Honor and DADT

September 22, 2011

Honor, Political Theory


I’ll soon quit writing about honor and integrity, but the news just keeps coming in.

This week, as everybody knows, marked the end of the policy called “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT). Enacted back in the early 1990s, it was an unhappy compromise — pretty much from everyone’s perspective — between those who wanted to continue the prohibition of gays and lesbians serving in the U.S. military, on the one side, and those who wanted to allow them to serve, on the other. It didn’t allow them to serve openly, but it ended the active seeking out of gay servicemembers by military authorities. Under DADT, you wouldn’t be asked about your sexual orientation when you enlisted, joined the ROTC, joined the National Guard, or applied into the service academies. And as long as they didn’t know about your sexual orientation, you’d be safe. (One problem was that someone else outing you counting as “telling” and would lead to a discharge.)

The end of DADT does seem just to me. I haven’t encountered a strong correlation between courage and patriotism, on the one hand, and sexual orientation, on the other. I admire the commitment and the courage of anyone who chooses to risk his or her life for others. But since I’m not even a U.S. citizen, you may reasonably tell me to mind my own business. I will: this post is not about whether DADT was a good or fair policy.

What this post is about is the way in which individuals can come in conflict between their various roles. On Tuesday this week, when DADT ended, the New York Times reported on an Air Force officer, 1st Lt. Josh Seefried, who was going to come out publicly at 12:01 a.m. Probably lots of other servicemembers did just around then, too, but Seefried had been an influential advocate against DADT under a pseudonym until then, and that’s the interesting thing for our purposes. The fact that the Pentagon had actively if surreptitiously sought contact with Seefried even before, not to fire him but to have him consult them on ending DADT is an interesting bit of political irony. Still, under U.S. law, it behooved of both Seefried and the Pentagon brass not to be open about Seefried’s identity, lest the military be forced to fire him.

The narrow issue, for our purposes, is this: I take it as given that when Seefried took his oath of office, he was sincere in serving honorably. And by all accounts, he did. And even though we aren’t quite as uptight about lying as the early moderns, who dueled over accusations of lying, I also take it his honor as an officer was to be truthful toward the institution in which he served. But that very institution, at least on one (my) reading, was the very force for his bit of dishonesty — advocating against the DADT under a pseudonym. That’s the complicated thing here. You don’t have to agree with me on DADT, you don’t have to agree with me on seeing Seefried as acting extra-honorably to appreciate the general difficulty: how to think about the conflict between the honor you have by virtue of being a part of an institution and that very institution requiring you compromise that honor?

I had meant to write about how Immanuel Kant’s influential 1794 essay “What Is Enlightenment?” helps us think through this problem, but it actually doesn’t. So we’re on our own.

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About Mika LaVaque-Manty

I'm a professor of political science at the University of Michigan. I'm a philosopher by training, and I teach political theory.

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35 Comments on “Honor and DADT”

  1. ianbaker2041 Says:

    I actually wanted to join the military for a time (via ROTC), and I’ve been involved with military-like things for about five years. Even though I decided not to join in the end, I can safely say that my experiences with men and women in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines (I don’t actually know anyone in the Coast Guard) told me that these were people fiercely devoted to a sense of duty, honor, and the triumph of good over evil. These are men who would, if ever asked to, compromise their personal honor for the honor of the United States and that of the institution.

    They shouldn’t have to, though. No one should have to compromise his or her personal honor for the honor of any system; in fact, doing so actually harms the system, group, or institution. For example, I’m immensely proud to be part of the marching band here on campus, but I would never compromise my personal honor and integrity just to make the band “look good” to the public. The tunnel leading into Michigan Stadium has “The Team” printed three times on the metal bars on the ceiling, and those sum up so much more than just football; they sum up teamwork, commitment, and passion, too. Each person should see him or herself as an honorable person, and it is the sum of these honorable people that makes up the honor of the organization, group, or institution-the team. All other characteristics-hard work, dedication, determination, and the like-are all themselves products of the honor that members have from the institution itself. In other words, an institution built on honor is that way because its members are proud to play a part, not because it removes this pride and honor from any one person. As people become increasingly more proud of their “team,” whatever it may be, the strength of that group as a whole grows. If the group or institution forces members to compromise their honor, the group itself becomes weaker.

    Since I’m a “band geek,” we’ll go back to the marching band example for a moment. If no one was proud to be in the band here because the band took that away from each member, then the band would have no pride as a unit. Thus, it is only by permitting each member to retain his or her honor that the institution itself can retain its honor. If a team is only as strong as its weakest link, then a group is only so honorable as its least honorable member. If no one had honor by virtue of being in the band, then it follows that no one would work hard and commit to putting on the best performance possible every single Saturday.

  2. Michael Zanger Says:

    This reminds me of a recent event regarding the overturn of Prop 8 in California. Judge Vaughn Walker (whom I just found out was a University of Michigan graduate), an openly homosexual man (conservative and nominated by former President George H. W. Bush) ruled that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. Conservatives and supporters of Prop. 8 were outraged with Judge Walker’s ruling and argued that he was not qualified to rule on such matters. I firmly believe anyone who denies civil rights to American citizens, especially those granted by the Constitution, shouldn’t be given media outlet to postulate on social matters.

    Said conjectures and assumptions discredited a rule made by Judge Walker, stating that his individual sexual orientation sparks partisanship on all judicial rulings (and could essentially challenge previous ones as well).

    Similarly, those who may have enforced D.A.D.T. are being criticized for coming out and living as openly homosexual servicemen and women. Though seemingly treasonous to those experiencing equivalent silencing (or “outing” in unfortunate cases), the individuals facing policies such as D.A.D.T. had no choice but to honor the rule or face dishonorable discharge, thus limiting employment or education opportunities they would have (or could have) relied upon after serving.

  3. danieltarockoff Says:

    This post immediately reminded me of the relationship between students living in a dorm and their Resident Advisors (RA’s). It was a mere four weeks ago when all of 1st Little in Mary Markley met up in one of the meeting rooms in the lobby. A few introductions, some basic information, and then the real reason we were there: the RAs’ speech on how they’re going to handle alcohol/drug use. We have pretty lenient RA’s; similar to DADT, we have put into action the policy of DSDK. Don’t show, don’t know (yes, i just made that up, and yes, i’m proud of the rhyme). As long as our RA’s don’t see alcohol, drugs, or a miserable freshman hugging the toilet seat, they have no reason to believe we’re doing anything wrong. I like this policy. It makes you feel comfortable living there, makes you feel like you don’t really have to worry all the time. And you shouldn’t have to. Yet, at the same time, it’s a policy based on “lying” (by lying, I mean not telling the truth) in order to be considered honest. It’s a policy of pretend ignorance, false naiveté, one that allows things to happen that should be allowed, but aren’t. It seems this occurs a lot in our society. It’s a way for the people to fight back against laws, a way for us to agree that although we know something is right/just, it’s shunned upon when announced publicly. It’s living a life in private, in a sense. It’s turning your head the other way.

