Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
December 10, 2010
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
Dear Senator McCain:
What happened to you?
We knew you as a man much admired. We read of your courage and integrity when the North Vietnamese held you captive for six years. We heard of your reputation when you were a newly elected legislator. You were a maverick then, bucking the wishes of your party, proud of that even.
So what happened during last week’s DADT hearings? Are you really worried that allowing openly gay and lesbian soldiers and sailors to serve their country endangers the readiness of combat units? Do you really believe that allowing patriotic LGBTs to be honest sinks morale and makes straight people leave the force? And were you stalling for time when you said the study concluding that 70% of respondents urged the repeal of DADT was flawed? Senator, experts wrote that that study meets the criteria of good social research, that its 28% response rate is in line with previous military surveys and its 1% error is better than most surveys. Ah, but you are concerned that combat units voiced a greater resistance to repeal than non-combat units. Did you know that countries culturally closest to us, Great Britain and Canada, implemented programs allowing out LGBTs to serve despite opposition greater than the 58% opposition of our own combat units and those programs are implementing smoothly.
Of course, there will be opposition. You of all people should know that. Your father, a four-star admiral, was present during the racial integration of our armed forces. Many a famous war commander was against it, even Eisenhower. They were wrong. You yourself witnessed the role of women grow so that now women serve in 92% of all military occupational specialties. Of course, those monumental changes were opposed; of course, they caused perturbations. There is a lot of stereotyping out there, but today the U. S. Armed Forces are the most integrated fighting force in the world and the best.
Did you look behind you and see that your fellow Republicans shamefully opposed repeal? Is your own objection just to curry favor with them? Why don’t you look in front of you and see that the House of Representatives already voted to repeal DADT, that the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Air Force Chief of Staff, and the Counsel for the Pentagon all urged repeal? Look a little farther: the courts will repeal it, they already have.
Senator, you have nothing to lose but your reputation. Do the right thing; be a statesman. American LGBTs are Americans. They have an American’s right to go where they want to go, to do what they want to do and not have to lie about themselves. To make the silly arguments you are making puts LGBTs into a separate group, one less equal than the other group, the one doesn’t have to lie about itself.
In closing, we offer you belated congratulations on your son’s graduation from the Naval Academy. You must be proud, a fourth generation following in the footsteps. We saw young McCain’s tweet: “To be honest there is no better feeling than serving your country. The navy is my family and I’m proud to be here. Fly, fight, win.” He seems totally happy. Wouldn’t it be nice if every soldier and sailor could be as happy?
Belinda and John
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride apifamilypride.org