Leaning to the Left

Writing from a liberal persuasion

Posts Tagged ‘homosexuality’

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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Posted in politics | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Hate Speech, or an Articulation of the Conservative Ideals?

Posted by Beau Winiger on May 6, 2009

The social conservative movement is continuing its shuffle into being an obsolete movement.  Consider the case of Joe the Plumber.  Everyone remember him, the guy named Joe, real name Samuel Wurzelbacher, that is a plumber, but not really, that came to fame during the 2008 presidential election?  Well, he is back in the news for an interview he gave with Christianity Today on the subject of gay marriage.  In the interview Joe said that referring to homosexuals as queer isn’t a slander, because it by definition means “strange and unusual”, which in Mr. Wurzelbacher’s mind is a perfect description of homosexuals.  He then goes on to say that his gay friends “know that I wouldn’t have them anywhere near my children”.

Normally I would consider Mr. Wurzelbacher as someone who doesn’t really deserve mention.  After all, he is just a man who has tried to extend his 15 minutes of fame into a career, but he doesn’t have any credentials in the world of politics beyond being asked a question.  But Rush Limbaugh, who commands on audience of some 20 million listeners, and has become a sort of leader for the conservative movement as of late, recently called him someone who can “articulate conservatism”.  He referred to Mr. Wurzelbacher as such the day after his comments regarding homosexuals.  In other words, Mr. Limbaugh believes that someone who thinks homosexuals can’t be trusted around children is a perfect spokesman for conservatism.

Such a statement adds explicit support from a powerful conservative figure, and therefore legitimacy (at least amongst those who find Limbaugh legitimate) to Mr. Wurzelbacher’s statement.  And yet there is no outcry from any conservative leaders.  No conservative leader is willing to stand up to Rush and say they disagree.  Now I am not expecting a conservative leader to say that he agrees with homosexuality or gay marriage, but at the very least I would hope that one would object to such hate speech being typical of the conservative stance towards homosexuality.

How long will we as a people stand for this?  Aren’t we past the point where educated people refuse to give national platform to someone who believes that homosexuality is something to be feared, something that we need to protect our children against?  Whether or not the majority of conservatives agree with Mr. Wurzelbacher and Mr. Limbaugh is not the point.  Their silence on the subject, and Mr. Limbaugh’s continued large listenership, is implicit support of a position that is antiquated and hate-filled. 

The year is 2009, and yet it is still necessary to tell conservatives that homosexuals are normal people.  They are the exact same as straight people.  Their sexual orientation is not some looking glass into what type of person they are.  There are good, upstanding homosexuals as well as bad, immoral homosexuals, in the same manner that there are both types of heterosexuals.  They do not desire special treatment, or special recognition, they only desire to be treated the same as every other person in this country. 

The gay struggle for equality in America is the one of the most important human rights campaigns in America right now.  It is still accepted to refer to something or someone that is stupid or lame as gay.  It is accepted to publicly say that you wouldn’t let homosexuals around your children.  It is accepted to believe that homosexuals should not be allowed to adopt because they are unfit to be parents.  Homosexuality is a product of being born.  That is it.  It makes no more sense to discriminate against homosexuals than it does to discriminate against women, minorities, etc, and yet the hate and discrimination continues without a second thought, an ingrained piece of our culture, a person that everyone can join in and discriminate against.  Every single person in this country should be against discrimination, in any form, yet there are many unwilling to join in the fight for equal rights for homosexuals. 

Let me repeat, I do not expect conservatives to support gay marriage, at least not right now.  But I do not believe it is not asking too much for them to turn their backs on those in the conservative movement that feel that blatant discrimination and hate speech against homosexuals is acceptable.  Those that make such statements, and anyone who doesn’t believe those statements are a big deal, are un-American.  That is not a term lightly thrown around, but is there any other name for someone who doesn’t believe the Founding Fathers were correct in proclaiming that they wished America to be a place where all people were created with “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”?

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Posted in politics | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »