On September 20, 2011, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (DADT) was repealed for the United States military. In an earlier article this author presented citizen comments about their feelings on the subject. Quotes were only included if the speakers gave explicit permission to use them and cite them as sources. Setting that requirement caused an interesting effect. All the comments available expressed agreement with, or neutrality toward, the repeal of DADT.
That’s not because all the comments received were positive. There was a range of opinions. Negative respondents simply refused to go on the record and be cited.
There was only one negative comment offered by someone willing to go on the record. He is fifteen years old. He asked a parent to speak with me and give permission to use his quote. I declined to include it because his phrasing was inflammatory. Publishing his comment might have drawn ire against him personally. This author believes it is wrong to publish material that could negatively impact a minor.
This begs the question: How come only a teenager was willing to go on record as being against the repeal of DADT and the idea of gay people serving in uniform?
The comments posted on the original article reveal a wide spectrum of public reactions. It was still impossible to find a single source (other than the aforementioned teenager) willing to go on the record while the informal poll took place. People who do not want gays to serve in uniform may have done themselves a disservice through their silence.
Legislators vote in accordance with the perceived voice of the people. When supporters of one side of an issue speak out, but the other side does not, legislators get inaccurate impressions of the public mind. Whatever demographic objects to homosexuals in uniform should express itself reasonably and on the record. Failure to do so ensures that their opinions will be drowned out by the voices of those who support the right of gay people to serve.
The maxim that the squeaky wheel gets the grease exists because it’s true. If those who object to the repeal of DADT do not squeak loudly then they should not complain when another wheel gets the grease and its political wheel spins freely.
So, again, the question: How come those who object to gay people serving in uniform were so reluctant to go on the record?
Also written by Andrew
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