Volunteering for the military means a number of important things:
- It’s a noble act of patriotism
- It means accepting authority over every aspect of your life
- It’s a seriously dangerous job
- It’s not exactly a high-paying job
- You get benefits during and after service
- You have a community of support
- It involves structure and discipline
- It’s a heroic endeavor
- It is an honorable, self-sacrificing career
- It is worthy of great respect
So, when someone wishes to volunteer for relatively low pay and high danger to protect you and me, I say “THANK YOU” and “huzzah!”
This business of being concerned over whether or not a person is gay is utterly ridiculous, in my opinion. Homosexuals have served in the military since we had our ragtag guys in the forest dealing with Indians and British. Straight men and women have fought next to gays eaten in the chow hall next to gays, PT’d next to gays, bunked next to gays, and even died next to gays, whether they knew it or not.
Neither color nor sexual orientation should bar anyone from fighting for their country, nor should it eliminate them from being part of the band of brothers.
Being homosexual does not mean that every man is a turn-on; even straight men in the showers compare…”notes.” The rules against fraternization are there for everyone – men and women – whether they are straight or not.
Under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military no longer asks a person’s sexual orientation upon enlistment (it used to be a question on enlistment forms). The military no longer investigates claims that a person is homosexual. They can, and do, investigate allegations of homosexual conduct, which is still grounds for an honorable discharge. “Conduct” includes not only sex acts while on active duty, but also includes telling others you are homosexual (the “don’t tell” part of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”).
A long-awaited report from the Pentagon on this issue was released last week, and the conclusion was “repealing the policy would have some limited and isolated disruption to unit cohesion and retention, but the effects would not be long-lasting or widespread.” That was probably the same result when blacks and Hispanics were integrated into the military ranks also, and that has evolved positively. It will take some time. Meanwhile, we will be expanding our ranks of the brave and resolved to fight for our country.
Of course, it isn’t all that simple. There are issues of benefits for domestic partnerships, and whether they will be recognized as married men and women. I assume that will eventually be worked out.
My main point is, in spite of the White House’s absence of an Executive Order to immediately allow gays to serve openly in the military, it is time to recognize the desires of all people competent to serve in our military, and afford them the opportunity to contribute to this noble, sometimes thankless, necessary profession.