Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
The policy has long been if you weren’t asked, then you shouldn’t tell. President Bill Clinton, citing the blatant discrimination which existed against homosexuals wanting to serve in the United States military and considering that any legislation which advocated gays serving openly in the military was almost certainly doomed to fail after ideological battles had been waged by Republicans and Democrats and Liberals and Conservatives, devised the best solution to suit the need; “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. In effect what this policy did was to endorse the “downlow” lifestyle. Gay rights groups across America launched scathing attacks on the policy for its requirement that homosexuals lie about their sexuality in order to serve their country. The campaigns for repeal did not gather momentum in the Bush years, as the socially conservative President was unlikely to sign any such legislation into law. And then came Obama.
From as early as 2007, then Senator Obama made it clear that he felt “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was a fundamental wrong, he bemoaned the denial of the right to homosexuals to actively express their sexuality and serve their country, as far as the President presumptive was concerned; the two were not mutually exclusive. This post isn’t about the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the policy. No. This is about America standing up and doing what is right, it is about being true to the words of the Declaration of Independence which state that all men are indeed created equal and endowed with inalienable rights; fundamental among these is the right to the pursuit of happiness. It was therefore an extraordinary feat when on December 18, 2010, the United States Senate voted 65-31 to repeal the policy which former Harvard Law Dean and current Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Elena Kagan called “abhorrent”. The historic nature of that vote is not to be missed. It is more that a vote to repeal a legislation and policy that had long outlived its usefulness. It was a vote which reinforced the ideals of America as a country of freedom, it declared to the world that America is still a place where liberty and rights are respected and most importantly, it brought that great republic one step closer to what President Obama describes as “a more perfect union.” It is unfortunate and deeply troubling that veteran Senators such as former Presidential nominee John McCain would seek to use fear and prejudice to block the repeal. By positing that deaths could occur because of the repeal, the opponents of the repeal tried to set America back two steps, they tried to bring that country back to a place where fear was used to justify inaction. President Obama and the supporters of the repeal have opted to be hopeful rather than fearful and as he said in his campaign for the White House, “there has never been anything false about hope.” This writer applauds the Democratic party, Senator Joe Lieberman, the brave Republicans who did what was right and voted for repeal, President Obama, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen and Defence Secretary Robert Gates for sheer bravery and courage, for standing up and siding with the 77% of Americans and overwhelming majority of army personnel who see nothing wrong with gays serving openly in the military. We await the certification of the repeal by Secretary Gates and President Obama and then for the 60 day period to elapse. And then finally if someone is asked, they can tell.
This entry was posted on January 5, 2011 by Mr. Editor. It was filed under Politics & Current Affairs, Social Justice and was tagged with DADT, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Gays, Homosexuals, Legislation, Military, Obama, Sexuality.