Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Mythunderstood

Posted on 12 Nov 2010 at 2:45pm

I took one look at where this article came from, the title, and inwardly cringed, “They are making fun of a stereotypical gay lisp and arguing in favor of keeping the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.” After diving into the article, I was reminded to be careful not to stereotype. This article may come from a military college in a deep red southern state but it hits every single point for why the policy is unfair, illogical and should be immediately overturned.

DADT was based on personal morality views, not issues with unit cohesion. Repealing DADT is not complicated; it only takes leaders willing to enforce a single, non-discriminating code of conduct.

Ending DADT is not like fully integrating blacks or women into the military; gays are already serving. Most troops are okay with working side by side with gay soldiers. A majority of the public supports the repeal of DADT, so there is no political risk involved.

It is inevitable that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and law restricting “out” gays from serving will be changed. And yet, very little will change. Gays have always served in the military, only now they won’t have to lie to do it.

The author, Patti Mills, references Aaron Belkin’s article and the in depth discussion and dismantling of five myths surrounding the policy.

DADT was created to promote unit cohesion and military readiness.

Repealing DADT will be complicated.

The integration of women and African Americans into the military offers useful comparisons.

The troops oppose repealing DADT.

DADT is a losing issue politically.

I’m blown away at how the Obama administration has allowed itself to be painted into a corner on this issue when it would have taken so relatively little on their behalf to advance on this important civil rights issue. Instead, Obama’s stubborn intransigence on his precious process, and maybe a deep seated fear he might be perceived as too “soft” (wink… wink…) on gay civil rights issues, has successfully turned this otherwise gift of a publicly popular issue into a political hot potato and no-win situation. Never underestimate the power of active and passive homophobia to cause one to act irrationally to the very point of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

If the Obama administration wants a second term, I suggest they learn how to become less transparent, and predictable in their tired endless pattern of handing conservatives everything they want at the expense of the principals they claimed they stood for. If only Obama had campaigned on the fact everything he claimed he stood for was negotiable, and he was willing to dispose of his principals to make nice with the Republicans and what he considered their equally valid points. It would have made the primary decisions so much easier. This administration has already neutralized and fractured the decades long historic support the Democratic party has enjoyed from the LGBT community.

I would suggest the Obama admin reopen and study the works of Machiavelli, but I fear they already have, and we are the one’s who naively believed their insistent overtures and have actually been quite skillfully played. If so, our only recourse is to regroup, lick our wounds and determine to not ever allow our community to be used as a political football again, especially when it comes to those who have sworn to be our allies. If our community has to begin publicly embarrassing our supposed friends, and our sworn enemies, with non-violent civil disobedience that has just started to reemerge from years of restless hibernation then we must not shrink from it. The time has come for us to realize our equal civil rights and nothing can be allowed to stand in the way of that worthy recognition. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is just one of the promises Obama made to us, but it would have been the easiest to deliver upon had it been an actual priority for his administration.




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