I suppose part of my LeBron-o-thon analysis constituted an Honestly of the Week, but there was actually a second item I had planned to devote my more irritable energies to. The offending item in question was in the news last week, but seeing as how my next summer adventure will take me away from my computer this coming weekend, I’m publishing it now.
As part of the sluggish and uncertain process of repealing the United States military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the Department of Defense issued a survey to 400,000 active service personnel to gauge their thoughts on gays and lesbians in the military. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has repeatedly stated that he feels this survey, and the larger study it is a part of, needs to be completed before the President or Congress make a decision on the future of the policy.
I could craft an outraged missive about why this is a wasteful, transparent, and insulting move by the government; but I think you’ve heard enough from me these past few days. So, instead, I’ve taken questions from the actual survey, which was leaked to numerous media outlets last Thursday, and substituted the words “gay”, “lesbian”, and “homosexual” with the words “black”, “African-American”, “female”, and “woman”–groups to which the military previously denied inclusion–to demonstrate the inexcusable condescension of this document. (Editor’s Note: Try to ignore the loaded nature of the word “partner”, given the topic under discussion)
- If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and you are working with a Service member in your immediate unit who has said that he or she is black, how, if at all, would your job performance be affected?
- Have you shared a room, berth, or field tent with a Service member you believed to be African-American?
- If a wartime situation made it necessary for you to share a room, berth or field tent with a woman, which are you most likely to do? Take no action; discuss how we expect each other to behave and conduct ourselves while sharing a room, berth, or field tent; talk to a chaplain, mentor, or leader about how to handle the situation; talk to a leader to see if I have other options; something else; don’t know.
- If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and a female Service member attended a military social function with a partner, which are you most likely to do? Continue to attend military social functions; stop bringing my spouse, significant other, or other family members with me to military social functions; stop attending military social functions; something else; don’t know.
- If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and you had on-base housing and a black Service member was living with a black partner on-base, what would you most likely do? I would get to know them like any other neighbors; I would make a special effort to get to know them; I would be uncomfortable, but access to the exchange, commissary, and MWR facilities is more important to me than who my neighbors are when deciding where to live; I would be uncomfortable, but the quality of on-base housing is more important to me than who my neighbors are when deciding where to live; I would be uncomfortable, but the cost of moving makes it unlikely I would leave on-base housing; I would probably move off-base; something else.
More or less speaks for itself, doesn’t it? I particularly enjoy the “wartime situation” modifier in the third question. As if an individual’s particular discriminatory predilections will be more or less heightened only after a declaration of war. Call me a crazy book-learned liberal, but in a wartime situation, my only concern would be living. And what’s with that decidedly ominous “something else” option in the response choices?
Now, I’m not shitting on the military. I’ve got friends and family who have served. That’s an experience I sincerely believe I couldn’t handle, and they have my utmost respect for their commitment and sacrifice. But it seems to me that if we didn’t lose World War II due to the introduction of the Tuskegee Airmen, and if Army brass did not resign in mass protest due to the 2008 promotion of Ann E. Dunwoody to the position of four-star general, then we don’t have much to worry about if after killing a few guys, G.I. Joe wants to come home and kiss one.
Honestly, Department of Defense. Honestly…