    And yes, obviously the fight for underage drinking is not nearly as important as the fight for equal rights for homosexuals, but it’s a way to put things into perspective for college students. And again, the issue at hand isn’t necessarily debating what’s right or not (that’s a whole other blog post filled with controversial comments). The policy of keeping things to yourself for the greater good of others’ happiness is extremely prevalent in our society, in many, many forms. We really need to ask ourselves if that’s a society worth living in. If that’s the right choice, if, with majority rule, we’re on to the right idea. Like I’ve stated in my RA example, it obviously can have it’s benefits. But wouldn’t it be so much more fulfilling and exciting to live in a society where there aren’t secrets? Where everyone was open about everything and didn’t have to worry about being judged or being excluded? Of course it would be. Unfortunately, that’s impossible. People disagree. People fight. So maybe, this really is a good compromise. Pretend to fit in, but don’t. Pretend to agree, but don’t. It’s going to allow for you to be whoever you want to be, do whatever you want to do, but without the judgement from others.

    As stupid as it sounds, this policy works. Now, I personally don’t agree with DADT and am excited for the people who have been affected by it to be able to be themselves openly. But, until the majority comes to their senses and realizes that they’re wrong about certain issues, a DADT policy is a damn good compromise.

  4. cblaskie Says:

    I personally am glad that they finally repealed DADT, I don’t believe that a person’s sexual orientation would make them more or less able to fight for their country. The fact that there are people that are still willing to fight and die for a country that in part doesn’t approve of or accept their way of life blows my mind. These men and woman continue to put themselves in danger to help protect their country and they are forced to lie about a part of their lives to all their fellow soldiers. The worst part in my opinion was that if these men and women let it slip about their sexual orientation, they were forced to stop fighting for the country they love. I cannot believe that this happened in the United States, a country that values freedom of speech and free expression. When one of its finest members, finally expresses him or herself after risking life and limb in the fight to protect that country, he or she is repaid with a discharge from service. This policy was terrible, if you want to fight for your country and risk your life to protect its values then I believe you have earned the right to be open about your life.

    It is not right to be a part of an institution that regards freedom of speech so highly, but then turns around and asks parts of its citizenry to lie and hold back part of their lives because it believes that it will cause problems out on the battlefield. The question I want to ask is why do we as citizens allow the government to do things such as this? It is not right or just for an institution about truth and freedom to demand members to be dishonest and secretive. An institution should not ask its members to compromise their honor even if they deem it as a necessary evil. Repealing DADT is a step in the right direction and it appears that we are finally coming to our senses, and if a man or woman wants to risk his or her life for their country then they should be allowed to do so without having to lie about parts of their life.

  5. ksmo1211 Says:

    I believe that the subject boils down to this; is it the members who are supposed to serve the institution or is it the institution that is supposed to serve its members?

    Ideally, the system should work both ways, with the members and their institution working together for their mutual benefit. However, the U.S. military is an altogether different sort of beast. In the military, the credo reads sacrifice on many different levels.
    For one, members of the military sacrifice their own personal security, and sometimes even their own lives. They also sacrifice much of their privacy and to some extent their personal identity. I’m sure everyone knows about the shaven heads meant to promote oneness. The U.S. military has always promoted absolute obedience and demanded that the young men and women in the service give their lives over to it. I believe that this may be much of the reason that DADT managed to persist for so long. The military demands sacrifice of it members and in this case they believed that for the good of the institution its members should sacrifice their right of sexual expression.

    In the case of Seefried, I think Mill would say that it was wrong because Seefried was forced to adopt a pseudonym in order to argue against DADT. He would argue that Seefried should be allowed to freely express his opinion. However, Mill’s theory finds an interesting counter-argument when applied to the military. As I mentioned above, the U.S. military demands obedience and does not tolerate differentiating opinions. This strict obedience is considered an integral part of the military’s ability to respond to crisis. So in this case, even though I don’t agree with DADT, I can understand why the U.S. military put measures in place that would force Seefried to compromise his honor in order to bring about positive changes. The U.S. military is not a tolerant institution, nor should it be.

    In the end, even though Seefried had to go against the honor of the institution he had sworn loyalty to, I think he deserves greater respect for changing it for the better.

  6. dkap7 Says:

    To me, this rule should never have been in effect. When Americans are willing to risk their lives to help maintain the freedoms and democracy of this country, why does it really matter what their sexual orientation is? I can personally say that these American soldiers, whether homosexual or heterosexual, are more brave then the rest of us who are not enlisted in the army. If the armed forces decided to reject certain individuals based on their sexual orientation, the army would lose a lot of high ranking officers who are vital to the strength and core of our countries military like the author’s example 1st. Lieutenant Josh Seefried. Lt. Seefried has been keeping his sexual orientation private because of the policy “Don’t ask, Don’t tell”. Revealing his sexual orientation at 12:01 will have no effect on the performance of the armed forces and should have no effect on how he is treated by his fellow arms men.

    I have no connection to the army, but I do hold a connection to DADT. A family member of mine revealed to us about 15 years ago that she was in fact homosexual. She was discriminated against; she couldn’t get legally wed, had to hide her sexual orientation in order to gain clients with her vocation and many more inconveniences that this individual faced in her everyday life. Many of the freedoms that most of Americans are entitled too were lost for her. This same statement holds true for the men and women of our armed forces who are stripped of the right to be open about their sexual orientation. However, the more disturbing part of the policy DADT is that these men and women of our military are fighting to maintain the freedoms that America has to offer, when they themselves are not given these same freedoms. These soldiers are risking their life to fight for America’s democratic values. Democracy is characterized by the allowing of equal rights and privileges to all. By definition, these soldiers did not live within a democracy because they had to hide certain aspects of their lives, but at the same time they had to fight for the Democracy of the United States. I am disgusted by the policy of DADT, and believe that it was a great success not only for America, but for the homosexual community as well. Hopefully the abandonment of this policy, will lead to more freedoms for not just the homosexual community, but for all other people that are treated as inferior or as the minority.

  7. mcdonmeg Says:

    I grew up in a very conservative household and went to Catholic Schools my entire life. At the Catholic Schools they had various policies that would not allow certain teachers to teach there. One of the policies was signed in there teaching agreement with the school and was as follows; If a teacher was to get pregnant while teaching at the Catholic High School and was not married, then she would be fired. As harsh as this rule sounds, they implemented it because they didn’t want the Catholic teachers telling us not to fornicate, and then being hypocrites and fornicating themselves, and therefore getting pregnant. At the same time though, I had many wonderful young teachers who were woman and were not married, and I couldn’t imagine them being fired just for getting pregnant. They are a huge asset to our high school, and I didn’t see the complete logic in firing them for being pregnant, when in fact they should have been praised for keeping the baby, instead of having an a abortion which is against Catholic’s beliefs.

