Today, in compliance with the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell injunction, the Pentagon has guided recruiters to process applications for applicants who admit they are openly gay or lesbian.
That means that right now, I should be able to go to a recruiter and enlist. In fact, Dan Choi is reenlisting in Times Square as I write this post. (Apparently he’s too old for the Marines, according to his Twitter.)
I thought about doing it today just for political purposes. Then, I decided that was a pretty stupid reason, one that is disrespectful of people who enlist because they actually want to serve. I’m a pacifist who doesn’t respond well to blind authority (except in the bedroom), and I can’t think of anything I’m less interested in going through than basic training.
Still, I wouldn’t make a bad recruit. I’m in good health and I have two college degrees with currently nothing better to do.
So what’s the point of my post? Well, while the purported “enormous consequences” of DADT are absurd, the reality is that education on LGBT identities will be necessary. For all troops. For all officers. The need for that training is not a good reason to delay lifting the ban (as I wrote last week), but an important need to address with haste.
Honestly, someone’s going to have to deliver that training. Someone’s going to have to talk to troops, and officers, and chaplains, and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff to say, “Hey, here’s what’s up with gays and lesbians.” Probably a lot of someones. And that’s exactly the kind of education I want to be doing. It’s exactly the kind of education I’m prepared to do.
So, if the military wanted me to work for them, I would. I honestly would prefer to remain a civilian, but if they wanted someone on the inside with that responsibility, I would enlist. I would commit to the military to make it a better place for the gays and lesbians serving in it.
We’ve been giving Obama, Gates, and the military leaders a very hard time over DADT, and they’ve deserved it every step of the way. Eventually, though, we have to help. Let me be the first in line committed to making sure none of the paranoid homophobic fears people have come to pass.
I may be a pacifist, but I know the military does a lot of good work beyond fighting pointless wars; I’d be ready to be all I can be if it means making a difference for the brave gays and lesbians ready to fight for our country.