A different drummer?

Art Buchwald

June 03, 1993|By Art Buchwald

I OPENED the closet and there stood my good friend Frederick.

"I'm not coming out until they resolve the gay issue in the armed services."

"That's only fair. Do you have any great ideas?"

"It so happens I do. The problem is that the gays have been serving honorably and are upstanding American citizens. The more we declare our patriotism, the bigger fuss there is about letting us in the service.

"I think we should announce that we are against serving in the military and will not go," Frederick said. "It will be just like the Vietnam days -- we'll throw our bodies in front of tanks at gates of Army bases and burn American flags. We'll even threaten to go to Canada."

"That's tough stuff," I said.

"If we announce that we won't serve, then America will demand to know why we refuse to defend our country. Congress will pass laws insisting that gays do their time in the armed forces or go to jail. There'll be a concerted effort to put us in uniform.

"We'll even talk the president into giving amnesty to all gays who have demonstrated in front of the White House."

"Your plan has merit," I admitted. "When the heterosexuals find out that the homosexuals are against the military, they will rise up in arms and declare that gay people are a bunch of draft dodgers and should be sent to the Bosnian front as soon as possible."

"I'm thinking along the same lines. Up until now, the gays have said that they were willing to serve their country -- and it has gotten them nowhere. When they discover that we want no part of the military, they will attack our patriotism and accuse us of marching to a different drummer."

"Do you believe that all gay people will refuse to go at the same time?"

"I'm sure of it. Gays will do anything to fight for their country. Once the Pentagon realizes that we're organizing an anti-military mob, the generals and admirals will offer us inducements to join up. But we can't divulge any details of our strategy or they won't play ball. If I ever come out of this closet, I'm going to get a gang together and paint anti-nuke slogans on a super nuclear submarine."

"Why do you think that the gays want to serve the military so much?"

"Mainly because the services don't want them. All the Joint Chiefs have to do is change their tune and say, 'Please join us,' and I don't believe that any gay person would sign up."

"Why not?"

"Who needs it? It's a dirty business and no one cares about you in peacetime."

I then asked Frederick the tough question.

"Do you think that lesbians should be permitted in active combat?"

He replied, "Are you crazy? Who wants to share a foxhole with a woman?"

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