Are gays openly serving in the military a good thing, or a bad thing, for the military? It depends on who you ask. Some military officials are quoted as saying it will make no difference. Others are quoted as saying the opposite. Some polls of military members say it doesn’t matter, while other polls (especially in the Marines) suggest the opposite. Most of us have no experience in the military, so it’s hard for us to really know. Even those within the military appear to be split on the issue.
One thing is for sure: The existing law had to go. The existing “don’t ask don’t tell” ban essentially said, “It’s illegal to be gay and in the military. But if you sufficiently lie, or conceal, this fact — then you’re good to go.” This is insane. If something is wrong or against the rules, it should be against the rules. If it’s right, it should be tolerated and there should be no need to conceal it. For such a contradiction to exist in the military, of all places, is pure insanity.
Two issues are at stake in this debate.
One is the well-being of the military, on whose competence and effectiveness absolutely everyone depends. The other is the individual right of all Americans to be equal under the law. It’s inherently unfair and wrong to allow a gay or lesbian person to be part of the military, even serve with honor, and then expel him or her for something unrelated to performance. To the extent that policy existed, it had to go. As Barry Goldwater, the conservative of his time, is quoted as saying, “You don’t have to be straight to shoot straight.” This quote gets to the heart of the matter: Rationally speaking, the military only has to care about whether you’re competent at what you do, or not. While morale matters, competence matters even more.
At the same time, does one have a right to serve in the military? Regardless of what the military officials themselves think? Regardless of the effect on other military members? If so, then serving in the military must be an equal right to which everyone is entitled. This, I maintain, is a dangerous assumption. If the needs and wants of civilians are to be upheld regardless of what the military wants or needs, then what’s the point of having a military in the first place? It seems to me that if the don’t ask/don’t tell policy is repealed for this reason, the door is open to a pile of lawsuits, not only from gays and lesbians, but from anyone alleging that that they are entitled to serve and were denied that right for some invalid reason.
Liberals got the “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy repealed because it’s an inherently stupid, illogical and consequently unjust policy. Liberals knew this when they passed it, back under the Clinton Administration. They knew such a policy could not stand, and that sooner or later it would either be repealed or replaced with something consistent. Obviously, they hoped for replacement with something better, and they ultimately got it.
This is an interesting strategy on the part of liberals. They have done this with health care, as well. They know full well that the ObamaCare law cannot stand, not just because people oppose it, but because it denies people the very benefits they claim it upholds. They claim it will make health insurance more affordable and competitive. In reality, they know full well it will raise premiums on private health coverage to a point where everyone will have to submit to a single-payer government system. ObamaCare will fall flat, and (they hope) be replaced with a single-payer system. This is how liberals operate: Pass a bad law that eventually “forces” opponents to either cave in, with the law they originally wanted, or reverse course altogether. Course reversals rarely, if ever, happen.
I’m not suggesting that socialized medicine and gays being allowed to serve in the military are the same thing. I see everything wrong with the first, and essentially nothing wrong with the second. But it’s interesting to note the liberals’ strategy, and that they will always win, in the end, unless their strategy is exposed and seen for what it is.
Another interesting point: Social conservatism may be on the wane. Tea Party conservatives were able (at least briefly) to stop another trillion dollar pork-laden spending bill from passing — despite the fact that Democrats still hold huge majorities in the lame duck Congress. Tea Party conservatives made no attempt to stop the don’t ask/don’t tell ban from being repealed. To the extent this holds, it bodes well for the future Republican Party being one of promoting small government, not one of imposing religious or conservative beliefs on the larger population.
In the end, don’t ask/don’t tell had to go. Gays and lesbians are now officially free to serve in the military. Liberals won this one, but it’s now up to their opposition to figure out ways to save the country from economic collapse and terrorist destruction made possible, in large part, by the socialist liberals’ policies. Unless these problems are resolved, the status of gays and lesbians in the military won’t matter much.