A reader writes:
Last night the DADT issue kept me awake as I lay in bed.
Specifically, it was the "small minded" phrase from the ""Protecting" Homosexuals" reader/writer that jumped out at me. I actually consider the writer responded to, in "Why the Ban Remains," to be much closer to the unpleasant truth of the situation, and I would definitely not characterize him/her as pessimistic or gloomy.
"Gloomy" reader/writer pointed out that the military has a disproportionate number of middle- and lower-class (financial, of course) members, but he/she neglected to also point out the enormous number of them who are (using your term here, because it seems so appropriate) Christianists.
Further, the military integrates religion -- Christianity, of course, not other religions -- into the military in insidious ways, thereby reinforcing anti-gay feeling and rhetoric. Repealing DADT will certainly go some way toward seeing that some in the military will set up some as gay servicemen & servicewomen as heroes and role models, but others, likely the majority, will never feel that way. They will allow the government to dictate how they tie their shoes, dress, and behave in public, but there is no way in hell that they will allow the government to dictate whether or not they accept gays or work along side them.
I agree with both writers, but, unlike you, I believe that because the writer in "Why the Ban Remains" left out the religious aspect of the situation, it is even more discouraging than it appears in his post, and far more discouraging than you believe it to be. I have many gay friends who I look up to in many ways, and certainly I've met a (very) few in the military who are open-minded enough to respect and admire gay servicemen and servicewomen, but gays are a minority, and as such will never get the much-deserved respect and admiration of their fellow servicemen and servicewomen under any circumstances. As our country simmers with barely-veiled racial and religious hatreds and tensions directed toward non-whites, non-Christians, and gays, it seems to me to be fairly obvious that repealing DADT at this moment in time could be setting a spark to the tinder that exists in the US. Doesn't that play right into the hands of the GOP noise machine, the Tea Partiers, the hate-mongers?
At some point, you have to face down the fear. Then it will dissipate. End the ban now.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.