Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DADT In Retrospect

It has been a week since the official repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell went into effect. Over the last few weeks, this policy has been discussed quite a bit; from the fact that the clock was running out on it while last-ditch efforts were attempted to stall it to the past week’s Republican presidential debate. Here are some thoughts.

It is very obvious that this policy was highly discriminatory. Heterosexual soldiers could talk about their significant others while homosexual soldiers were restricted from doing the same. Double-standard. It is an insult to say to a soldier, “You can die for your country, but you can’t talk about who you’re dating.” That is precisely what DADT did. What a way to show how much you respect American soldiers who risk their lives for your freedom.

This policy is also incredibly insulting to straight soldiers because it assumes that they are all (or mostly) incapable of working and fighting alongside their gay counterparts. We know that, at the time of the repeals legislative victory, this was not the case. I super-majority of soldiers polled (out of several hundred-thousand who were asked) said that they would be able to work with openly gay service members in their units. Even though there was a statistically significant number who said otherwise, I’m sure the same would have been true if such a poll had been performed when the military was racially desegregated. The military got over it and we are still the most powerful military the world has seen.

It’s also a pretty ridiculous notion that when bullets are flying and one may be a second from death that a soldier would be more concerned that the gay guy next to him may be checking him out than, oh, I don’t know, NOT DYING!!! It goes to show where the heads of simple-minded people really are.

We all know that pretty much each of the GOP candidates for that party’s nomination for 2012 want to turn back the clock on DADT and reinstate it. Most notable among these is Rick Santorum (who has little to no real chance of winning the nomination, let alone a general election). Here is what he had to say in the last debate:

Unpatriotic booing aside (that would require a completely separate post), he really shows how he and his fellow candidates are out of touch. Not only was most of the military okay with getting rid of this policy, most Americans, even most rank-and-file Republicans, supported the repeal. They also don’t get that this isn’t about sex, no matter who it may be with. This is about not having to worry about losing your job just because you may mention (in passing) that you are dating someone of the same gender. Sexual orientation has zero impact on one’s ability to be a great soldier, nor should it have an impact on the people around them (if it does, THEY are the ones who have the problem).

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell going into the scrap heap of history (and hopefully staying there) is an obviously good thing for this country and the people, all of them, who defend it. Putting discrimination in the past where it belongs helps us to move forward to a more equal tomorrow. Now to get to work on DoMA…

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