Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Dont Ask Don't Tell BLOW OFF

Full disclosure: I grew up in San Diego, but I don’t come from a military family. In fact, for all the talk you hear of San Diego being a military town, I’m hard pressed to remember one close family friend from San Diego with ties to the military.

For some people, the military is everything — service members protect our freedom, represent our country overseas, and for those with deep rooted ties to the military, it’s a way of life. But I don’t think I ever gave a second’s thought to enlisting, until I found out I couldn’t.

Today, after months of hope that the 17-year-old ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military might finally be overturned, it wasn’t. Not only wasn’t it overturned, but the Democrats couldn’t even rally enough support to bring it to the Senate floor for debate. You can argue that it happened for several reasons: Because Obama didn’t verbalize his support for overturning the ban enough; Because of this lame, months long investigation into how repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” might effect morale and team cohesion; Because politicians vote with their party, not with their heart. But at the end of the day, all of these reasons don’t hold a candle to what it feels like to live another day as somehow “less than.”

I still don’t really want to serve in the military. Frankly, at this point, I’m probably too old to enlist, and even though I made an admirable go at one of those marine base mud runs a few years back, I doubt anyone would want me having their back on the frontlines. But just because I don’t want to be a member of the military doesn’t mean I should be banned from doing so and staying true to who I am in the process.

Republicans will have you believe that “don’t ask, don’t tell” simply means you can’t talk about being gay, but they won’t go prying into your personal life. Sen. McCain told a room full of reporters that very load of BS today. It’s not true. They do pry. Emails have been read, computers hacked — people have even been photographed in line with their significant others at Walmart. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” isn’t just discriminatory — it’s down right predatory. And it sends the message to Americans that there’s something wrong with being gay — that somehow the mere presence of a gay person might lose a war, send troops into a tail spin, even make straight service members powerless to their advances. It’s all scare tactic. Thousands of gay people serve this country every day — the put their lives on the line, collect valuable intel, and yes, God forbid, bunk with straight troops. That they choose not to say anything about their personal lives has less to do with their desire to be an open book and more to do with a decision they’ve made to put homeland over home life.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will one day be lifted — it’s inevitable because it’s the way this country moves… forward, however slowly, not backward. I take some comfort in knowing that for those bigoted politicians out there who are afraid of change and progress, they should only get more scared, because it’s coming. But today, I’m just going to allow myself to feel, for lack of a more eloquent word, screwed… less than… inferior… and, in honor of this blog, blown off.

2 comments:

  1. Awesome Ross. Awesome. I feel screwed, too, and it's not about being gay/straight/trans/military/democrat/republican. It's about being human. It's about respect. I grew up a military brat and DADT is ridiculous. It will be overturned...on that day i will think of you and all of us who have been screwed for way too long. Dana XO

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  2. So well said! We should all feel screwed and I hope there's more of a public outcry about how ridiculous this is. It's hard to believe it's even an issue, should be a no brainer. and you are right, this country does move forward, but hopefully it will pick up its pace soon.

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