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What true freedom is

Jim Ropa | Friday, February 18, 2011

I often read Viewpoint articles that make me feel the need to respond with a letter of my own. Laziness and a generally laid back attitude usually stay my hand before I even begin. However, after reading the Viewpoint titled (“Consequences of Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Feb. 15), I felt an overwhelming need to express my profound objections at the views expressed in said article.

First, I would like to point out that it was not President Obama who created this legislation, but it was the Senate, which represents the majority of the population, who voted in an overwhelming majority to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Now let me continue on to the heart of the subject: the danger that we will be putting our military men and women in. Allow me to list some decisions made in recent years that turned out to be far more dangerous for our men and women in the military than allowing homosexuals to be outwardly homosexual: 1) Sending them to Iraq in the Gulf War; 2) Sending them to Afghanistan in the War on Terror; 3) Sending them to Iraq again in the War for Iraqi Freedom. The fact of the matter is, the military is a dangerous business to be in. Are we really going to claim that knowledge of a person’s sexual orientation will put somebody in more danger than the guns firing on the other side of line? In fact, one of the most famously successful armies in the history of the world was also known for being composed mainly of bisexual men (I am referring to the army of Sparta, for those who may not have heard the rumors). I must also remind readers that it was not so long ago that it was also thought that African Americans would put their unit in more danger because they too would cause disunity. Even more recently, women were considered to be this “dangerous” problem in the military. The point is, there is no additional danger added from these groups of people. Gay people are not animals — they will no sooner “go after people” in the shower than you or I would; in fact, from what I understand homosexual people tend not to find straight people attractive in the first place. Fraternization is forbidden in the military anyway; therefore it should not be an issue whether a person is attracted to men, women, nobody or everybody. No — there is no additional danger. This “danger” is simply another mask for the deep-seeded hate of that which is not understood. I have friends who are in the military who could care less about whether others in their unit are homosexual or straight. I also have friends in the army who are disgusted with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and I have found that it is not a fear of detraction from missions but rather a dislike for those who are different from themselves. Let’s call this what it is — it is just another issue in which people cannot accept those who lead a different lifestyle. This is simply the battle for civil liberties hidden in a new disguise. The more discrimination that people of non-heterosexual orientation face, the more of a disservice we do to the very people we are trying to protect. The men and women of the United States military risk their lives to protect civil liberties. If it is truly a distraction to them that the person risking their life next to them may be gay, then they don’t really represent the discipline or the idea of freedom that the United States military is supposed to. Mr. Falvey suggests that this diversity is not worth fighting for or dying for. I must say that there is nothing more worth shedding blood for than a person’s civil rights. It is what this country was founded on, and what we still claim to be based on today. America’s children — all of her children — cease to truly be American the minute we forget what freedom truly is.

Jim Ropa


Siegfried Hall

Feb. 16