for this nation, defending the right of groups like CWA to use their speech for the purpose of discriminatory slighting. And the best thanks CWA and Co. can offer the gay and lesbians in camo is an insinuation that their 'moness will literally reshape the Pentagon on the inside and figuratively repaint its outer shell? I don't know but I've been told: These Concerned Women are eye-openingly goaled!

And again: Redress that toy solider with imagery meant to slight any other group and ask yourself if so many eyes would turn blind.

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