    Obviously the pregnancy policy at my school isn’t the same thing as the DADT policy, but the concept is merely the same. Although I might not support homosexual marriage, I do believe that repealing DADT was the right choice. Joining the army and fighting for our country should not be limited by someone’s sexual orientation. It’s flabbergasting that they would even think that is right to take away a homosexual’s right to fight for our country. Like my teacher scenario, it shouldn’t matter if she is pregnant, just like it shouldn’t matter if the soldier is a homosexual; what really matters is if she is a good and qualified teacher, and if he or she is good and qualified soldier.

    As Americans we pride ourselves in fighting for our freedom, but yet they want soldiers to fight while lying about their sexual orientation to their fellow soldiers. It does not make sense that we fight for freedoms such as freedom of speech, but yet the soldiers who voice their sexual orientation are forced to stop fighting for their country. Instead we should see it in a positive matter that we have soldiers that have a different sexual orientation and different ethnicities. We should embrace the fact that when comes time to war we have all different people coming together and fighting for one cause: our beloved country.

  8. Brian Robinson Says:

    This issue of DADT is complicated and controversial; it is worth discussing how something like being in the military and your sexual orientation somehow got combined and intertwined. There should be no connection between an individuals sexual orientation and their willingness to fight and defend their country. Anyone who wants to be in the armed services should have that right and should be honored for their courage. The abolition of DADT should serve as a symbol and promote free speech for all citizens not only those in the military. No one should be forced to conceal or hide a major part of who they are, especially someone volunteering to protect and serve our country.

    People occupy many different roles throughout their lives and in society. These roles often do collide and should be encouraged to work along side each other. An individual should not have an issue with hiding their role as a homosexual while trying to successfully carry out the role of a US soldier. Being that the United States is one of the most developed and politically free countries in the world, our military should accept anyone willing to defend those very freedoms other countries desire. There are many issues that should be debated and discussed by politicians, yet DADT should not be discussed because it simply should not matter ones sexual orientation.

  9. arielleshanker Says:

    Like many of the other commenters, I am very happy with the decision to overturn the DADT policy that presided over our military services for so long. This current event seems particularly relevant as it coincides with the start of our unit on “Who Are We, Anyway?,” a theme with the intent of understanding ourselves and our identities. In our first reading for this theme, Locke’s “A Letter Concerning Toleration,” he seeks to establish the two separate spheres of life– the religious and the civil, which equate to the internal and the external respectively. The separation of the public and private sectors of one’s life applies as it relates to religion, but becomes more of a gray area as it relates to other personality traits, such as sexuality. Locke’s take on DADT, therefore, might be more congruous with his thoughts on religious plurality, as he claims that more religious groups prevent civil unrest. Instead of having tension caused by a magistrate’s attempt to prevent differing religions from being practiced, Locke argues that tolerating their proliferation will aid in the harmony between sects and between religions.

    Similarly, the more abundant diversity is within our armed forces, whether it be racial, sexual orientation, gender, etc., I am sure that we will see more teamwork and greater acceptance over time. Studies show that when a diverse group works together, they often have better outcomes because the diversity is reflected in the ideas and strategies that they propose, allowing for a comprehensive solution to be found. Alternatively, homogenous groups are more likely to deal with emotional conflict, which negatively affects group performance. As it relates to the military, I would expect performance within ranks to increase after the repeal of DADT is enacted.

  10. blogger32 Says:

    After reading this post, I immediately thought about a story that one of my best friend’s from high school recently told me. My friend, who is hopes to be a marine is a sophmore at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He was one of the tens of thousands of service members who signed petitions and worked to get DADT repealed. He explained to me, that part of the reason he felt so strongly about ending DADT was that one of the men he lived with his freshman year was suspected of being gay by many of the other students. However, according to my friend, he is one of the most well liked students in their company (they refer to the group of students you live with as your company) and he consistently goes out of his way to be there for his fellow students. Additionally, this student is a star on the club hockey team and has never made any student feel uncomfortable by the way he acts when he’s around his classmates. Like many other service people, when DADT was repealed just a few days ago, he “came out” and revealed that he was gay to others at the academy.

    My friend was quite surprised by how positively received the news was, and he said it has actually rallied many of the midshipmen, who has used this story as a way to come together and support each other more than ever. I guess the point I’m trying to make is your sexual orientation is not indicative of what kind of person you are or what kind of soldier you are. As I said earlier, by all accounts this young man is as brave and caring as any other student at the academy…and if I were in the line of fire, he sounds exactly like the man I’d want to have standing next to me.

    In my opinion, the last organizations that should be concerned about people’s sexual interests is our government and military. When it comes to defending our nation, our people and our way of life, the absolute least important thing should be whether a soldier is gay or not. I definitely think repealing DADT is a positive stride for the gay community, however I can not help but be ashamed by the fact that it was even implemented in the first place. I don’t know about all of you guys but I’d MUCH rather have a gay person who cares about me and my nation be fighting by my side than a gay person who only cares about not getting killed and isn’t willing to to defend anyone but themselves. I’ll end this post with one question: who would you rather fight with?

  11. jacobdockser Says:

    Although myself nor any of my close family members have ever served in the armed services, I have found that in my contact with the brave men and women who serve our country all over the world I always walked away with the same feeling. That these people feel a sense of pride for their country on a level that a civilian cannot understand. By enlisting, Servicemen and women willingly submit not only their service but their honor and personal views as well, all in the name of their country. Yet, I believe the military should look at how the private sector operates when acting on social issues.

    Like any large corporation, you attract employees by making sure they enjoy their time and enjoy their job, and I feel that military should be no different. Who would want to work someplace where they are judged by their superiors and disgraced for their personal life choices? Along the same lines, the military remains the strongest and most technological advanced in the world. How do they do that? Innovation. Development. Progress. Why should social issues be different? Why can’t the military achieve innovation, development, and progress with the social issues that face us today? The simple answer is that they can and they should. Like the comment above me says, the repeal of DADT is absolutely a step in the right direction, but the issues still remain. It is now on the Pentagon to decide whether to run away from issues of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, or handle them straight on. My hope is that they work with the soldiers and prove a solid example for handling social injustices for the rest of the world.

