Friday, September 23, 2011

Sticks & Stones: Follow Up about Bullying and DADT

Two days ago DADT was repealed and another LGBTQ teenager took his own life due to being bullied.  I wrote about both in the piece Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Sticks & Stones.

This morning, I came across this video on the Huffington Post from a republican debate, where the audience boos at a video played of a gay soldier, who asks the candidates, "Do you intend to circumvent the progress that has been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?

Rick Santorum responds: "Any sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military and the fact that they're making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege, to uh, in uh, in removing don't ask don't tell, I think tries to inject social policy into the military and the military's job is to do one thing and that is to defend our country; we need to give the military which is all volunteer, the ability to do so in a way that is most efficient and protected...(lost because the crowd erupted into applause)...and I believe this undermines that ability." 

He is then asked by host Megyn Kelly, "What would you do with soldiers like Stephen Hill?"

Santorum's response: "What we're doing is playing social experimentation, uh, with our military right now and that's tragic. I would just say that going forward we would re-institute that policy if Rick Santorum was president. That policy would be re-instituted as far as people in, I would not throw them out because that would be unfair to them because of the policy of this administration. But we would move forward in conformity with what was happening in the past. Which was- sex is not an issue. It should not be an issue. Leave it alone. Keep it to yourself whether you are heterosexual or homosexual." 
Santorum states that he would re-institute DADT, saying he wouldn't throw out anyone who under this policy who had come out in the military.  Yes, because if DADT was made policy again, people who were in the military would feel safe and accepted and not feel like they should leave, if they had been open about their sexual orientation and now they shouldn't.  What kills me about this entire discussion is that sexual orientation has nothing to do with a person's ability to perform any task, which includes the ability to serve in the military.   We can ask people to volunteer to fight to protect this country, the very country which doesn't accept them for who they are or give them to decency, common courtesy, or basic human rights that any heterosexual receives?  "Sex isn't the issue" The only correct thing he said, but out of context. Repealing DADT isn't condoning or allowing open sexual behavior between any two people, gay/lesbian/or straight, it's simply allowing anyone who isn't heterosexual to not have to hide their sexual orientation.

This is why bullying is a big deal. Children are taught by adults who boo a person for their orientation that not everyone deserves to be treated as a human being, and then grow up to be those kind of adults as well, perpetuating close-minded, hateful adults.
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What is your reaction to watching the video?  Do you believe DADT should ever be re-instated as policy?  Do you agree or disagree that this is a form of bullying?  Comment below or email me

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