Ask us, tell us: Updated

Lady Gaga spoke out yesterday in a video to the U.S. Senate and the youth of America, saying Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was unconstitutional and “was not properly or fairly being enforced by the government.”

Gaga says she is “a voice for [her] generation, not the generation of Senators who are voting, but for the youth of this country, the generation that is affected by this law.”

The eccentric star, positioned in front of an American flag, calls both of her Senators in the video – neither pick up. A Senate vote is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 21 on a defense bill that contains language that would repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) says he will filibuster.

Stand up. Call, email, tweet, Facebook your representatives. Repeal. This. Law.

The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy (DADT) was enacted as a way to protect homosexuals in the armed forces from harassment and persecution. After the brutal death of petty officer Allen R. Schindler, Jr., who was savagely beaten to death with clubs and fists because of his sexual orientation, DADT was made into law in 1993.

It also passed due to the perceived need to maintain order and discipline within the armed forces (although it has yet to ever be shown that homosexuals would disrupt the general order). In fact, Dr. Gregory M. Herek, a national authority on attitudes towards homosexuals stated that, “The research data shows that there is nothing about lesbians and gay men that makes them inherently unfit for military service…”

Not only are homosexual men and women fit for military service, but at a time when our nation is engaged in two wars and deployed in countless locations around the globe, they are desperately needed. To date, over 13,500 service men and women have been dishonorably discharged from the armed services for engaging in, talking about, or showing a preference towards homosexual behavior.

Of these able-bodied Americans, over 55 of them were trained linguists who specialized in Arabic languages. Not like that skill set is an area of critical need or specialty at the moment, or anything…

The economic impact of the policy has been staggering. A Blue Ribbon Commission from the Palm Center has reported that over 10 years, the discharge of homosexual troops will cost the Pentagon over $363.8 million.

Luckily, there has been progress.

The repeal of DADT was a huge campaign issue for the Democrats, especially with young voters,  and a prominent staple in the slew of presidential promises. Movement was slow, but on May 27, the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House of Representatives voted to attach an amendment to the DOD funding bill that would repeal DADT policy.

Now, Republicans are arguing for the maintenance of the military’s strength and tradition, while Democrats are hammering on the issue of social prejudice and equality, however they do both agree on a singular stipulation.

The Pentagon is currently reviewing the consequences of repeal implementation by conducting various surveys of over 3,000 enlisted men and women. Once the review is finished, President Obama, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs will have to certify that the repeal is possible without damaging the military’s standards, effectiveness, cohesion, recruitment, or retention.

So why does this matter to me, to you, to us?

Of all active members in all branches of the United States Armed Forces, over 64% of males and 70% of women are under age 30. The army is Gen Y. So why do we think that our overly progressive attitudes stop once we put on a uniform?

It seems more and more that we, as a nation, are moving in two separate directions. While some cling to tradition, others reach for progression. The “tradition” of marriage, the “tradition” of family, the “tradition” of the military— are all being confronted by Millennials’ progression, and all are subjected to the wills of our generation.

But here is the kicker: We don’t follow a will, or a mindset. We are individualistic, and driven, and more than able to respect, remember, and cherish tradition while we plead and strive for progression.

Traditions change and evolve, and we, as a population, grow and adapt. There was a time when African Americans and women were not allowed in the military, but the tradition of our military’s strength and prowess survived, and it will survive again after we repeal DADT.

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Ashlynn Arias

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