  12. samdickstein Says:

    Firstly, I think the fact that the rule was instituted in the first place shows the backwardness of our country. In this day and age when it is so obvious scientifically that people have an equal ability to represent and protect our country regardless of sexual orientation, race, or socioeconomic background, the fact that DADT was instituted in the first place is absurd. In 1993, not even a more liberal president in Bill Clinton had the political clout to fully allow homosexuals into service, instead passing a halfway measure like DADT. The United States is a country that prides itself on a nation in which everyone is treated equally with the same freedoms. However, it is clear in this situation that throughout the countries history, even in government, full rights to everyone aren’t granted. For this reason, until this year, people like Josh Seefried had to live a secret, a dishonesty of sorts, to pursue the career path that he was passionate about.

    This article really got me thinking not just about homosexuals but all minorities in the modern day and what they have to go through with the State even in the most liberal country with the most freedoms in the entire world. Pondering on this i began thinking about the 1991 Rodney King beating during the Los Angeles Riots when 4 LAPD officers beat an innocent black man with a bat( his face turned out like this: http://www.brooklynbodega.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Rodney-King-INSET.jpg“). This shows the imperfections in a modern-day “equal” state when people hired by the government to create equality and fairness are ganging up committing hate crimes against a minority member of society. It is imperative that for the country and society to prove, everyone can feel comfortable in their own skin. This is the ONLY way in which one can achieve true honor, at ease. I believe that the country has a lot of work to do to become perfectly equal and fair to everyone,and thus allowing them to seek honor, but the repeal of DADT was a definite step in the right direction.

  13. ksoisson Says:

    Like others that have commented on this post, I too am proud of those who serve our country. I’m also glad to see the abolishment of DADT. Enlisted men and women are putting their lives on the line for us so who are we to tell them they can’t be open about their sexual orientation? I don’t really understand why the United States had a law like this in the first place. If someone chooses to serve in the military, then I think that takes enough courage itself. Having to deal with DADT too I’m sure was pretty stressful for many. However, this is a great step for the United States. Perhaps this will help others in the country and promote gay rights nationwide. I think the country can learn from the removal of DADT. Like blogger32 said, the sexual orientation of a soldier is of least importance when it comes to serving. Who cares if someone that is serving is also gay? Citizens should be proud of what the armed forces do for us everyday and not worry about something so harmless.

    DADT could very well have been affecting soldiers in the military and been causing problems emotionally that many did not know. Perhaps performance will even be improved by some due to the abolition of DADT. It’s good to see something like this done away with, especially because it deals with those who put their lives on the line to keep peace at home.

  14. leannaprairie Says:

    I was reading through all the comments on this post, and as I learned about all of your experiences, I was forced to think about my own. Back in the day, when I was a freshman, I joined a sorority. I was so excited to be a part of an organization that would make a huge university seem smaller.

    How this ties into the DADT repeal is, again, a matter of honor and compromise. A lot of people believe that being in a sorority means you have to always abide by the sorority’s ideals, rules and image. When I was a new member, there was a part of me that felt like sometimes I couldn’t be myself, for fear of tarnishing the sorority’s image or reputation. I felt like because I was a part of this group, wearing their badge, that everything I did reflected upon the organization. The same goes for men and women in uniform.

    Obviously, my personal discomfort is nowhere near as damaging or significant as that of the soldiers affected by DADT. But, the point is that I can relate, and as I’ve grown up a little more, I’m no longer afraid to completely be myself when wearing my letters, hanging out with sisters, or attending my house’s events. But people who were affected by DADT had to wait for the law to change before they could be themselves without repercussions. Even if they had had a little more self-confidence than I did in the beginning, they still wouldn’t have been able to truly be themselves until the law changed.

    The point is that the repeal of DADT is an excellent step in the right direction towards acceptance of people, but there are still individuals and groups that feel that they can’t be themselves for fear of repercussion. So the question becomes, what’s the next step?

  15. Katherine Adams Says:

    I agree with the above opinions on the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy. Personally, I feel that the interaction of sexual orientation and career should never occur. Regardless of the type of work, one’s sexual orientation should not affect the way he or she is able to work, and should surely not determine his or her opportunities. In the case of the Armed Forces, especially, I feel as though personal business should remain personal. These men and women are sacrificing their lives for us…we are not exactly in a position to be judgmental of them in any way.

    However, the bigger issue at stake here is not our opinions on this recent repeal. What I think is more central to this course is what was mentioned at the end of this main post: how do we deal with the “conflict between the honor you have by virtue of being a part of an institution and that very institution requiring you to compromise that honor?” This question is complex, because it has no direct answer. When an institution forces you to lie in order to be a part of it, it is hard to see how being a part of that institution could still be considered honorable. Any group that includes lying as a basic prerequisite would appear to be built upon dishonorable ideals. The US Armed Forces is one of the only situations in which I could even envision this conflict taking place, because I think it’s safe to say that the Armed Forces will forever be an honorable institution. Assuming this, we are left with a bit of a quandary, since a decidedly honorable institution has indeed required lying of its members.

    In a country with such a huge population, many people encounter situations in which one or two of their individual roles contradict each other. It seems that the Armed Forces, before the repeal of DADT, was one of these situations for many people. Which begs the question: is the conflict of one or more of our roles something unavoidable? Is there a way to prevent this? John Stuart Mill would argue for total freedom of expression as a solution to this conflict. If we are all allowed to express exactly who we are at all times, then we should theoretically never encounter a situation where we must alter aspects of our personalities. Although this complete and utter freedom of expression is hard to accomplish, I think the repeal of DADT is a step in the right direction.

  16. Baihan Li Says:

    This post just reminds me about a lying society. Well, I am not referring the U.S.A, but rather, I am talking about China, the country I come from.

    To me, the “better” a country want to perform itself, the bigger the shadow of a society may be. On July 23, a bullet train ran into the back of another which was waiting for signals from Wenzhou transportation center. It was reported that the number of casualties was 39. However, would anyone believe that there were only 39 people in 2 carriages, where no bed but rows of seats were placed?

    This is what I mean by the dark side created by its pursuit of perfect performance. It is reasonable for a country to show the world a better side of it. However, never can a better national image be achieved through burying the truth of what has happened. In the DADT case, it further has to do with the oppression of human nature.

    When the immutable nature of human is suppressed, it is possible for everything to just look fine. Nevertheless, once the oppressed nature is offered a chance, it would flood out and damage the normal moral base line. It might be a little bit offensive to talk about sexuality there; however, this may the best example to illustrate my opinion. In western countries, by which I refer to the U.S.A, France, Italy and other nations alike, the society is liberal and quite open about sex. Thus, it is common for a beautiful blonde to bake herself naked on a beach with others just indifferently passing by. However, in countries like Japan or Arab, where you may never hear a pornographic joke in a public occasion, males are much more sex-oriented (For girls, you may never want to go out alone at night in countries like Dubai, even with all your faced covered under a veil). A survey conducted in Japan reveals that 207 out of 447 subjects reported to have been sexually abused in childhood. It is really striking to think that nearly half of the children live through sexual abuse in a society famous for etiquette and social order.

