Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The real threat of repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell

When Senators McCain and Sessions get all worked up about the very idea of repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, they couch their objections in terms of unit cohesion and making sure that units don't become sexualized. Now, of course, arguments centering on unit cohesion are exactly the arguments made against desegregating the armed forces. And, anyone who believes that units are currently sexualized has never spent time in groups of young men in any context: the military, a college dorm, a bar (of any type) on a weekend night.
So, what is the real threat of repeal. I propose that it is just this: if you let soldiers and sailors and marines and airmen know that there are gays among them—and let me tell you, there are lots of gays and lesbians among them, living in a military town and being gay makes this abundantly clear—they might actually realize that gays and lesbians aren't any different than anyone else. If you spend time with Blacks, you realize that Blacks and Whites aren't really that different; if you spend time with Latinos, you realize that Latinos and Anglos really aren't that different; and, if you spend time with gays, you might just realize that they aren't so different either. And, if that happens, what will the culture warriors do. I mean, if people actually start to know people who are different from them, it gets harder to hate them and oppose their equality. I've no doubt that desegregation of the military helped the Civil Rights movement. And, repealing DADT might just make anti-gay legislation harder to pass and make gays less useful in winning elections. Could that be the real fear?


Jesus J. Ruiz said...

Culture Warrior - haha nice bill reference - i know military life is different than 'civilian' life but the mere fact that one needs to 'hide' who they are goes against our basic fundamental right to free expression.

Tyler Hower said...

I agree, wholeheartedly. And, if the Israeli army—a group with which one does not want to fuck—for instance, can manage to allow openly gay soldiers, I bet we could, too.

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree. Well put!