Sunday, May 30, 2010
A Memorial Day 'PFLAG' Post
It's time to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and Memorial Day is the perfect time for that to happen. Memorial Day commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. Period. That is the only criterion. That they were military people who died while in service to our country. We don't require that they be a certain gender or race or religion. We are humbled by their sacrifice and love of country and fellow Americans. We are all touched to see the pictures of our young people with dirty faces, etched with pain and fatigue, far from all that is comforting and familiar. Lonely, frightened, but very brave and very proud. How dare we exclude anyone from making that contribution to our society? Do we have to learn every lesson over and over again. As a country, haven't we seen how much we lose by excluding people from making full contributions to the world?
Some people worry about how gays in the military would affect morale. The military needs to put on their big boy pants and just get over it. Sometimes what is RIGHT is not what is EASY. Sometimes you have to fight your fears and prejudices in order to do good. As with so many other changes that have had to come to our society in order for us to build a free, tolerant country, a few years hence we'll wonder what all the fuss was about.
In one of her novels Rita Mae Brown, one of my favorite authors, talks about the pink dot theory of sexuality. She wishes that one morning everyone in the world who is gay would wake up with a big pink dot in the middle of their forehead. When straight people realized how many people that they loved and respected and admired were gay, they would have to quickly get past all of the prejudice and hate. In the same vein, if all the crosses and headstones and names engraved on the memorial stones of Americans around the world suddenly turned pink tomorrow morning on the fallen GAY American soldiers, wouldn't we have to then acknowledge our debt and honor them?
'Don't ask, don't tell' is a big, giant, ugly wrong that we are doing our fellow Americans. To honor ALL our fallen heroes, we have to get rid of barriers to service for ALL Americans, straight and gay.