    Again, nature could never be changed by oppression. It is proper guidance of an issue that could really contribute to public good. In our case, I have to say, it is so good that those guys could eventually live their life as who they really are. As for the society, it is really not a shameful thing to admit we do have homosexual solders, as long as they fight for the honor and safety of the country.

    source:
    1. http://proquest.umi.com.proxy.lib.umich.edu/pqdlink?vinst=PROD&attempt=1&fmt=6&startpage=-1&ver=1&vname=PQD&RQT=309&did=739760701&exp=09-25-2016&scaling=FULL&vtype=PQD&rqt=309&TS=1317100251&clientId=17822

    2.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14321060

  17. shmily4k Says:

    Like most of the comments here, I’m glad that the DADT policy has been repealed. For all of the people who applied to join the military, no matter they are homosexual or heterosexual, are those that dedicated their lives to protect the country. They are motivated, determined, strong and brave. This is exactly what the US army is looking for – someone who can devote himself or herself to the country. With that being said, what’s the big deal if he or she is a homosexual?

    To me, it would be absolutely ridiculous if someone who is brave enough to kill enemies but is afraid of a homosexual. Besides, does the existence of gay soldiers really going to affect the entire success of the army? All soldiers would have gone through the same massive amount of training programs before being qualified to fight for the country. Given the fact that some of them might be gay does not necessary mean that they do not possess the same strength and skills as the straight soldiers do.

    In many cases, being a homosexual is not an option one makes, just like we never choose to be a heterosexual. Our sexual orientation is mostly inborn. In my opinion, people who are willing to serve this country with their lives should have the right and respect to be who they are. They should not be urged to deny who they were and their sexual orientations in order to make others feel comfortable. Think about how ironic and insane it would be for someone to say, “Hey, we need you to protect the nation, but please, tell me you’re straight.”

    For nearly 17 years, gay soldiers are forced to hide their sexual preferences, and ignoring who they were. They are forbidden to talk about how much they miss their partners and anything regarding their relationships. It has been a tragedy for the DADT policy to be legislated and I’m glad this policy has finally be abandoned.

  18. jeanrichmann Says:

    Like many other commenters, I also agree that the repeal of DADT was a wise choice for the U.S. Military. Yes, many of us agree that DADT is unjust, and it prohibits freedom of expression and forces members of the military to hide truths from their peers. The DADT policy also demonstrates religious involvement in the government. Allowing homosexuality does not cause anyone harm; the reason for prejudice against homosexuality comes from biblical content. Because religious views are supposed to be separate from government, homosexuality should not be restricted by the government.

    Josh Seefried, as a member of the U.S. military, was forced to lie about his sexuality in order to serve his country. In order to remain in the military, he had to advocate against DADT, even though he was someone that the DADT policy would cast away from the military. Should the fact that he lied make him an un honorable person? I do not believe so. Upon entering the military, he was forced to compromise his honor, and continued to do so when advocating against DADT. While he was dishonest, I believe what he did is heroic. Reasons for dishonesty often are in more of a gray area than either black or white. I believe lying in a beneficial way (such as what Josh did) does not make someone un honorable. Why should sexuality matter when one is defending their country? Does being homosexual stop someone from fighting or thinking properly? No it doesn’t. Lying, and compromising ones honor (which no one wants to do), in order to defend your country and loved ones does not make you a dishonorable person. In my opinion, it makes you yet another hero of the U.S. military.

    My Grandfather lied about his age in order to fight for the U.S. in WWII. Does that make him a dishonorable person? No! He lied to fight for the ones he loved, and a dispute he was passionate about. Lies that Seefried and my Grandfather told do not harm anyone. For that reason, in my opinion, both are still honorable people.

  19. Isobel Kraft Says:

    As I understand the service (based on close family friends in the military and considering ROTC before I arrived at school), it is a way of life based on honor, integrity and bravery. Throughout my childhood and even more now, I am impressed with all the men and women who choose to serve and protect this country’s well being. In my opinion, it is so backwards to have an organization (if you can call the military that) so focused on upholding the values of honor and integrity, force its Servicemen and women to jeopardize their own for social issues present in the civilian world. It makes me uncomfortable to know that a social issue such as gay rights extends and is a big problem in the military where the men and women are trained and willing to fight for our country. Are they fighting for us just so we can continue to have these issues? I hope not! If the issue is going to be present in the military (which, I admit, is hard to imagine it wouldn’t be, because they are people too), instead of trying to make the issue of gay rights moot in the service by just not talking about it, turn it into a positive effect on the civilian world by moving past it. As I hope the military will do now that DADT is no longer in effect.

    Basically, I’ll I’m trying to say here is that it is ridiculous to force members of any organization to act against the very values that the organization requires its members to have. It is unfair to the people who commit themselves to the group (and in the case of the military, put their lives on the line) to expect them do this. With this particular issue of gay rights, the military should embrace the issue and try to use the their influence on society to send the right message: We accept gays and lesbians and respect their willingness to serve this nation and you should try to accept them too.

  20. springsteen1 Says:

    The concept of DADT is an interesting one. I like the concept, in the sense that it was a step in the right direction when it was first implemented. I also like, however, the notion that it has been dismissed by the current administration. While there are plenty who would blatantly disagree with the notion of this contradiction/paradox, the fact remains that these things must be handled in steps, particularly in America, where we have difficulty comprehending too much at at once – especially with dilemmas such as this one.

    As such, I am reminded of many folks we have read in this class. John Stuart Mill, for example, would have seen this as freedom of expression (to express your views, in ways direct and indirect) and even freedom of both opinion and speech (because expressing it in various ways – whether it is on a placard, on a tee shirt, on your Facebook page, or even in your bunker are all ways Mill would see his views displaced onto this subject.)

    Overall, the subject of DADT absolutely relates (as a peer noted above) to things such as RAs/drinking, even parental relationships. The notion that we, as Americans, have been given liberties and freedoms, and the taking of those freedoms for granted is a direct cause for a limitation of such freedoms is absolutely a warranted statement to be made. I agree with that. I agree that DADT was wrong overall, but absolutely critical when it was first implemented; so yes, I agree with the process we have seen with the issue of open homosexuality in the military. Timing is everything.

  21. brianfrankel Says:

    The conflict between the honor you have by virtue of being a part of an institution and that very institution requiring you to compromise that honor, in my opinion, can be answered. In society, we have come to understand that a “white lie”, one which neither harms nor provokes, can be just under the right circumstances. Those men and women who were unable to serve openly in the military but served nonetheless believed that their cause was so just, and the rule so wrong, that it overwhelmed any comprise of that honor, perhaps even reinforcing it more so. They refused to compromise their honor for their country, even if it meant having to keep part of their identity private. For honor this strong is too abstract and too personal for an individual to let it be comprised in this context.

