Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Repeal

In the world of liberal theory, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is a very simple issue. It is a choice between equality and “bigotry”, plain and simple. However, in the real world, the world in which our military men and women serve and in which human nature is realistically disseminated, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is far more complex than the left and the gay lobby would like you to believe.

Today’s California Supreme Court ruling aside, the gay rights movement has had some victories of late involving the gay marriage issue. In reality the entire gay marriage debate is over the meaning of the word “marriage” and the consequences of our nation moving towards one side or the other will not have any tangible impact on anyone whatsoever. If the gays are denied the right to “marry” they will be upset, but will still be permitted to spend their lives with whomever they wish and pending some sort of civil union legislation they will enjoy the same legal rights as any other couple. If gays are given the right to “marry”, those who believe that marriage should remain between a man and a woman will be upset, however the fact that gay weddings are occurring will in no way directly impact their lives or weaken the significance their own traditional marriage. If God is upset by gay marriage then he can sort it out in his own time.

Allowing gays to serve openly in the military is a far more sensitive issue and one that could have real consequences that impact America’s most important government institution in a very real way. Ironically, gay marriage is the controversial issue over which the nation is split, while the American people overwhelmingly support allowing gays to openly serve in the military. What this should tell us is that the American people are viewing the issue through the lens of liberal theory and are not aware of the arguments being made by many who actually serve in the armed forces, where opinion is still on the side of keeping “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” intact.

Liberals argue that gay individuals serve in our military with honor and distinction and fight with the same ability and love for country, as do straight soldiers. I have no doubt that this is true.

Liberals also argue that dismissing soldiers from the military once they have come out of the closet has cost the military nearly $300 million dollars over the fifteen years, due to increased recruiting efforts needed to replace them. While I find it amusing that liberals are suddenly touting the benefits of saving government money, while at the same time supporting the spending binge that has thus far defined the Obama era, there is no doubt that dismissing gay soldiers has its costs. These costs are not only monetary. Gay soldiers also serve as specialists in vital areas and the armed forces is undoubtedly weakened every time one of these individuals outs themselves and is subsequently dismissed.

These consequences are unfortunate, but they are not consequential enough to warrant undertaking what would essentially be a social experiment with unknown results in an institution responsible for protecting our lives and the lives of countless others throughout the world..

What many liberals and gay activists are overlooking here, either willingly or out of ignorance, is that while the enlightened among us, including many who are in favor of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, harbor no ill will towards homosexuals, there are still people in our society who do. There are still those who are incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of homosexuality, viewing its practice not only antithetical to the laws of God, but also to the laws of nature. The gay movement has itself made the argument that these views and those who would act on them in a violent or other wise hostile way towards homosexuals are still so prevalent in our society that special legislation is necessary in order to protect gays and lesbians from these people in the form of Hate Crimes laws. Yet, at the same time, they seem to brush aside the fact that individuals with views such as these could exist in army barracks and fox holes.

You cannot change an individual’s heart or mindset by way of legislation, however well meaning. To this fact the gay lobby and other liberals reply “So what?” They assume that if ignorance and bigotry are present, the target of such hateful views will undoubtedly be strong enough to ignore it and the commanding officers will put a quick stop to any unfair practices or rhetoric aimed at the openly gay soldier. The only problem is that no one can guarantee this. Nor can one guarantee an absence of violence or abusive speech from intolerant soldiers towards gay service members. In fact, I’m guessing that problems will arise and will become public knowledge since the American media has an insatiable appetite for stories involving both gays and military matters. The exposure of these internal issues will embarrass both the military and the nation as a whole as well as those who fought so hard to have “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repealed, and who told us that no harm would come from lifting the ban.

Our military is the envy of the world and keeping it that way requires that the men and women who serve in it work together as a unit. Maintaining morale and preventing dissension and infighting in the ranks is essential to maintaining the well-oiled military machine, especially during a time of war. Until everyone is as accepting of those with different sexual preferences as this author, there is far too much risk in pursuing this policy under the banner of social justice.

Unlike many on the left, I trust the military establishment. When our generals make a claim or raise a concern, I take it very seriously. These are not politicians. They are not individuals who are pandering or scrounging for votes. They have no reason to lie or mislead us, nor do I believe that the 60% of active military members who are opposed to repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, are anti-gay. That’s why, when a significant number of generals and other military personnel express deep concern about the prospect of overturning the law, I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt. I can only assume that they have a far better understanding of internal military affairs than gay activists or liberal politicians and I for one am not about to undermine their views by way of legislation until an overwhelming majority of them are confident that overturning “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” would not have any negative impact whatsoever on the day to day internal workings of our military or the public’s perception thereof.

So for now America should keep the imperfect “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy on the books. I can only hope that for most gays currently serving in the military, their service to the United States is more important than openly expressing their sexual preference. If that is the case, then I stand with all open-minded Americans in my hope that someday this policy will no longer be necessary.

-Dan Joseph

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