Leaning to the Left

Writing from a liberal persuasion

Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Today

Posted by Beau Winiger on May 12, 2009

We are at fighting two wars at this very moment.  This is no secret.  The members of our military are extremely brave, willing to make sacrifices for our country that most of us could never imagine.  This also is no secret.  Yet for many members of our military there is one secret that they are required to keep in order to remain in military service.  In 1993 the policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was brought into law as a supposed way of allowing homosexuals to serve in the military.  This shameful attempt at equality is still in place, despite President Obama’s stated opposition. 

Over 12,000 members of the military have been kicked out of duty since the law was put into place for their refusal to comply with the law, for their refusal to lie about who they are.  At a time when we need all the soldiers that this country can muster, veterans, willing to fight, are being removed from military service for something which has no bearing on their ability to fight alongside their fellow troops. 

Our military is being weakened on two fronts because of this law.  First, it requires gay members of the military to lie to their fellow troops, thus weakening the bond of trust that is paramount to a strong military.  It also removes skilled members of the military, including such highly needed service members as Arabic linguists, which weakens the ability of the military to effectively perform their duties.  Our stated reasons for being in both Iraq and Afghanistan are, in part, to bring democracy and equality to these countries.  How can we ask soldiers to fight for an equal society when we are not even willing to grant them equality at home?

Although President Obama has stated that he is against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, he has so far been unwilling to take his opposition to Congress.  Claims of patience ring hollow for our fighting men and women who are forced to into a position of lying about who they are as people on a daily basis for the right to fight for their country.  This law has been in place for 16 years now.  How much more patience is needed by our gay members of the military?  How much patience is acceptable when your rights as an American citizen are being trampled by the very country you have sworn to serve?

Today is a day that you, as a citizen that believes in equal rights, can make a difference.  I urge every reader of this article to take a few minutes out of their day and call the White House switchboard at 202-456-1111 and ask for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  This is part of a national effort put on by the organization Knights Out, a group of West Point graduates who are openly gay and wish for the repeal of this law, and is an action specifically brought on by the recent forced resignation of Lt. Dan Choi, an openly gay West Point graduate, an Iraq vet, and Arabic linguist, an infantry officer, who was recently told that his admission of being gay “negatively affects the good order and discipline” of his Army unit.  Such injustice should not be allowed to stand, and it is important for every citizen of this country to stand up against such intolerance.  More information can be found at http://knightsout.org/node/53

Stand up against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as a stand with the military, with those that serve us bravely in times of war and peace, as a stand against intolerance and injustice.  Whatever reason you might need to take a stand, please just take one.

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One Response to “Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Today”

  1. Chuck said

    There was a painful interview that was replayed on NPR a few days ago.
    Here was the standard defense of why Don’t Ask, Don’t tell should be continued.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103784642

    The interview is long but the site includes the Flag and General Officers for the military site which is the main home
    for current and retired military who don’t want Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to be changed.

    Its interesting that their basic argument is that since a majority of personnel are discriminatory towards homosexuals we have to thus have a discriminatory policy to support them. Also stated that 14% of those surveyed would not re-enlist if their is an open policy (notice how the percent of openly gays that have been kicked out are not mentioned here). I realize that there are those who feel it is a bad idea to stir up the military under its current stresses and it appears as though the both sides (in government) are agreeing to wait until we are out of Afghanistan and Irag, but I wanted to make this point

    Their argument is this-american military should adopt a weak policy because people in general are weak. How about-americans are strong and can handle a strong policy
    I would rather have Lt. Dan Choi who speaks Arabic in my military than the 14% who don’t understand people different than them.

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