  22. Brandon Canniff Says:

    Following along as DADT finally came to an end, and now hearing about Josh Seefried has gotten me to think a lot about what the state as the legitimate right to control. I understand its need to protect private property, collect taxes, and all the other basics, but what about sexuality? Church and State have been considered separate since ours nations beginning, yet the government’s only real argument against gay rights is rooted in religion. It makes me, like many of the other people on this post, weary about how advanced and inclusive our country really is. And maybe that is what repealing DADT is about, taking the next step to being a truly open society. My only real worry is if the state will now force new recruits to list what their sexuality is.
    Sexuality and politics are two things you wouldn’t expect to be mixed together, yet they are very much so connected and relevant to our political lives. Which makes we wonder. What else about out individual lives is the state involved in and how free are we after all?

  23. matthewlocascio Says:

    This post addresses a question that is prevalent throughout society, dealing with contradicting values and virtue. The essence of the United States Military is honor, pride and integrity. We are directed everywhere in the public eye to honor the soldiers and honor those who have risked their lives to protect the land in which we live; we also teach children in the United States the golden rule, “treat others the way you wish to be treated.” From simply understanding these two points, any rational member of society can understand that the military resembles honor, and each soldier should compose themselves with the same honor and pride. But this is not always the case, as seen in this post. Lt. Seefried lied and created a false identity to help bring down the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy. This compromise of honor within the organization with the most honor of them all reveals an underlying weakness in society.

    I was talking with my friend in my apartment recently about a similar instance. He was telling me of the corruption in Environmental Protection. We specifically addressed the Environmental Protection lawyers and the corruption involved. Like the DADT situation, the EP lawyers dishonored one of the virtues their very profession promotes. My friend told me that once Environmental lawyers are hired by companies, they are taught to lie, cheat and “fudge” the data to cover up any environmental damages to protect the company that hired them. Now, lawyers generally represent integrity, honesty, and order in the legal system, but in this case are taught to lose all of these virtues to protect the establishment that supplies the paychecks.

    In both of these situations we see virtues related to specific fields or institutions that are corrupted by the demands of these same institutions. In today’s world, people seem to be more driven by monetary and materialistic demands than holding up the virtues associated with their job, culture or even family.

  24. benhenri Says:

    Like many students before me have already mentioned, I am extremely relieved to know that the DADT was recently repealed. I do not wish to unjustifiably criticize the entire military and what it stands for. In fact, I fully support and admire the military’s greatest platform to try persistently and passionately to defend our country. My grandfather played a large role in the military for most of his life. Still, I believe the fact that the DADT was ever in effect in the military exemplifies that the strict and intolerant structure of the organization does, indeed, have flaws, other than just being prejudiced against homosexuals in the military, and I find it extremely prudent to point them out.
    After reading Baihan Li’s comment, which involved a statement concerning sexual abuse, I recalled a detail about the military that I’ve just recently gained knowledge of. I learned that there are still more men in the military than women. And, unfortunately, female officers are still verbally tormented and, sometimes, sexually abused by male officers, even ones of a higher rank. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for these females to remain mute about these incidences for sexual relations of any kind are prohibited and, usually, those accused and found guilty will lose a stripe or, even worse, their occupation. And, because these women are the minority, the male officer and his counterparts will increasingly antagonize her if she broadcasts her rape. Part of the reason those in the military, who were homosexuals, chose to remain quiet was that “there are still individuals and groups that feel that they can’t be themselves (or tell the truth) for fear of repercussion,” as leannaprarie states. And, yes, there was a law enacted, yet, even so, if they believed in the honor and trust of the organization they worked for, they would have told anyway. This did not happen, however, and, so, it must be safe to assume that, perhaps secretively, these people and their friends mistrusted the true honor of the military, at least slightly. And, furthermore, I agree with Baihan Li when he declares that “it is so backwards to have an organization (if you can call the military that) so focused on upholding the values of honor and integrity, force its Servicemen and women to jeopardize their own” values.”
    I also agree with leannaprarie again when she questions so, “what’s the next step?” In response to this query, I believe that others, especially higher officials in the military with more authority and power, need to, first, actively ACKNOWLEDGE these problems of sexual assault, especially with women, then, INFORM the public of these evils formally, and, finally, attempt to ADDRESS them.
    And, finally, I agree with another statement made by Baihan Li that “never can a better national image be achieved through burying the truth of what has happened.” In other words, I believe that the country, or the military, employs Mill’s idea of utilitarianism and the majority rule to display the better national image, which, in this area of study, is entirely wrong. The military overlooks, or even ignores, the minority (that being those female officers who were sexually assaulted and those homosexuals in the military who were silenced), who is being severely harmed physically or otherwise. This fact, I think, is both morally corrupt and incredibly ironic. The key motive of an organization, like the military, is to promote peace and contentment in their own country. In order to do so, they must attempt to better every aspect of their organization, yet, in this case, they do the exact opposite and, simply, ignore.

  25. shmily4k Says:

    Like most of the comments here, I’m glad that the DADT policy has been repealed. All of the people who applied to join the military, no matter they are homosexual or heterosexual, are those that dedicated their lives to protect the country. They are motivated, determined, strong and brave. This is exactly what the US army is looking for – someone who can devote himself or herself to the country. With that being said, what’s the big deal if he or she is a homosexual?

    To me, it is absolutely ridiculous for a person who is brave enough to kill enemies but is afraid of a homosexual. Besides, is the existence of gay soldiers really going to affect the overall success of the entire army? All soldiers would have gone through the same massive amount of training programs before being qualified to fight for the country. The fact that some of them might be gay does not necessarily mean that they do not possess the same strengths and skills as the straight soldiers do.

    In many cases, being a homosexual is not an option one makes, just like we never chose to be heterosexuals. Our sexual orientation is mostly inborn.
    In my opinion, people who are willing to serve this country with their lives deserve the right and respect to be who they are. They should not be urged to deny who they are and their sexual orientations in order to make others feel comfortable. Think about how ironic and insane it would be for someone to say, “Hey, we need you to protect the nation, but please, tell me you’re straight.”

    For nearly 17 years, gay soldiers are forced to hide their sexual preferences, and forget who they truly are. They are forbidden to talk about how much they miss their partners or anything regarding their relationships. It has been a tragedy for the DADT policy to be legislated and I’m glad this policy has finally been abandoned.

