Ask, Tell, and Live in Spain

By DuncanRhys C. Liancourt

–This is not, though I write from Madrid, about splendid Spanish food. It is not about architecture, shopping, wine, or museums. It could have been, and it most likely would have been but for events in America. This is about a hugely successful democracy, a democracy that has achieved a level of equality for its citizens to make any democracy jealous and ashamed. This is about a democracy called by American philanthropist George Soros a “model of integration.” This is about Spain’s democracy that at 35, 199 years younger than America’s, has gay military service, gay marriage, and is the support and hope, according to El Pais, of “10 to 12 million Roma people–the largest ethnic minority in the European Union.”
Where Spain says Ask, Tell, Serve, Wed, and live America says Don’t ask, Don’t tell, Don’t serve, Don’t wed, Don’t live.
Spain’s gay, lesbian, and trans citizens may serve openly in the military. They may marry, and have been able to do so for 5 years. Right now the repeal of the military DADT policy supported by most Americans, most generals, most politicians, and no one less than our Secretary of Defense is frozen in the senate while men and women who are serving must forgo the rights and joys of full personal lives taken for granted by most people. They must continue to lie and live lies. They must live in fear of being “outed” and having their careers ended. They are all giving of their lives to defend the lives of all Americans and many are risking their lives, while being refused lives of promise equal to those of their non serving neighbors.
Americans in five states may marry whomever they chose, but those marriages are not American marriages but merely of their states. They are unequal for being unsanctioned by the government of the United States of America.
Americans like John McCain are frantic to wall off Mexico. His state of Arizona pushes against our constitution so it can stop people that ‘look like illegal immigrants’ while insisting against history and logic that such a thing could lead to racial profiling. Meanwhile “Spain,” according to El Pais, “has become a leader in terms of initiatives to guarantee that over half a million Gypsies can enjoy the same rights as all other citizens.”
Spain is not perfect. The El Pais headline is “The moderate success story in a bleak European panorama.” The subtitle is eloquent and rather mature for so young a democracy: “Spanish Roma community has become increasingly integrated since return of democracy, although there is more to be done.” What a difference an “although” makes. Spain is rightfully proud of it’s achievements but grown up enough for self reflective criticism and an admission that they have further to go.
I love my country, but I can’t help but wonder if it is going through the terrible two-hundreds. It seems forever to be throwing tantrums. When it can’t get what it thinks it wants right away it screams I HATE YOU! until red-faced and breathless. It tells some outrageous fibs. Worst of all, it does not want to share, not even those things that are not its to withhold. I wonder if modern Spain–smart, sexy, 35 year old that it is–would date an older guy like me, at least until Little Sam grows out of this phase? You know, I bet it thinks older (slightly!) people deserve equality too.

One Response to “Ask, Tell, and Live in Spain”
  1. Spain would be lucky to date you, dear DuncanRhys. And if he gives you a villa in Barcelona with a view of the Mediterranean, please be sure there’s a glamorous guest room for me when I come visit. No ugly, red-faced, indignant Americans allowed.

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