Sole Focus

News, Views, Rantings & Ramblings by Carey Parrish

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Location: Georgia, United States

Friday, February 5, 2010

To Repeal or Not To Repeal

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has been a thorn in the side of the government since it was first introduced by President Clinton in the 1990’s. At the time it seemed like a viable way to counteract the problem of gay discrimination by the American Armed Forces and in the very real sense of the words used as a name for the initiative it’s not a bad idea. The problem that the gay community has with this practice is that it denies them the right to express themselves as who they are in their everyday lives. That, by the terms set forth in the US Constitution, makes Don’t Ask Don’t Tell patently illegal.

I for one am somewhat baffled by why the military would care about a soldier’s sexual orientation. It’s not like the gay soldiers are there for sexual purposes in the first place. They are there because of the desire they have to, and the pride they take in, serving their country and - when called upon - to defend it, even with their own lives when necessary. They are skilled and qualified to do the job for which they enlisted and to my knowledge there have been very few examples of impropriety on the part of gay men and women in the military. It seems to me that the people who are causing the problems are the ones who should be minding their own business in the first place.

I’ve heard some very ridiculous arguments against gays in the military. One thing I keep seeing in article after article is the government’s so-called fear that allowing gay servicemen to openly serve is the chance of relationships forming between officers and the generally enlisted which could somehow pose a threat to the chain of command. I don’t get that. It’s like they think this sort of thing hasn’t already been happening.

Human sexuality is a complex and multi layered thing which has been studied by modern science for more than a century. People are attracted to each other for many reasons and military rank, while it could play a part in attraction, will not serve as a deterrent if the attraction is there. Even those who identify as heterosexual will usually admit to having had a crush on someone of the same gender at some point in their lives…and more often than not this attraction has been acted on in some form or another. So this argument about officers sleeping with the enlisted is just baloney.

I also read something equally ludicrous concerning Oliver North saying that he feared a problem with pedophiles if Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is repealed. What? Why would a pedophile join the service if he or she was looking to indulge their fetish? They’re not going to find kids in the army or the navy or any other branch of the armed forces. They’ll be serving with other men and women around their own age. Where does Ollie North get this idea? Why would he think it holds water? Why does he also assume that pedophiles are all homosexual? Damn, Ollie! You’re out in left field on your own with that one.

Homophobia, while it is without question alive and well, is something that people are growing much less tolerant with here in the 21st Century. Discriminating against people because of who they chose to love is just not accepted anymore. Gays and lesbians everywhere are demanding their civil rights and the law cannot deny them. People are entitled to be who and what they are and they are equally entitled to live their lives as they wish. The Constitution guarantees all Americans certain freedoms and the Freedom of Expression is right up there at the top. There is just no getting around it.

As for Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, I can think of no reason why it should be allowed to continue. The Armed Forces are just going to have to accept everyone and be an equal opportunity employer. That is a law too, by the way. If the government supports double standards how can it expect other sectors under its direction to behave any differently. I have a very dear friend who is a gay man and he proudly served in the United States Marine Corps. He loves the Marines to this day and he has stated in more than one publication that his love of the Marines inspires him to want them to be better. I can think of no more honorable attitude than this.

So what’s it going to be? Do Ask Don’t Tell? Don’t Ask Do Tell? Don’t Ask Don’t Tell? How about everybody get on with their own thing and mind their own damn business? I’m a fan of the latter. Problems don’t seem to crop up until you get folks trying to manage other peoples’ lives, which is clearly the case here.

And that is my sole focus for now…