Today's Post-Gazette reprints a New York Times article on the banning of ROTC from campuses such as Harvard in response to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy which in effect bans openly gay men and women from serving in the military.
President Faust of Harvard, a historian, says that as much as she
admires the military – and during her June commissioning speech, she
went out of her way to mention an interest she and General Petraeus
shared in Ulysses S. Grant — she cannot have a student group on campus
that is closed to one part of the student body. The student handbook
says that the federal law is “inconsistent with Harvard's values as
stated in its policy on discrimination.”
“Harvard commits itself to training leaders of all kinds, and we
should be training leaders for the military,” Dr. Faust said in an
interview. “We want to have students in R.O.T.C. I am the president of
Harvard and I am their president and Harvard is their university. But
we also have gay and lesbian students and I am their president and
Harvard is their university.”
The article goes on to explore contradictions in the University policy such as fundraising from military graduates, special education programs set up for military leaders and so forth. President Faust admits it is contradictory, but as the opening sentence of the post states … the solution likes with POTUS and the Congress to repeal the ban.
My college roommate, Amy Besterfeldt, was in ROTC. I remember early risings, early bedtimes and lots of boot polish. She went on to a military career, met her husband and became a recruiter. We lost touch after that. Still, I remember that it was very important to her development into the career she wanted. I'd like to talk with her to determine where she stands on DADT.
My impression is that active duty members are in favor of repealing the ban because they are quite aware they are serving alongside gay men and women who are competent, as well as aware that they boogeyman arguments about the predatory nature of LGBT men and women are ridiculous. My experience with veterans is the opposite — they still talk about sharing sleeping quarters and showers. I guess the rhetoric from the early 90's was successfully pounded in.
Nonetheless, the dilly dallying on repealing DADT is tiresome. It discriminates against American citizens and it denies our entire country the service of talented men and women who meet every other enlistment criteria. It hurts America and not just because a few Harvard students are inconvenienced. It hurts America because we are a little bit less safe without the very best and brightest at the helm of our national defense. It continues to hurt America to legally impose “separate, but equal” rules on our society.