Out of the closets and into fatigues

"Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" is a policy based on nothing more than bigotry. It is a remnant of dated hatreds which persist in America. Moreover, the idea behind the law makes little to no sense. Rejection of homosexuals is largely based on a belief in the importance of preserving the military’s image. This image contrasts sharply with the false caricature of homosexual behavior that many Americans believe. It is this petty ignorance, on a national scale that prevents the acceptance of gays in the military.

The fact that this law still exists is particularly disturbing given the sector to which it pertains. It can scarcely be believed that our government, which is responsible for preventing private companies from having discriminatory hiring practices, is guilty of the same.

Aside from the moral reasons for repealing "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," it should be observed that the policy is virtually impossible to enforce. Without opening the doors to accusatory witch hunts, those in charge of enforcing "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" have no means of actually doing so thoroughly. And so, many homosexuals already serve openly in our military. It is essentially by random chance that some are discharged based on their sexual orientation.

Yes, some gay men and women do serve openly in the military. This fact means that many straight troops have had the opportunity to serve with their homosexual counterparts. When polled, more than 70 percent of straight troops who had served alongside homosexuals stated that the presence of the latter had either no effect or a positive one on them. The results were substantially less positive among troops who had not served with homosexuals and were merely speculating on the matter. This fact alone proves that the beliefs behind "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" are driven by ignorance.

We are fighting two wars. Regardless of what our actual motivations may be, our government claims that among them is a desire to bring democracy and equality to a region oppressed by religious dogma. It is then profoundly ironic that our government purports to have the best interest of such oppressed groups as women and homosexuals in mind, even as it rejects the latter from its ranks.

Certainly a case can be made that openly homosexual soldiers will be at a risk for prejudice from their fellows following the inevitable overturning of this law. But so too are African Americans and Jews and women and every other group which has been victimized throughout history by the intolerant. None of these groups gained acceptance by conforming to the status quo. Bigotry has never been, and will never be, overcome by bowing to the pressure of the oppressor. Instead, equality is born of those willing to stand–whether they are black, Jewish, female, gay or of any other groups whose station is besieged by ignorance.

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