The Senate’s repeal Saturday night of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy in the United States military, implemented under President Clinton in 1993 as a compromise between allowing men and women to serve openly and downright banning them from service, is much more of a milestone achievement from a symbolic standpoint rather than on-the-ground efficiency. But repeal’s symbolism is striking, nonetheless. It symbolizes, simply, that our politicians are still capable of doing the work they were elected to do.
The absurdity of the policy was that many of the wars our nation has fought have been in the name of freedom -- freedom of expression. But by not allowing gay soldiers to openly serve, we were talking the talk and not walking the walk. The hypocrisy of the policy was beyond shameful for 21st century America.
USA Today reported approximately 13,500 men and women have been dismissed under DADT. The same article quoted a retired U.S. Army special operations forces officer saying he feared the repeal would lead to acts of violence against openly gay service members. If there’s any truth to such a statement, these soldiers are fit for a psychological evaluation and, frankly, have no business serving in this great nation’s armed forces.
From my generation’s view, this whole argument would be laughable, if not for the thousands of men and women who have been dismissed. DADT shouldn’t have occupied the business of Congress for weeks; it should’ve been repealed a decade ago.
The fact that lawmakers were disputing whether someone’s sexual preference matters when it comes to dying for this country shows how behind the curve many senators are.
Over the course of fulfilling my daily professional duties in the past two years, I’ve realized how slow government works. The DADT repeal took too long, but thanks to the persistence of President Obama and Democratic leaders, the repeal was pushed through.
Just as segregation and women’s suffrage seems today, DADT will appear a sad period in this nation’s history. We’re not perfect, but we should be sensible enough to not discriminate based on sexual orientation, be it serving in the military or marriage. When will people get it through their heads that being gay is every bit as “normal” as being straight?