The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

62° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Less talking, more action needed on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell'”

The Obama administration’s hypocritical behavior in reference to the United States Armed Forces’ “”don’t ask, don’t tell”” policy not only brings light to Obama’s weightless rhetoric, but also raises questions about free speech. A policy that promotes homosexual Americans to essentially keep their mouths shut or else, is inconsistent with the values of free speech.

Last week at a town hall meeting in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama voiced his disagreement with the policy and said that people shouldn’t have lie about who they are in order to serve in the armed forces. Meanwhile, a statement from Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, a prominent member of Obama’s cabinet, “”asserts that there will be ‘enormous consequences’ to the military if gays and lesbians are immediately allowed to serve openly,”” according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.

The disparity between Obama and Gates’ stances reveals the lack of unity among members of the administration. Furthermore, while Obama preaches against “”don’t ask, don’t tell,”” his administration proceeds to appeal a court ruling that has invalidated policy, according to the Los Angeles Times. For citizens, the opposition between Obama’s views and those of the rest of his administration reveals a failure on our president’s part to defend his word, thereby hindering the opportunity to change or eliminate this policy.

According to the Los Angeles Times, last week Obama promised to “”instruct the Defense Department to stop issuing apocalyptic statements about how ending the policy will cause irreparable harm to national security.”” Although Obama’s perspective on the policy is reassuring, the unstable ground that our government is standing on is worrisome not only in regard to this policy, but to all issues. Clearly, the president cannot keep major parts of his administration, including the entire Department of Defense, to support his views. If the ruling force cannot agree, how can there be progress?

On top of Obama’s airy promises sits the “”don’t ask, don’t tell”” policy’s inconsistence with the value of free speech. If an American wants to openly express his or her sexual orientation, that shouldn’t jeopardize their chances to serve their country.

Although our country stands as one of the most welcoming of diverse sexual orientations, religions, races and so on, policies contradictory to the fundamental tenets that make up the foundation of this country have fallen under the radar. The Bill of Rights includes the value of free speech under the First Amendment and has remained a defining factor of our country until today. At this point, Obama has only spoken against his administration, but has yet to take action against their behavior in regard to the policy.

The president’s inability to act creates the inevitable fear that our most basic values are at risk. Regardless of their simplicity or seemingly obvious nature, it is these fundamental values and rights that we must be reminded of in efforts to not to lose sight of what makes the United States a “”free”” country.

— Alexandra Bortnik is a creative writing junior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

More to Discover
Activate Search