Why ask military spouses about ‘don't ask, don't tell'?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I got angry reading the Aug. 24 news story "Pentagon surveys military spouses on 'don't ask, don't tell.' " I was reminded that the Pentagon simply meant to collect information to better educate troops and family members when the unjust ban is lifted. So why was I still so infuriated reading the survey questions?

As a test, I replaced the words "gay and lesbian" with "black and Latino." "If a black or Latino Service member lived in your neighborhood . . . would you stay on-base or would you try to move out?" And, "Would the attendance of a black or Latino Service member . . . affect how often you attend these types of military social events?"

These questions would never be asked because they serve to legitimize ignorance and prejudice. If I asked these questions -- for any reason -- in the discharge of my responsibilities as chairman of the Arlington County Board, I would rightly be rebuked.

Did Harry Truman ask similar questions as he allowed black men to serve equally in the U.S. military? No, he simply did the right thing, and so should we.

Jay Fisette, Arlington

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