Well, my news story can be found: here. It's an article about how Obama has made some comments about possibly repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding gays in the military.
I can't express how happy it makes me to hear that. I don't know if it will actually happen, but in my opinion, it's absolutely out-of-this-world absurd that this policy even exists.
Let me throw out a little bit of information before I go into my opinion.
- The policy prohibits anyone who "demonstrates a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" because "it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability."
- On top of that, a national poll conducted in 2008 showed that 75% of Americans have no issue with openly gay people serving in the military. (Including 80% of democrats and 66% of republicans!)
- There is evidence that over 65,000 gays are currently serving in the military, and there are over 1,000,000 gay veterans.
- So far, since 1994, almost 13,000 gay members of the military have been discharged due to their sexual orientation.
- The only 3 countries that are members of NATO who do not allow open gays to serve in the military are the US, China, and Russia. All other TWENTY SIX allow it.
Oh wait, there is none. ;) But, okay, seriously-
First of all, I think it's outrageous that anyone with an IQ (or even without?) could think that someone who is gay would jeopardize the "high standards" of morale that the military apparently has. I can think of at least 5 other things that would/do jeopardize those "high standards". Including sexual assault in the military, military torture/interrogation techniques, etc. (Of course, those things are highly accepted in the military community, so they are hard to compare...) But, do openly gay people really pose a higher threat to morale than superior sexual assault, which has been documented time after time again, and these men get off time after time again...
I'm not even going to respond to the phrase "unacceptable risk to the high standards of [...] good order and discipline"... I'm pretty sure this has everything to do with the notion that gays (especially men) are overly sexual, lewd, are constantly "coming on" to everyone around them, etc. Again, all anyone can think about is the sexual act itself.
... So, if 75% of Americans are okay with people being openly gay in the military then why is it still against policy? I have no logical answer for this, except that I'm unsure how reliable these statistics are (it was a poll done by the Boston Globe)... and of course, the beliefs held by the majority of Americans are seldom represented in our laws and policies. However, this touches on a much huger issue than I am ready to get into at midnight on a Sunday ;-)
Basically, the absurdity of the policy still makes me wonder... I know that in the past, certain minority groups have faced ridiculous rules and restrictions. I know that all it took was FAITH that someday things would change and FAITH in the minorities themselves to believe that they had the power to make that change happen.
Sometimes I wish I could give myself fully to every cause that means something to me. But, being the busy college student that I am, it's hard for me to fight for change in everything around me that is meaningful to me. I have two friends, both I've known from separate times in my life, who are gay and in the army. One just returned from serving in Iraq, and the other is currently in Afghanistan. They cannot be obvious on their facebooks, they cannot make comments to other soldiers about their girlfriends (and in one case, partner- they have a child together!), or else they face discharge. These people, thousands of people, put their lives on the line everyday for what they believe in. It might not be what I believe in, but they stand up and are proud to be American soldiers... and just because they are gay, that makes it mean something less? That makes them less brave or less honorable or less hardworking?
I think not.
I applaud every single gay person in the military for having the strength and patience to put up with that discrimination. Their coworkers can receive packages that are obviously from their husbands or wives, while they must hide any cards, incriminating photos, gay-centered newspapers, etc. I can't even begin to tell you how sad and disappointed it makes me.
I truly hope that Obama is able to repeal this ridiculous, discriminatory policy... for the sake of gay members of the military and for the sake of our children and our future.