My Sun Tzu radio mentor has suggested that I try and do some “big girl writing again” (not just my usual silly blog posts – which you will more than likely still be subjected to – LOL), with a weekly column. Since you know how much I want to make it in the media business, here we go…my first official weekly column.
This past Saturday on my radio show, I tackled the very complex and controversial topic of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).” Rep Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) introduced the Military Readiness Enhancement Act in March that would repeal DADT and ultimately change military rules to allow homosexuals to openly serve in the military. Rep Patrick Murphy (D-PA) has since replaced Ellen Tauscher and his background as the first Iraq War Veteran to serve in Congress has given more credibility to the Military Readiness Enhancement Act. The Obama administration has been extremely radical in its’ first few months in office, and I’m actually a little relieved that the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, has announced that this piece of legislation will be placed on the backburner for the time being to allow for more discussion on the subject and to put higher priority items in the front of the queue. The new Dover Policy which allows media to attend homecomings of fallen heroes, has already been implemented (I am very opposed to this);proposed defense budget cuts have been introduced; and privatizing Veteran’s health care has already come on and thankfully off the table.
I research an average of three hours for my one hour of radio. Part of my research is to place my upcoming subject matter on Facebook, Twitter and my blogs to get other opinions on the subject matter. Opinions on DADT were all over the place and I was pleasantly relieved to read only constructive arguments about homosexuals being able to serve openly in the military. Personally, I had not formed an opinion on this policy because I never felt it my place to tell the men and women in uniform who they should serve with. I figured that our military is the best in the world and others strive to be like us. Who am I as Jane Shmo citizen to say what should or should not be policy? Since Clinton’s failed attempt to allow homosexuals to openly serve in the military 1993, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” or HR 1283 was put in place. This did not change the military rules that ban homosexuality, but allowed those who wished to “stay in the closet” while serving or upon signing up, to do so. Some considered “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” as a step in the right direction while others were against it. Since DADT was implemented, about 13,000 have still been discharged from the military for homosexuality.
My guest on my show Paul McNeal, a former sailor who left the military as he was tired of having to hide his personal life, said that he could not open a letter from his love interest for fear of retaliation while being deployed. I personally can’t imagine serving my Country as a gay American and having to keep my private life so separate that I could not even tell anyone who I was dating that night. I can’t imagine having to suppress part of my identity, it would be like serving as less than yourself. The whole “drop the soap” in the shower argument from heterosexual males who are against homosexual males serving, seems so old fashioned. As Paul explained, this is not what the Military Readiness Enhancement Act is about, it is about being a professional in the military and not having to hide one’s identity. As for women, well my first profession was in the field of athletics and working around gay women never bothered me one bit. Whatever the reason, I don’t think allowing women to openly serve as gay would phase many people at all. Personally, I think that the younger generation would be less likely to be opposed to openly gay men and women in the military than the older generations. I think times have changed and homosexuality is more mainstream than it was when I was a kid. Maybe 2009 is not the right time to overturn this policy, while some of our men and women in uniform are on their third and fourth tour. Why throw another iron into the fire? Why complicate things even more in the middle of the war?
I hope the Military Readiness Enhancement Act can wait a little longer to be pushed through Congress. If it were implemented tomorrow, men and women who are deployed would be unlikely to immediately tell their comrades that they are gay. It is inevitable that the policy of allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military will happen, most likely under a socially liberal administration and with the climate of cultural changes and tolerance in America. It seems like Secretary Gates is fine with not rushing into this and that is just fine with me for now too.