  26. yonni627 Says:

    When one has to choose between telling the truth and lying, he/she must think about the pros and cons of each path. If people decide to tell the truth, they must accept and deal with the outcomes of telling the truth. If people decide to lie, they need to stick to their lie and do whatever is necessary to hide the truth. Before DADT was repealed, homosexuals that were fully committed to serving in the armed forces were forced to lie about their identity and live each moment according to their initial lie. Most of us will agree that DADT was an unfair policy, but what really is important here is the conflicts that DADT brought upon soldiers and the armed forces in general. Sexuality doesn’t determine one’s ability to perform in the armed forces; anyone can be courageous, strong, dedicated, and loyal to something they feel passionate about (in this case serving in the military). What many of us don’t realize, however, is that DADT posed a huge threat to the military and government. Are homosexual soldiers expected to hide behind a facade when they are taught to protect, communicate and collaborate with their comrades at all times? Could they really perform to their fullest abilities if they were constantly struggling to deal with their multiple identities? In my opinion, before the repeal of DADT, homosexuals in the armed forces probably struggled tremendously dealing with these issues. The government’s thought that DADT would be helpful was actually extremely hurtful, and most likely made it more difficult for homosexuals to perform in the military. Now that DADT has been repealed, soldiers like Josh Seefried are able to express themselves openly, proving to everyone that sexuality has no contribution in one’s military performance. The elimination of DADT should allow people to realize the commitment and mental strength of homosexuals that serve in the military. Serving for a cause that doesn’t accept your identity is an extremely difficult task, yet so many people have done it lately. Like many others that commented on this post, I am very happy DADT has been repealed and adamantly believe that the armed forces will move forward and drastically improve.

  27. Michelle Rubin Says:

    The question you posed at the end of the post is very thought provoking. I was actively following DADT in the news since controversy about it being repealed came into play. I instantly became fascinate with the act for many reasons. Firstly, because it seemed morally wrong that our armed forces were obligated to fire someone if they spoke of their sexual orientation. Secondly, because I became interested in the actual people who this act affected on a daily basis. I couldn’t imagine risking my life for the safety and security of my nation and in return not being allowed to be honest about my sexual orientation. It was almost as if these people were living double lives and they were forced into leading these double lives because of the law. Their role of being in the armed forces came into conflict with their personal role of their sexual orientation. These two roles could not be meshed simply because it was not allowed. They had to be dishonest simply to protect their job.
    Although, not as severe as DADT this reminds me of several situations I’ve viewed and been a part of. Sometimes, one person can be viewed in many different ways. For example, your friend can be crazy and hyper when you’re hanging out with her, but when she’s with her family or at school she is much more reserved. To you this version of your friend seems unrecognizable, but to others this is what they view her as all the time. This is similar to those who had to live with the DADT act, living double lives because their two roles came into conflict with one another.

  28. kristinamacek Says:

    I am incredibly happy that DADT has been abolished and the gays and lesbians can now serve in the military and be vocal about their sexuality. However, I must say that the policy did what it was intended to do when it was enacted. Those who were thought to be gay and who were serving in the military were treated horribly and many homosexual men and women were afraid to join the military, simply because they did not want to be discriminated against because of their sexual preferences. DADT allowed this mistreatment and abuse to stop. Although, gays and lesbians had to essentially lie to be in the military, at least they were safe.

    However, we are in a very different time from a couple decades ago. We are fighting wars in several countries and have military forces deployed in every corner of the world and people have begun to see that no matter if someone is straight, gay, bisexual, or anything in between if they are willing to fight for our country they should be able to. They are risking their lives to keep the US safe. We should be thanking these individuals, not judging them. Additionally, the gay rights movement has made huge progress in the last few years. Gay marriage is now accepted in a number of states and many homosexual individuals engage in PDA. We now live in a country that is much more accepting of gays and lesbians and that is something to be thankful for because no matter what DADT accomplished it was still wrong. Our 1st amendment guarantees us the right to express our thoughts peacefully without fear of retaliation and gays and lesbians in the military should have been able to express their sexuality from day one.

  29. sarahspath23 Says:

    I have always pictured the people in the military as brave, honorable, honest, determined, etc. From the few people I know in the army and navy, this is true and even just thinking about what people who have enlisted have decided to do is truly amazing to me. However, it is not the people in the military that I want to talk about here, it is the institution in which they are a part of.

    The United States makes it clear that being a part of the military is heroic and an incredibly honorable thing to do. I would venture to say that most people in the U.S. would feel this way towards the people in the military on their own, without an institution telling them to feel this way. Some might say that we would not be Americans if we did not feel that being in the military was honorable. Have you ever seen the commercials for the army? Those are created by this institution to show what kind of person you are if you are in the army. It makes those of us watching it feel that people in the army are truly honorable, but is the institution that emphasizes this point extensively very honorable?

    How can an institution that rests its principles on the bravery and integrity of its members not follow those same guidelines? The DADT policy is for me a breach of everything that the institution stands for. This policy has forced many military members to not be open about a part of themselves, which is being dishonest.
    How can an institution that is so public about the honorable nature of their program create and enforce a policy that is in direct conflict with their whole purpose?

    I believe that the DADT policy has forced many military members to be dishonest about themselves, when everything they are supposed to be about is integrity. The institution has led these people down a path of conflict both within themselves and with others, including the public. It is not fair for the institution to have a policy that contradicts everything they admit to standing for. I think this policy put some members in an awful position and made both its members and the public question the true nature of the institution.

  30. lmaren Says:

    I am very relieved to see ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ repealed. It was a law that stunted people from showing their patriotism for their nation. It should not matter and now it does not matter what your orientation is in regards to your involvement with our military. This law was not initially meant to be so discriminating against gays and lesbians. The lawmakers who created this law did not think about the social and personal effects it has on people. This law had flaws in it’s logic trying to protect the confidentiality of gays and lesbians and it ended acting as a disservice to them. What would it be like to hide your identity from everyone around you, for fear that they would turn you in and you would lose your job over that? I would be miserable. I would not join the military if I knew that i had to hide my identity. Those who joined the military despite the fact that this law are very brave, resilient and look to their patriotism before their personal lives. These are the kind of people that you want in the military. They were willing to suffer their personal freedoms in order to serve their nation. That is remarkable.

    It is pretty hard for me to understand why someone’s orientation can affect their career in the military. I worked at Urban Outfitters this summer and met many very nice, hardworking people. It did not matter what their orientation was, and no one cared. Everyone was equal, no matter what their orientation was. This is so normal to me, it is hard for me to comprehend that people could possibly be fired because of their orientation. I am happy that DADT is gone. I am astonished and proud of how loyal many of these gays and lesbians are, despite having suffered their personal freedoms as a sacrifice to a greater cause. This is a great step forward for the rights of gays and lesbians.

  31. jeanrichmann Says:

    Like many other commenters, I also agree that the repeal of DADT was a wise choice for the U.S. Military. Yes, many of us agree that DADT is unjust, and it prohibits freedom of expression and forces members of the military to hide truths from their peers. The DADT policy also demonstrates religious involvement in the government. Allowing homosexuality does not cause anyone harm; the reason for prejudice against homosexuality comes from biblical content. Because religious views are supposed to be separate from government, homosexuality should not be restricted by the government.

