President Obama, justifiably, has scored a few political points by criticizing Republican candidates for not standing up for a gay solider who asked a question at a debate or even thanking him for his service. In a sense, though, the entire situation is being blown out of proportion: the response to the question was a few scatted boos; not widespread revulsion from the audience.
What really deserves the most criticism isn’t the booing or even the lack of praise for the solidier but, rather, the answer incredibly dumb answer/statement that Rick Santorum made in response to the solider’s question. Here it is:
I would — I would just say that, going forward, we would — we would reinstitute [don’t-ask-don’t-tell, if Rick Santorum was president, period. That policy would be reinstituted. And as far as people who are in — in — I would not throw them out, because that would be unfair to them because of the policy of this administration, but we would move forward in — in conformity with what was happening in the past, which was, sex is not an issue. It is — it should not be an issue. Leave it alone, keep it — keep it to yourself, whether you’re a heterosexual or a homosexual.
Think about the consequences of Santorum’s policy: any negative side effects of having gays serving in the military (I don’t believe that there are any, but let’s grant that there are for the sake of argument) would last, basically, forever since there would be thousands of gay service members who would continue to serve openly.
On the other hand, Santorum’s policy would also bring back all of the negative consequences of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: a decent percentage of the U.S. population would be turned away from military service, newly enlisted/commissioned individuals would have to hide their sexual identity and would risk their careers if they let their closest work colleagues in on any details of their personal lives. Thousands of people, likewise, would be kicked out of the military, literally, for nothing other than being themselves.
In short, Santorum–who, actually, is a lot more thoughtful and likable than he’s portrayed as being in the media–has proposed a “solution” that offers the military the worst of all possible worlds.