Wouldn't that be novel; gay soldiers serving openly in the military. People willing to fight and perhaps die for freedom allowed to freely be themselves.
With Barack Obama as president it's not just possible. Thankfully, it's probable.
Out on the stump candidate Obama promised to work toward lifting the ban on gays serving openly, calling the ban is a "counterproductive strategy." A typically Obama-esque way to intellectualize what is a moral imperative: the obligation of the government to fight discrimination which, obviously, includes the institutionalization of "separate but equal."
While this will not be an easy fight -- the passage of the bigoted Prop 8 in California only demonstrates the glacial pace the acceptance of Sexual Orientation moves -- it also won't likely be a return to the belabored hearings of the Clinton presidency which produced the Bizarro World Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) non-policy of not asking what nobody's saying.
But attitudes are changing. According to a Washington Post-ABC news poll 75 percent of Americans support allowing gays to serve openly. That's as compared to only 45 percent in 1993 when Clinton made his effort.
Intentions aside, this policy reversal isn't one Obama can perform alone. That is to say, by Executive Order. As Federal law, DADT must be repealed by Congress. To that end California Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher has introduced a bill to overturn the ban which has picked up nearly 150 cosponsors. And CNN reports: "More than 100 retired U.S. military leaders -- including the former head of the Naval Academy -- have signed a statement calling for an end to" DADT.
For those who believe spiking DADT is just some social do-goodery, it's much more than that. It's a matter of national security, and not merely in terms of filling the "boots" of our military. Since 1998 the US military has discharged more than 58 Arabic and Farsi translators because they were gay. As I've said previously, here we are told again and again that Americans are in a decades-long struggle to secure Western civilization which will require shared sacrifice from all, yet all are not allowed to share the fight.
And all the talk of negative effects on unit cohesion among the ranks, the ability for gays to serve effectively under pressure... Lies. And we know they are lies. They are lies because have already demonstrated distinguished service in some of the hottest spots on the planet. Just not openly so. And the bromides about lack of ability or the erosion of unit cohesion; same nasty things that were said of Black soldiers prior to President Truman signing EO 9981 which ended segregation in the military (at least as policy).
While it will not likely be Obama's priority to dismantle DADT, and honestly it should not be, I would be personally willing to take the bet that as change truly comes to America, the days of this flawed and failed policy are numbered.
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