Wednesday, February 3, 2010
On My Soap Box
During the Vietnam war era, guys pretended to be gay to avoid the draft. It was a sure-fire way to be booted out if they ended up being drafted anyway. Ironically, genuine gays may soon be treated as equals and -- eventually -- welcomed into the military. It's about time. Gay men and lesbians have served in the military for generations, even though they were forced to deny their quintessence to serve their country. I would be willing to bet that many confirmed bachelors and spinsters were forced to accept those positions in society in order to protect their positions in business or the military. I know some veterans I'm sure accepted those roles and faithfully maintained them to avoid losing their careers or embarrassing their employers. The sacrifices made by gays in the name of military principles have been staggering. They could not love openly, marry, have families or enjoy other, common life experiences that their straight counterparts could and did. The stress of maintaining such a false lifestyle must have been dreadful. I don't know why we Americans are so slow to embrace the realities of life. We should be ashamed by how long it has taken us to recognize the equal worth of all persons. Illiteracy and insecurities will continue to influence the thoughts and actions of some segregationists and cretins, but thinking Americans can and will defeat them. There must be thousands of veterans -- gay and straight -- privately cheering the anticipated demise of Don't Ask Don't Tell. I hope they will openly voice their support of full recruitment and engagement of willing, able-bodied men and women into our military. Having said all that, I do not support armed conflict to solve problems. I do, however, recognize the need to protect ourselves from those who want to harm us. Maybe with broader philosophical thinking among our leadership we can come up with better, more peaceful ways to protect our interests. Too many lives have been lost in the pursuit of peace and prosperity.