Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) — To Repeal or Not to Repeal
If you know me personally, or have read my personal blog at all, it’s pretty obvious that I am a big fat hippie-loving, granola-eating tree hugger. With that, I believe that all people are equal, regardless of their choices. I may not agree with somebody, but that doesn’t make me right and them wrong. To each their own, I say! Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), specifically, is a big issue right now, especially those of us attached to the military community. My personal opinion is a complicated one, because I can see both pros and cons to the repeal.
What I’ve been told in the past by people (i.e. people currently serving in the military) who feel very strongly against the repeal of DADT is that I have no business having an opinion or making efforts to repeal something that does not affect ME directly. I don’t have to serve with “them” (insert any slew of derogatory words and phrases here. Actually. Don’t. Because it’s not nice, Internet.)
But the problem for those people is that Gays & Lesbians CAN currently serve in the military. Which means that to those of you who are currently serving, you probably have worked with quite a few Gays and/or Lesbians and not even realized it. My husband has said that he has known more than a few over his time in the military, and most importantly, IT DOES NOT EFFECT THE JOB THAT THEY DO, nor does he think that it will effect their job if they are allowed to fully “come out.” Initial studies through congress and through other avenues have also shown that others serving in the military, who have experienced these same situations, feel the same way. There are obviously those who think it should stay the way it is, but regardless of their personal opinions (supporting a gay lifestyle or not), the general consensus is that being gay doesn’t matter, as long as the job is done correctly.
I think the fear, at least from those that I know that are severely homophobic, is that every gay man currently serving in the military has a closet full of pink feather boas and sequined mesh tops waiting to be busted out, that all of a sudden those who are gay will be hitting on people left and right, and “forcing” their feelings and such onto others. You will know longer be safe in that fox hole down range because OMG he’s staring at your ass instead of trying to get the job done. Well guess what — if he’s gay, he’s probably already taken a glance at your ass. And look — you’re still alive. I have known many, many gay men in my life, and trust me — those who DO own pink feather boa’s and sequined tops are far too girly to ever serve in the military.
The issue, however, is causing more of a debate between those in office then I think those it would actually affect, and the switching and whipping around of ideas and opinions is enough to make my head spin. So why do we care what Congressman Joe Blow in office feels about this? We all know that congress is full of double standards. How many preach moral and family values, but then cheat on their wives? John McCain, one of the loudest opposers of repealing DADT, has said in the past that the top military officials should be the ones to make the decisions, but recently has changed his tune saying they should be left out of it. It’s confusing. And honestly, who cares? Adm. Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff has said the 16-year-old policy needs to be repealed, and has vowed to take a good look at how it would effect our military before doing so. So how about we let him do his job, huh?
The Cons of Repealing DADT
But what about the con’s about repealing DADT? The biggest argument has been to not mess with the military — to do a “social experiment” — in the time of two wars. Isn’t that just an excuse, though? Aren’t we ALWAYS in some sort of conflict? The United States Army is essentially the police of the world, and we are always somewhere, doing something. So if not now, then when? Iraq is in the process of being phased out, and Afghanistan — well, we don’t really know when that is going to be over. There will never be a “good” time. So why not now?
Then there is always just people in general, and the dynamic of some of the people in the military. It’s no surprise that a large population of the military are born and raised red state residents. With this comes a typical stereotype that I hate to bring up, but have seen proven to be true more times than not. My personal fear, and this is why part of me believes that the repeal of DADT may not prove to be as good as we hope, is because there are a lot of idiots out there who would do something stupid and harm an innocent person just because they don’t agree with their lifestyle choices. Case in point, my husband, who is currently out-of-state on training, told me that because one of the guys in his training unit is “suspected” to be gay. To him, it’s no big deal, but to others it apparently was. Said soldier came back to his room one night to find a very derogatory word written on his door in shaving cream — it had been on for some time, and shaving cream has a way of taking paint/stain off of a door. Which means after he cleaned it up, he continued to have to look at it.
It’s those type of actions, and the ones that I fear that will be much worse, that scare me about a repeal. Because all it takes is one. 99.9% of services members may not have an issue with it, or may not act on disapproval. But its the loud ones — the ones who will treat them differently because all of a sudden they are “out,” or say crude things, or even worse, physically hurt somebody — that scare me the most. I would hate to see a good person, who is just trying to serve their country and do right by what they believe in, and do their job. It’s disgusting, and it’s sad. But there are people out there who would do something. Something bad. And it’s that fear that makes me wonder if it’s a good time. However, my own counteraction to that argument is that there are ignorant, close-minded people out there NOT in the military. People are still burning crosses for Christ’s sake. People are ugly and mean. No matter what your job is.
I think, overall, the policy needs to go away. You’re uncomfortable if one of your soldiers brings a same-sex date to the dine in? Deal with it. I’m uncomfortable knowing that you sleep with a different woman every weekend, or that you’re cheating on your wife (which I have seen more times than I care to talk about).
You shouldn’t have to hide who you are. People should be allowed to be themselves. Whether you agree with their choices or not. It’s not up to us.