As many of you know, when something big happens in the news involving gays (or a number of other subjects), Pam Spaulding loves to hop over to Free Republic to see what sort of hilarious pout-rage and fear their commenters are hunting and pecking onto the internet through their AOL accounts.

Well, as you would imagine, they are feeling frightened, betrayed, outraged and confused by the fact that Admiral Mullen, Defense Secretary Gates, and now even Colin Powell have given full-throated endorsements to repealing the ridiculous policy. Pam collected a bunch of their comments, so you should click over to read them all, but I wanted to highlight one comment that really struck me as particularly funny:

If the ban is lifted homosexuals will flock to the military and overrun it and have the full force of military law behind them, the military will be theirs.

Oh. My. God.

Bear in mind, the commenters at Free Republic think of themselves as the tuffest of the tuff, the patriotest of the gun-totin’est patriots. You know, manly mens! And that’s why this is so funny, because in the space of just over 140 characters, this commenter, whoever he is, has revealed what a terrified scaredy-puss he really is. He’s actually frightened that gay people will take over the military. And do what? God only knows what ludicrous fantasies this poor thing has created in his little head. You see, wingnuts act like they’re the strongest guys on earth, but they’re all false bravado. This person, whoever he is, has concocted a world where gays are the ultimate boogeyman, and has endowed us with superpowers we can’t even imagine. (Really, we can’t, because hey, we’re actually just normal people living our lives.)

But this is the same weak-kneed fear that’s still keeping them up at night over the failed underpants bomber. They’re terrified of everything. “We want our country back!”, they scream. Jon Stewart was right when he said that the country they want back is the country they knew when they were children, whenever that was. These are people who have grown up into weak human beings who reach for their firearms every time they hear the house settle. The only time they can remember not being afraid is when they were children, when they had strong adult figures to shelter them from fear. They want that back. This also explains why they react so positively to empty bravado in presidents, movie characters (they worship Gladiator), and talk radio hosts. In their minds, George W. Bush, Russell Crowe, and Rush Limbaugh are protecting them. (And when they need the good old-fashioned commiseration of a shared night terror, there’s always Glenn Beck. He cries with them!) It’s also, conversely, why they feel threatened by liberals, because they see in us a silent self-confidence that doesn’t feel the need to prove itself. No, we’re really not broken up about the dumb underpants bomber. We want him prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and we want the government to do its job in fixing the holes that allowed him to slip through, but that’s about the extent of it. We’re just not losing sleep over it.

The real reason they’re threatened by gays and lesbians openly serving in the military isn’t their juvenile, prurient obsession with what goes on in military showers. That’s a factor, but it’s not primary, because most of these people have never served and will never serve in the military. No, the real reason is that if gays and lesbians are able to serve openly and honestly, then they, the Free Republic sort of wingnuts, will have to endure the reality of the fact that there are faggots out there who are stronger, faster, and braver than they ever will be. These types fetishize the military beyond belief. The first question they ask when they meet someone who’s recently come home from war is “Did you kill anybody?” Trust me, that is the last question returning troops want to answer. So for these types of people, the mere possibility that the man (and yes, it’s about their fear of gay men) who captured the terrorist they fear the most is a…faggot?…is simply a bridge too far. As long as DADT remains in effect, these Freepers can remain in blissful denial, in a magical land where all gay men are girly and weak, where they never have to consider the possibility that there are gay men and women actively protecting the freedoms they cherish the most.

The picture above is of a billboard put up by the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center a few months back. It’s a simple, nonthreatening message, an acknowledgement of reality. A valiant uniformed Marine. The fact that he’s gay is just one piece of his reality. The billboard was, of course, vandalized within days.

For some, reality is simply too frightening.