Thursday, December 9, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell...and Ultrarunning

Via Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish, we see this moving photo:

Th caption:

Iraq War Army Veteran, Lt. Dan Choi, who was discharged from the military for being gay, cleans the gravestone of Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, at Congressional Cemetery on November 15, 2010 in Washington, DC. Sgt. Matlovich who died in 1988 was a Vietnam Veteran who a received both the Purple Heart and Bronze Star and was later discharged from the Air Force for being gay. An inscription on his tombstone reads 'When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.' Some 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal advocates consider Sgt. Matlovich's gravesite to be a memorial to all gay veterans. By Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Then Andrew goes on to comment:

Anyone who doubts the professionalism of today's military would do well to read the Pentagon Report on DADT. First, it's a massive undertaking, involving hundreds of thousands of responses, 95 face-to-face meetings, and a range of views from everyone who might be affected. It's one of the most impressive reports I've ever read from a government agency.

It's also extremely calm and fair. If you've been in the thick of this debate as long as I have, you'll know how rare that is. The tone is empirical, and judicious. It does not gloss over some serious objections - such as moral and religious ones - and grapples directly with some of the more emotive issues, such as sharing showers or sleeping quarters. It feels in no way skewed or prejudged.

And the report is absolutely clear that straight servicemembers by large majorities have few problems with openly gay servicemembers. 69 percent of them acknowledge they have fought or worked alongside gay men and women already. A staggering 92 percent of those were fine with lifting the ban. Again: when you know someone is gay, all the fears and stereotypes tend to evaporate. This is not a surprise. The men and women of the US military are among the finest in the land; they want to do the job at hand, not deepen social division or posture politically.

It is looking increasingly unlikely that a Senate vote on repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell will occur before the Christmas recess. Shame on them--the Republicans for opposing it, and the Democrats--especially President Obama--for not going to the mat to do the right thing and end this odious anachronism. Shame on them.

I have gay folk in my extended family, and they are just people. No more and no less than you or me. That is, except in the eyes of the law of the land.

The connection to Ultrarunning? I've said here on Mister Tristan before that we tend to be an open, welcoming band of people. I am convinced that we are more accepting of people as they are, and much less judgmental than the populace at large. If somebody can run 50K or 50 or 100 miles, that tells me enough about the content of their character.


1 comment:

  1. "I have gay folk in my extended family, and they are just people. No more and no less than you or me. That is, except in the eyes of the law of the land."

    I'm a gay runner, and yes, this is true.