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Vermont Robert Sheridan bobsheridan There is an old expression that we heard as kids, and sometimes used, I forget when, maybe when someone told us we couldn't do something we wanted to do and it wasn't hurting them if we did it.

"It's a free country," it went.

Sometimes I think it's a great saying we should pay attention to, but then I start thinking about all the rules we have in every sphere that govern lots of conduct. Not to mention the principle that there's no such thing as a free lunch, so how could there be a free country. Somebody is paying for everything, somehow.

But then I got to thinking the other day, when I read about the Eagle Scout who was tossed out of the Boy Scouts of America when it turned out that given a choice of loving a man or a woman, he turned his back on the woman.

So now that case is in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, which is where most good questions go to die.

Then we have the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Even Think About It" policy regarding homosexuals in the military.

Like the defenders at Thermopylae didn't know about homosexuality. Hell, if they didn't invent it, they perfected it.

How about this for a policy. If it walks and I screw it, it's none of your freakin' business (except if it's too young).

After that, we could have rules, like:

No sex in the Army.

No sex in the Boy Scouts.

What you do on your own time, however, that's up to you.

Just don't do it in public and frighten the horses, as the saying goes.

That way I don't have to worry who you like to screw. You don't have to worry who I like to screw.

That way, "It's a free country."

Suppose I wanna live with my girlfriend. Or my wife. Or my boyfriend. Or my dog. Or the whole damn bunch of them.

What business is it of yours?

Do you have a problem with that?

Let me see your sexual rap sheet.

If it's clean, you can talk.

Otherwise, as Da Man said, "He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone."

As I recall the story no stones were thrown. More likely the victim was buried in stones, but that would kill the point.

Two people wanna live together, whaddo I care whether it's to share the rent, or share a bed?

They wanta piece of paper that says it's okay, whaddo I care? It costs me what exactly?

They've got Mormon fundamentalists in Utah with more wives than crazy people have cats. If he can afford 'em, the wives, that is, more power to him.

Muslim law, I'm told, allows a guy to have four wives. More power to the guy who can afford it. Tell me that doesn't increase the headaches, but it's his headache and let him have fun. He can pay the freight.

I like the idea of minding my own business. I like the idea of knowing what's going on, but I don't feel the need to condemn because someone wants to live his life differently than I mis-lead mine. I don't tell him what to do, and I appreciate it if he doesn't tell me what to do.

We have a way of romanticizing some things. Marriage. Women. Unit cohesion. National security. Children.

Lots of mischief occurs in the name of an idealized projection of some really down-to-earth stuff.

When's the last time we romanticized some slob who happened to be someone's wife or kid. We seem to get unromantic in a hurry after we've looked closely and seen the warts.

So I'm in favor of a constitutional amendment that says, "It's a free f*cking country! And anyone who doesn't like it can stuff it in their pipe and smoke it."

We'll make an exception for laws prohibiting behavior that we vote on, majority rules, subject to Supreme Court interpretation in light of the new amendment.

How would that be?

What I think it does is to allow, by ignoring, status, which becomes legally meaningless. If you want to outlaw specific behavior, such as we do in other areas, such as no shooting bullets at people, you could still do that.

Homosexuals could be in the army, they just couldn't make passes.

Homosexuals could be in the Boy Scouts, they just couldn't wear pink tutus when marching in the parade down Victory Boulevard.

That sort of thing.

Would that work?

I don't think I coulda thought this up when I was living in Four Corners. But now it's thirty-five years down the road and I can.

I've come a long way from FawCawnahs!


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