Thursday, March 16, 2006

Makes you wonder what the "Q" in "Q Clearance" stands for...

The Bush White House has managed to piss off gay activists again. Not that this is shocking; it's become almost relfexive with that crowd. Dick Cheney could pass out free beer at the San Francisco Pride parade and they'd say it was part of a GOP plan to make gay people fat. This time it revolves around an addendum to sub-paragraph C, page 237 of some obscure federal code; the one that governs security clearances.

Living in close proximity to Oak Ridge, home of the Really Big Firecrackers, it seems like everybody I know has a security clearance. Hell, my neighbor's dog has a security clearance. When they were making this security clearance stuff up back in the dark days of the Cold War, they sat down and made a list of everything that would render somebody blackmailable by mustache-twirling Trotskyites, and made it a big No-No for security clearances. At the time, batting for the other team was not only a cause for social ostracism, but it was actually a crime in most of the US, so of course it was put on the list.

In 1997, somebody noticed that gay folk were almost twenty-three times as likely to have their own prime-time TeeVee sitcom as they were in 1957, and this, combined with the fact that mustache-twirling Trotskyites were in short supply, led to a revision stating that security clearances could not be denied "on the basis of sexual orientation". Now the Bush administration has added "solely" to that line and started the hooraw referenced above.

Note that this changes nothing; there are people out there who live in mortal fear that if some mustache-twirling Trotskyite showed their mother a picture of them standing in line to buy a ticket to Brokeback Mountain, she'd be on the phone demanding interior decorating tips before you could say "Queer Eye", and those people probably shouldn't have access to atomic bombs.

But hey, the weirdest things get made into political fodder these days...


Anonymous said...

I had a Q until 2002 (since left that job) and they're all about the gay questions in the interview.

Abject Disappointment said...

"Trotskyite" is an incorrect term for anyone representive Soviet Russia from Post World War II (1945) until the fall of Soviet Russia. Trotsky was exiled, and later assassinated, by Stalin and his ilk ... leaving that bastion of bastardized Leninism to rule Soviet Russia. If you read Trotsky's work (or that of Gramsci), the current administration has more in common with the term "Trotskyite" than Soviet Russia ever did.


Countertop said...

Its actually a legitimate issue depending on the reason they use it.

Most folks doing a background check that I know here in DC could give a rats ass about a persons weird fetishes. However, when that person hides those fetishes or is otherwise reluctant to publically acknowledge them, then they become an issue since their disclosure can potentially be used as blackmail to force someone to disclose a secret (at least thats the theory/fear). So, if you like to play with your team, and dont hide the fact, then its probably ok. But, if you are playing in the closet, it becomes an issue.

phlegmfatale said...

So, countertop, if a person crows about a foot fetish, that would be considered disclosure and not weird? I'm just checking, my sickness for shoes may put me out of the running. And the spanking thing. I'm just saying.

Anyway - excellent post, Tam. You cut to the bone, as per usual.

Tam said...

"abject disappointment",

Yes, but what I am writing here is humor, not a master's thesis for PoliSci.

"Mustache-twirling Trotskyite" sounds funny; "Soviet intelligence operative", while technically correct, does not.

All of me on the VFTP Management Team thank you for your concern, however, and I promise not to send any ice-axe wielding NKVD types to look for your hideout. ;)


(If you'd chuckle once in a while, you might not suffer from such abject disappointment. :) )

Tam said...

PS: Incidentally, the pertinent regulation probably isn't "sub-paragraph C on page 237" either. I just pulled that bit out of thin air as well because it sounded suitably obscure.