‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ has never made much sense to me’mdash;except as the punch line of a joke.

From what I understand, it’s supposed to preserve order and troop morale.

Gays are obviously detrimental to social order elsewhere: schools, corporations, government agencies, malls’hellip;’

Yes, because we’re a disruptive group of people’mdash;I’m getting carried away with myself, but you see the point.’ It’s a nonsensical law that deserves to be repealed.

Obama may not give us gay marriage, but I strongly believe he’ll repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ before his term ends.’

I have a gut feeling about his character; something tells me, he understands how many Americans are unable to serve their country with honesty and dignity.

Yet, more than a thousand retired military officers’mdash;many used to have high-ranking positions in the government’mdash;issued a statement decrying any attempt to alter law.

Changing it ‘would undermine recruiting and retention, impact leadership at all levels, have adverse effects on the willingness of parents who lend their sons and daughters to military service, and eventually break the All-Volunteer Force.’

I hear echoes from that excerpt in this:In 1948, Senate Armed Forces Committee Chairman Richard Russell said:

‘[T]he mandatory intermingling of the races throughout the services will be a terrific blow to the efficiency and fighting power of the armed services’hellip;.It is sure to increase the number of men who will be disabled by communicable diseases.’ It will increase the rate of crime committed by servicemen’hellip;’

I’m pretty sure my dad hasn’t ruined morale among his troops or reduced their efficiency.’

Nobody’s fled in terror from him. If someone has, I’m sure it’s not because he’s black, but because that person had a reason to run.

Those two opinions sound like every argument against racial and gender integration in the armed forces.

They’ll break up cohesion; no one will respect a gay, female or racial minority in a position of power; there will be an increase in sexual harassment; they aren’t as strong or skilled; recruitment rates will drop.

(One of the arguments against women joining the armed forces was fear of sexual harassment’mdash;yes, because they suddenly cared about the amount of women sexually harassed in the workplace when nothing is done.)

Those arguments in favor of preserving ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ are about power, sex and politics.’

They create a hierarchy of strength and are mired in outdated cultural fears.

They also exaggerate the inconsequence of how people have sex.

Since when does what one does in the bedroom matter? If it did I’m sure there would be people currently serving who shouldn’t.

Those who make the most fuss about changing the status quo are often the least affected by it.’

It seems impractical to make such a fuss out of being gay in the military.’

There are thousands of Americans who’d like to serve but can’t, and if those currently serving conflict over sexual orientation, hopefully they’ll see eye to eye on their mutual love for our country.

Perhaps, integration would prove effective in showing how much of a non-issue sexuality is.

Despite our current furor and unease, America has proved itself capable of cultural transformation time and time again.

It’s only a matter of time.

Derrick Austin may be reached at daustin@ut.edu.

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