mlknchz: (Default)
Gay people have served in every war, and in every battle, this nation has ever fought. They have done so willingly. They have done so when, with a single word, they could have been released from this responsibility. They have fought and died for this country , for a country that has so often oppressed them, when they needn’t have done so. The have fought and died because they were people who loved this country, loved it fiercely. Whenever the subject of gays serving in the military comes up, remember this fact. Remember the people who served their nation, who served it without pause, without hope of gain, who have served it since its earliest days.
People have dodged the draft. They have , many of them, done so from deep convictions, others from simple cowardice. Any gay person who has served in the military, has done so as a volunteer, whether drafted or not. Tell me where the greater honor lies. Tell me where the deeper sense of duty abides.

Every argument against allowing gays to openly serve in the military are simply the same arguments that were used against integrating black troops in the 1950s. White soldiers will not serve alongside black troops.White troops will not serve under black officers. White troops will not accept blood transfusions from black troops. White troops cannot trust black troops. Exchange the word “gay” for the word “black” and you have the current arguments. The arguments are no more true now then they were then. These arguments insult our soldiers, they paint them as all racist or homophobic. While there are, of course, racists and homophobes serving in our armed forces, they remain now, as they were then, a minority. Added to the above arguments is the one that is the most insidious. Gay officers will sexually harass their troops. This is as insulting as it is stupid. It presupposes that gay people are all sexual predators, that they cannot control themselves. ANY officer, gay or straight, who sexually harasses ANY person under their command should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Period.

The military does not set policy. The military MUST follow the policy set by the civilian leadership. This is VITAL to the health of a democracy. When, in the 1950s, military leaders fought Trumans plans for integration, Truman responded by asking for their resignations. He understood clearly that civilian control of the military must be maintained. Any officer unwilling to follow the legal orders of the civilian leadership has no place in the military of a democracy.

The actual argument , as it was in the 1950s, revolves around citizenship. Being a second class soldier, or not being allowed to be a soldier at all, means you are a second class citizen. Citizenship involves responsibilities. Responsibilities all citizens must bear. Military service is not a right, but it IS a responsibility of citizenship. Denying any segment of the population this responsibility denies them the rights to full citizenship. In a democracy, the military should mirror the population it protects. There should be no elite military class. ALL segments of the population MUST be allowed access to the military to democratize it.

The mosaic that is the face of this nation is made up of all of us. There is no place in this nation where all of us should not be allowed to go. Denying anyone the ability to show what Lincoln called “The last full measure of devotion” to their country is wrong, it demeans us all, and worse, it lessens us as a people.

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The Lord of Desultory Manor

June 2017

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