Tech, you’ve heard a lot from me about different issues this semester.
I hope I have in some ways, whether you have agreed with me or not, helped you to look at issues that are important to this campus and community that may not have otherwise comet to your attention.
Today, I want to leave you with something that I can remind you about in the fall.
Something to look forward to after your travels, endless hours of work and hopefully some well-earned fun.
“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is the current policy that restricts openly gay and lesbian people from serving in the military, and it prohibits the military to pursue disclosure of sexual orientation of its service members.
However, if a person is discovered to be gay or lesbian during their service, they can be discharged.
When it began, DADT was an executive order issued by Bill Clinton in attempt to mitigate more restrictive legislation that made it possible for the military to pursue the disclosure of the sexual orientation of those serving.
It’s about time to mitigate the discrimination of DADT by holding our current president and congressmen accountable to repeal DADT.
We pride ourselves on being “modern,” rational and morally grounded, but we are schizophrenic in thinking so when our friends and neighbors in the LGBT community face discrimination in all tiers of society. Other groups such as women, ethnic minorities and especially immigrants face the same kinds of discrimination — but you’ve already heard me talk about them.
Look around, discrimination is everywhere, whether you choose to see it or not.
Aside from being unjustly discriminatory, DADT is a simply useless, failed policy. For those of you who may have issues with our friends and neighbors in the LGBT community, I challenge you to justify the senseless logic that restricts them from military service when that restriction is directly detrimental to the welfare of our military and national defense.
More than 13,000 people willing to serve our country have been discharged for being who they are, while over 65,000 continue to serve as they hide their identities in fear.
Of that 13,000, hundreds were people with specialized skills, including Arab linguists, who were critical to situations in current combat zones. Because of DADT, the military is discouraging tens of thousands of people who want to serve our country, while punishing and discharging others at a time when morale and recruitment are not favorable.
Not only is that discouragement stupid given our circumstances (to be blunt), it is expensive.
For every person discharged, the military has to spend between $22,000 and $43,000 to replace the spot. Sure, there’s a big disparity between those two figures, but multiply any number you want between them times 13,000 and see just how fiscally irresponsible it is.
I’m sure you could think of better things the military could use that money for rather than using it to send someone off who is willing and able to fight for our country and our home.
The DADT justification for its discrimination is laughable. The argument is essentially saying homosexuality undermines cohesion, unity and discipline in units.
I say this is laughable because dozens of other countries around the world, including our allies, operate with open service policies, meaning that their militaries do not discriminate sexual orientation.
They have had no problems with morale, cohesion, or discipline, and these open service units have worked side by side with our units many times around the world.
Even our own military leaders have acknowledged the need to repeal DADT, including Robert Gates, secretary of defense.
President Barack Obama said he would repeal DADT and it’s time we hold him accountable to do so. Contact your senators and tell them to support the repeal of DADT and support the Military Readiness Enhancement Act that would take its place.
Look for events on campus next semester that are devoted to raising awareness of repealing DADT, as well as other important issues like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Can’t wait until then? Check out the Voices of Honor Tour screening of “Ask Not,” on Wednesday, April 28 at 7 p.m. in Squires Colonial Ballroom. Admission is free.