The initiative to lift the ban on gays serving openly in the military has survived another skirmish in the House and will now move on to the Senate. Now the real battle begins. I must admit that I really don’t get it. Is it that the President and our military leaders feel that our military will be affected on the battlefield if their soldiers are gay? Ever heard of the ancient Roman Army? Ever heard of Alexander The Great? There military machines conquered the known world of their times. Are we really being asked to believe that no gay man or woman has fought and died for this country during it’s history, and that they are not continuing to die as I write this article in Iraq and Afghanistan?
The Buddha once said that if one comes across a person who has been shot by an arrow, one does not spend time wondering about where the arrow came from, the caste of the individual who shot it, or analyzing the type of wood the shaft is made of, or the manner in which the arrow was fashioned. Rather, one should immediately pull the arrow out.
When on a patrol I cannot imagine an infantry soldier overly concerned about whom their fellow comrades are sleeping with. The concern rather may be can I depend on you in the thick of things. Will you perform as you were trained to as my life is in your hands? Gay men and women have served this nation from the beginning on the front lines and in other supporting roles. If they can serve and die for our nation, why can they not be who they are? As William Shakespeare would say, ‘Tis wondrous strange….
Even Ray Charles would see that our legions are spread painfully thin across the globe. To fill these ranks we need capable, intelligent, and courageous individuals. Our reliance on technology alone will not be enough, on the battlefield nor here at home. Our children may very will live in a country that will be in a continuous state of war for the next decade at least. The forever war is what I call it, and forever is a long, long, time! As a wise rabbi once said over 2,000 years ago, he or she who has an ear to hear, let them hear.