    Josh Seefried, as a member of the U.S. military, was forced to lie about his sexuality in order to serve his country. In order to remain in the military, he had to advocate against DADT, even though he was someone that the DADT policy would cast away from the military. Should the fact that he lied make him an un honorable person? I do not believe so. Upon entering the military, he was forced to compromise his honor, and continued to do so when advocating against DADT. While he was dishonest, I believe what he did is heroic. Reasons for dishonesty often are in more of a gray area than either black or white. I believe lying in a beneficial way (such as what Josh did) does not make make someone dishonorable. There are some exceptions when lying is acceptable; these often include when one is placing others before themselves. There is a difference in lying to benefit yourself and lying to benefit others. Seefried’s dishonesty was for the benefit for his country and the ones he loves. Because his dishonesty was selfless, and purely for the benefit for others, I believe Seefried is still an honorable man.

  32. srbarron Says:

    Similarly to many pervious remarks, I too struggle to find the connection between national service and sexual orientation. Since our country does not have a draft, we must encourage those that would like to serve, to go ahead and serve. It is a respectable move to join the army, which many never even consider. We should therefore not the limit those would are willing to risk their lives to protect our freedoms from enlisting. The ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy seemed unnecessary to me. When someone chooses to enlist, the least we can do to thank them for their service is to respect their personal beliefs and feelings towards others. Having this policy in effect was a subtle way of discriminating against the GLBT community. It is not the government’s job to prohibit or discourage the freedom of speech and practices of those serving for the country.

    Therefore, the end to DADT seems more than necessary and should have a major effect of those in the army already who favor same sex relationships. Military officials and soldiers should have always been comfortable expressing themselves and now this gives them more strength to share themselves.

    A few summers ago I went on a summer program to Israel. Similar to the university experience, we lived in dorms with five other girls. Five of the six of us got along very well and could relate and share stories with each other, however, the last one in the group always felt out of place. She confessed to us that she was lesbian but didn’t feel comfortable sharing that with us for most of the trip. Comparably to the army, living in restricted quarters not being able to express yourself can make things very awkward and weird for everyone in the group. As soon as she shared her feelings and expressed her sexual orientation, once she gained our trust, everything in the dorm seemed to flow much better.

    Eliminating DADT eliminates the uncomfortable feeling that anyone gets when they can’t express themselves, especially when they are risking their lives and want to share all emotions. The government removing this ruling shows the progress our country is making to go back to its first amendment roots.

  33. Michael Zanger Says:

    This reminds me of a recent event regarding the overturn of Prop 8 in California. Judge Vaughn Walker (whom I just found out was a University of Michigan graduate), an openly homosexual man (conservative and nominated by former President George H. W. Bush) ruled that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. Conservatives and supporters of Prop. 8 were outraged with Judge Walker’s ruling and argued that he was not qualified to rule on such matters. I firmly believe anyone who denies civil rights to American citizens, especially those granted by the Constitution, shouldn’t be given media outlet to postulate on social matters.

    Said conjectures and assumptions discredited a rule made by Judge Walker, stating that his individual sexual orientation sparks partisanship on all judicial rulings (and could essentially challenge previous ones as well).

    Those who may have enforced D.A.D.T. are being criticized for coming out and living as openly homosexual servicemen and women. Though seemingly treasonous to those experiencing equivalent silencing (or “outing” in unfortunate cases), the individuals facing policies such as D.A.D.T. had no choice but to honor the rule or face dishonorable discharge, thus limiting employment or education opportunities they would have (or could have) relied upon after serving.

    Under said conditions, we as the citizens (under the protection of these individuals) cannot judge, but respect the right to honor his or her country’s policies previously under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” for the benefit and well-being and safety of the majority of homosexuals serving in the armed forces. It cannot be deemed lying if the country did not ask, and the soldier did not tell.

  34. erfreed3 Says:

    DADT seems to me a very ludicrous policy. How can one’s sexual orientation dictate whether or not they are able to fight for our country? Personally, I have never been interested in going abroad to fight in a war. Not that I consider myself a coward or without the ability to do so but rather I just have no desire. As the saying goes, “I’m a lover, not a fighter”. That being said, I am incredibly grateful that there are people within our country that want to fight for our safety and freedom. This brings me to the larger point: How could it possibly matter who wants to fight for our country? We should be grateful that there are people out there that are willing to put their lives on the line!

    I see this in a way as similar to cleaning dishes. I admit, this may not be the world’s best analogy but bear with me. If someone in my house were to offer to clean the dishes, I wouldn’t say, “Okay as long as you are not homosexual”, I would say, “YES”! This brings me back to the main point of the post, honor within an institution in conflict with one’s personal beliefs. I view Joseph Seefried as courageous for advocating against the DADT policy under a pseudonym and personally I view his argument as correct. Obviously, there is a fine line when one is arguing against an institution in which one has membership. The main argument being what would be considered deceitful, what would not? However, I don’t believe what Seefried did was deceitful because it was in a regards to a policy that does not correlate to military participation. It just seems irrelevant. Because his argument against DADT has nothing to do with military participation itself, it is justified. More importantly, the end of DADT is justified. The bottom line here is that Seefriend never should have had to experience a role conflict. It just isn’t fair that Seefried had to compromise who he was for the institution he served. It’s not fair because his sexual orientation should have nothing to do with his ability to serve and defend our country.

  35. Lilian Baek Says:

    Finally! Undercutting the military honor code has come to an end with the repeal of the DADT. Although many argue that the DADT ignored the equality or civil rights of homosexuals, I believe the bigger picture at hand was the government attempting to protect the integrity of the U.S. military’s unique culture, while still allowing homosexuals to serve. The government did not exterminate rights, but was a somewhat reasonable and legitimate compromise measure. With that said, I believe the repeal of the DADT was the first step towards a society of harmony and prosperity. However, could this act be seen as an end of one chapter and a beginning of another? Now that it is acceptable for homosexual military personnel to serve openly in the first time in U.S. history, it makes me wonder… Is the next target the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)? In case some of you may not know what the DOMA entails, it defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. It was passed in 1996 signed into law by former President Bill Clinton (Wall Street Journal).

    Seeing as how certain states such as New York allow the marriage of gays, the next repeal of DOMA should soon follow. This issue brings up yet another point. Similar to Professor Manty’s post “Babies, Parents, and the “Need to Know” I believe all states should abide by the same laws. The idea that marriage equality is a state-by-state issue is inefficient and is both impractical and frightening. I understand that certain states are more conservative than others and so on. However, it does not justify the reason as to why homosexuals should be unaccepted in certain parts of the country.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703842004576162840051443336.html

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