Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy
There has been a lot of buzz lately surrounding the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy regarding gay servicemembers. Much of this has to do with the fact that President Obama promised during his campaign to overturn this outdated policy. But for many, like me, this change is not coming soon enough. According to the media President Obama had too many other issues to focus on early in his Presidency, so DADT had to wait. Even though recently he has begun consulting top defense advisers on how to lift the ban, no one can be sure when that will happen. Defense Secretary Gates has recently said that they are looking into the current policy to see whether or not some gays can still serve if they don’t out themselves. Meaning, if they were outed by some jilted lover or odd circumstance that maybe they can still serve. My opinion on this is: stop wasting your energy on this, and fix the real problem. Looking for loopholes in the broken policy is like putting a bandaid on a gunshot wound. It will do nothing to fix the issue and will cause further anger from those looking for real answers.
President Obama: Do Better. I voted for Obama for many reasons, one of them being his stance on DADT. But right now I am downright angry about this. There are many very qualified and decorated servicemembers that are being fired for something that has no impact on their job whatsoever. Recently two active duty men Lt. Dan Choi – a West Point graduate and Arabic Linguist in the National Guard, and Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach-an Air Force Fighter Pilot came out of the closet and have been fired by their respective branches of service. They are both fighting this. There have been millions and millions of dollars spent training just these two men alone. They are not being fired for anything related to their actual service to their country. In fact, they are highly regarded and decorated servicemen. No, they are being fired because of their sexual orientation.
But with the recent media coverage, I am sure you have heard much of that before. Have you heard this, since January 20th there have been over 280 gay servicemembers fired? Did you also know that in under a week over 124,000 people have signed a petition to House Speaker Pelosi urging her to make repealing DADT a priority?
I do not understand why people oppose overturning DADT. I honestly and truly do not get what the big deal is. Are people afraid that if this is changed and gay people are able to openly serve in the military, that there will be an increase in violence? I honestly believe that there won’t. Because I think that the men and women serving in our military are better than that. I believe that they want to do their jobs, and protect our country and fight for our freedoms. They want to do their missions and get home safely to their families. I do not believe for one second that because there is a gay person serving in their unit that it will detract from their safety. And there have been studies done to prove this.
“From this country’s inception, the military has created effective and cohesive fighting units from a fractious and heterogeneous population.” […] and the inclusion of racial and religious minorities in the military has occurred against a wider social backdrop of ethnic hostility, harassment and violence. From a more expansive historical perspective, Evans finds that “the U.S. military has repeatedly been able to attenuate the divisions, antagonisms and distrust that have troubled American culture more broadly. Despite repeated resistance, the U.S. military has throughout its history created cohesive and effective fighting units out of a fractious and diverse collection of civilians, integrating service members with vast differences in cultural background, religious practices, language and belief systems.”
I am not the only LeftFace member that has had a gay family member serve in the military. My uncle served in the Navy during the late 60s. He is very proud to have served in the military, and has fond memories of his time in the Navy. Of course times are much different now, but given the chance to serve his country while being open about his sexuality would have led him to have a much longer career in the Navy. He chose to leave because it was too much of a burden to pretend to be something he was not.
It is not fair for us as a country to tell gay people that – yes you can serve your country, but you have to hide who you really are. You can die to protect the freedoms of others, but you cannot really be free yourself. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell needs to be repealed NOW. All people deserve equal rights. ALL people. After all, isn’t that the premise on which our great country was founded upon?