A rather long and tortuous post title, I know, but one I strongly believe in. I know the Obama administration has been under the cosh for several reasons, including the way in which the healthcare reform and economic meltdown were being managed. But at the same time, it has brought to an end several rather discriminatory policies. It started with the end of ban on travel of HIV Positive people to the USA. And now, with the repeal of the rather discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tel policy, a huge step has been taken towards restoring the so called “sexual minorities” to their rightful place in society.
The “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy was tantamount to a Government endorsed discrimination of gay and bisexual people based on their sexual orientations. It was in 1993 that the policy was implemented to bar people “demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts” from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because their presence “would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.” (1) Bunch of bull shit, in my honest opinion.
When the proposal to repeal the policy went on for a vote in the senate, it requires the support of 49 senators to sail through, but ended up getting 65, sailing through to the President’s office with elan! (2)
In a nation like the United States, which claims to be the world leader in developing tolerance towards people belonging to the sexual minorities (the very use of this term is derogatory, I think: and I’d like to believe that I use it strictly in the Statistical sense of the word) this policy seemed to be completely out of focus. “I don’t care who you love,” said Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, who was present despite his scheduling for tests before undergoing an operation for a prostatic carcinoma, as the debate opened. “If you love this country enough to risk your life for it, you shouldn’t have to hide who you are.”
What this also means is that finally the White House is finding some leverage in the tumultous political scene in the USA. I now, personally, would like to see how this goes down with the rest of their policies, most notably, with how they handle the economic downturn and the credit bust.
The DADT Policy was enforced in 1993 in the Clinton regime as a compromise for ending the ban on gay and bisexual people entering the military. While it was a compromise which was, perhaps understandably, made in order to repeal the ban, it did not make things any better. In fact, I am of the opinion that anything like a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy is really really bad. It may have opened up the forces for people from gay and bisexual orientations, but what it also did was to create an air of “impurity” about the whole business of being free to choose one’s own sexual orientation.
As a progressive member of society, I welcome the move, and I congratulate President Obama for following through on his vow to end the policy. And I congratulate the gay and bisexual members of the American forces, who can now stand tall and proclaim, that as long as they are undeterred in the love of their nation, their sexual preferences do not count.
1. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don’t_ask,_don’t_tell Accessed on 20th December, 2010 at 2016 hours, IST