JOHN BOEHNER > “DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” – by Miss Isis

by Miss Isis

I am a pervert. I am also a lifelong political junkie who did Jimmy Carter impressions as a kid. I was raised in a conservative environment, but knew from a very young age that it wasn’t the path for me. As I got older, confusion gave way to an understanding of who I really was sexually. There were certain situations in my past that started making more sense to me. I began to realize that my sexual attraction to others isn’t based on gender, but who they are as people. It definitely took a while to come to this realization. I know that every day, people are struggling with who they are and how they fit into a society that officially accepts them, but still unofficially discriminates to a degree.

During his first State of the Union address, President Obama mentioned his intent/promise to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. This policy has cost thousands of jobs since its inception in 1993, along with millions of dollars in unnecessary spending. It is a policy that continues to single out and discriminate against Americans every day.

This important issue is one that the Republican party continually refuses to directly address or “make time” for. House Minority Leader John Boehner made this clear during a recent interview with David Gregory on “Meet the Press”. When asked about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, Boehner replied:

“In the middle of two wars and in the middle of this giant security threat, why would we want to get into this debate? While, at a time, when Americans are asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’, why would we want to get in this debate? While we’re fighting over health care and trying to find some way to come to some common ground, why do we want to get into a divisive debate that will do nothing more than distract the real debate that should occur here about helping get our economy going again and getting the American people back to work.” (taken from msnbc.com’s “Meet the Press” online transcript).

Why would we want to get into this debate? Where do I begin, Mr. Boehner? You are successfully insulting the intelligence of Americans with your smoke and mirrors response to an issue your party refuses to address.

First, the fact that we are indeed in the middle of two wars and have security threats should be a clear indicator of our need for as many qualified military personnel as possible. In recent years, for example, a significant number of gay Arabic interpreters (US Army 1st Lieutenant Dan Choi, among others) have been let go as a result of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This caused an already small pool of much needed talent to get much smaller. For what reason? What does the military gain by such actions?

Yes, Americans are concerned about jobs. However, attempting to link “Where are the jobs?” with “Why do we want to get in this debate?” only deteriorates Boehner’s own theory. If the GOP were truly concerned about jobs, they wouldn’t allow another single person to be affected by “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” They would see the correlation of this policy with unemployment and unnecessary spending. So yes, Mr. Boehner, I’m an American asking about jobs: Where are the jobs for people terminated from their employment solely based on their sexual orientation?

Of course, if/when the GOP decides to actually address this issue, it might mean ruffling a few feathers (i.e. losing funding and other support from the religious right). It also means truly listening to Log Cabin Republicans, who have consistently been brushed aside by the very party they support. This is an issue that divides the Republican party, making the debate difficult for a group of people who are already struggling for a cohesive identity. In my opinion, it’s only a matter of time before their party splits anyway (Glenn Beck crazies in one camp and moderate/independent types in the other).

Boehner also implies that the continuing health care debate and finding “common ground” leaves no time for rethinking “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The ramifications of sexual orientation relating to health care can cut deeply. Many people have powerlessly watched their partners die because their relationship is not legally recognized. Gay marriage is a separate debate from “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, however, they both have the ability to leave a devastating, life changing path of destruction in their wake.

As for the “common ground” comment, bring it, Boehner! If your party truly comes to the table to talk logically without outside influences (religious right), I commend you, sir. Until then, your “common ground” comment is a hollow attempt of would-be bipartisanship.

Boehner ends his interview with David Gregory by saying, “Why do we want to get into a divisive debate that will do nothing more than distract the real debate that should occur here about helping get out economy going again and getting the American people back to work.”

Why do you have to assume the dialogue will be divisive? Why does your party barely recognize its gay community, Mr. Boehner? Apparently, the “real debate” is the economy and jobs, implying that men and women who lose their jobs because of this policy simply aren’t worth debating at all. Wow. That’s harsh, even for you, Boehner. Still, what you fail to recognize is allowing this policy to continue hurts the very causes that you spell out in your definition of the “real debate”. The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy negatively affects jobs AND the economy! So, if the GOP really wants to get to their self described “real debate”, they’ll remember that Americans should never lose their jobs based on sexual orientation and work in a bipartisan fashion to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

When will the GOP “make time” to think about true equality? And when will they learn to multitask?

Stay tuned.

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