“We hate her,” says the poster that’s been on my bathroom wall for the past 14 years. It was made by the Campaign for Military Service back in 1993, to commemorate how gay and lesbian Americans, and President Bill Clinton, were royally screwed by then- Georgia Democratic Senator Sam Nunn (the “her” reference is to something in gay culture that some of you adamantly claim doesn’t exist – well here it is not existing again from a completely different historical source).
Sam Nunn is the primary reason we have the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy banning gays from serving in the US military. Nunn took it upon himself in the first weeks of the Clinton administration to publicly challenge our new president and make a laughing stock out of him. Rather than let Republicans do the anti-gay dirty work of derailing Bill Clinton’s effort to lift the ban, Nunn decided to take the lead himself. He ran the entire thing. It was horrible. I worked on the effort to lift the ban. I saw what Sam Nunn did from the inside. And he was gratuitously homophobic. Showers. He talked about showers. And what gays might do to straight soldiers in them. He took the media on a tour of a submarine to show how close the beds were to each other – because, again, you know those gays, just can’t control themselves. It was simply horrible.
So, it’s nice that Nunn is now saying “gosh, maybe we should revisit the policy” just in time to become Obama’s possible VP (there’s been talk of Nunn for the job). But give me a break. Did Nunn reverse himself on the policy? Is he now in favor of gay servicemembers serving openly in the US armed forces? Did he write an op ed for the New York Times proclaiming his mistake? No. Nunn’s big “epiphany” is to suggest that the Pentagon do another study of the policy. Yeah, good idea. Wonder how that’ll turn out.