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Duke It Out: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

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[It’s pretty obvious that the average CollegeCandy reader has some very strong opinions. Opinions that she likes to share with everyone on the site. Sometimes with mean words. We love a strong woman (unless she happens to be charging at us with her fists raised), so we thought we’d give her a real forum to discuss her thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Every Friday I’ll be featuring a hot topic (like flat rate tuition!) and leaving it up to you, the readers, to duke it out. So, read it and get your debate on in the comments section below!]

Last week, the Senate voted not to repeal the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy – a policy that’s essentially a band-aid for the absence of gay rights in the military. The policy, which was introduced in 1993, has essentially stood all of this time as a way of saying ‘you can be gay in the military, as long as nobody knows about it’. It looked close for a while there, but ultimately the policy stands – even though Obama actually campaigned on changing the policy and his administration is openly opposed to it – and I think it’s time we had OUR say.

As I’ve said before, I’m not unbiased on this issue, but regardless of my own personal moral compass being pro-gay rights, there are also some compelling reasons why the policy should be repealed. For starters, under this policy anyone who comes out or is outed in the military is given a dishonorable discharge, no matter how well they were actually doing their job. That means that we’re actively spending military budget on getting rid of military personnel regardless of the quality of their work or the necessity of their position, which, considering how much trouble there already is with military budgeting, seems like a massive waste. There’s also the very obvious fact that this is the AMERICAN military and if it were any other position, say, at an American business perhaps, a person could sue for being fired over their sexuality – because it’s freakin’ illegal!

Suffice to say it’s pretty backassward that our own laws don’t apply the same way to our protective body as they do to the public.

One of the big arguments against repealing the policy is the fact that it’s going to take a lot of work and since the system as it stands functions reasonably effectively, to throw a big restructuring in right now would just mess things up for everybody. Now on the one hand, I see a point in this argument, because yes, the military is doing tough stuff at a tough time and they’re doing the best job they can. Yes, massive restructuring to deal with changing policies and deal with things like housing – where do LGBT soldiers live? With their own gender? The opposite? – as well as overall attitudes and the general social unrest that major changes like this cause, would be a serious burden on the system and would likely make it work less effectively for a time.

But then again, if that’s the rationale, then there’s really never a good time to restructure anything. The military always does tough stuff at tough times and it will always upset the system to have major changes; that didn’t stop the military from desegregating in the ’40s.

OK, what do you have to say? Is ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ a blotch on our historical record? Does it desperately need to be repealed? Or has the policy been working so far so why fix what’s not broken? Should we wait for another, better, time to make a major effort like this?

Duke it out!

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