As we pause today to remember and honor our veterans, let’s be sure we remember to honor ALL of them. The only way we can do that with decency and consistency is to demand a repeal to the U.S. military policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
This policy is not only irrational on its face, it is distinctly un-American in practice. It singles out for punishment a whole group of people not for what they HAVE done, but for what they MIGHT do. This flies in the face of the very principles of American justice. In this country, our legal and judicial system is based on the principle that malefactors must be fairly tried — for crimes already committed — before they may be punished. The concept of punishing anyone for something that has not even been done yet — and that may NEVER be done — is worse than unjust. It is insane.
Two of my best male friends are gay military veterans, as is one of my closest female friends. All three served their country honorably, one of them risking his life in combat in Vietnam. For them now to be considered unfit for military service is absurd. It is itself a dishonorable, foolish and wasteful notion.
The real reason for the white-hot spotlight now focused on gays seems to be to keep it off of the straights whose behavior has, indeed, very often proven less than honorable. A code of conduct applying equally to everybody would be violated by a great many more straights than gays. There are vastly more heterosexuals in the military than there are gays, just as heteros very lopsidedly outnumber homosexuals everywhere else. Every veteran I know, gay and straight, has attested that the overwhelming majority of those who disgrace the uniform with sexual misconduct are, in fact, straight — or, at the very least, that they commit said misconduct with those of the opposite sex. Were we to discharge THEM before they did anything for which they should be punished, there would be nobody left to serve at all.
We cannot bear the beacon of American freedom and justice to every part of the world if we can’t even live up to those values ourselves. It’s time for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to go. And good riddance to it.