Fightin’ Words: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: good idea or good riddance?

17-2-fighting-words-genZach Smith


The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, has served the U.S. Military just fine since its inception in 1993. Unfortunately, the Obama administration had to fix what wasn’t broken and the policy was officially discontinued this year.

This is yet another example of common sense being thrown to the wayside in the drive toward political correctness. For almost two decades Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell served our Armed Forces well but now it has been eliminated of simply because it isn’t PC enough.

Critics have said the policy was discriminatory toward gay people, however the opposite is true. The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy allowed gays to serve in the military and prevented them from being harassed because of their sexual preference. Many cases show gay service members being harassed and even being beaten by fellow soldiers when they were revealed to be gay.

According to a 2006 Zogby International poll, 37 percent of military members were opposed to gays serving in the military compared to only 26 percent in favor.

If such a large percentage of service members are opposed to gays serving in the military, then allowing them to serve openly will expose them to harassment from other service members who are opposed to gays serving in the military.

The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy protected gay service members from such harassment and the reversal of it could very well lead to increased harassment against them. The reversal of the policy creates a rift in the unity of service members. Instead of just being soldiers, there are now “gay soldiers” and “straight soldiers.”

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell allowed soldiers to focus on being soldiers without the distinction of sexual preference.

Some service members are uncomfortable with the idea of showering with an openly gay comrade. Many military members are uneasy about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell being scrapped, and such discomfort can have a devastating effect on morale.

It’s quite clear that the discontinuation of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was a major mistake and will only make it harder on our troops to do their already hard jobs.


Genevieve Huard


I’m not going to be one to inhibit the happiness of those who risk their lives to protect the country where my loved ones and I live. If someone is willing to protect me, then I see no reason why his or her sexuality has to be oppressed.

The men and women that serve our country deserve respect: who ever they may be. I respect their right to happiness—especially seeing that their job is to ensure that Americans have our basic rights protected, including the right to be happy.

I was glad to see the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy revoked. Although at the time that it was passed, it intended to protect gay members of the military, it needed to be replaced.

It suffocated gays and lesbians in the military. Forcing them to lie and cover up their identities for years, or until they slipped up and were discharged for being gay.

Gays and lesbians in the military prior to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell couldn’t risk bringing their partner to a military event even though everyone else would bring their families.

But that’s nothing compared to the stress revolving around even talking about their personal lives.

They couldn’t talk about their partners when their comrades talked about their personal lives. They had to deceive and lie when asked personal questions.

Gay and lesbian military members missed their partners just as much as anyone would during deployment. However, letters to home, or even a simple “I love you” on the phone was risky communication.

What if you knew that everyday when you went to work that you couldn’t talk about your family, wife or husband? That mentioning them could get you fired. That is absolutely ridiculous to me.

Gay and lesbian military members were deprived of benefits and basic rights. All just for being gay. That is not even a good enough reason to fire someone from a civilian job. I would fire a wrongful termination lawsuit if I were fired for being gay in any other job position. Why is it okay for the military to do that?

After years of the stress from using cover up stories, lying and paranoia of being found out, I am glad gay and lesbian service members now can serve in a healthier environment. It won’t be completely comfortable for open military members, or for some of their comrades, but at least the topic of homosexuality is finally being faced instead of ignored. Homophobia will ensue just like anywhere else on the world, but unfortunately homophobia and discrimination will always be prevalent problems in any society.

Gandhi said people can judge a society based on how it treats its minorities.

Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is one of many improvements we need to make to improve the treatment of minorities and improve society.

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Fightin’ Words: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: good idea or good riddance?

by Zach Smith time to read: 3 min