Congress has ‘the right and the duty’ to end ‘don’t ask’


Let me finish tonight with a matter the U.S. Congress should finish.

It’s called “don’t ask, don’t tell.” It’s the law that tells the U.S. military to allow gay people to serve like everyone else – they can be gay, as long as they do not say they are gay.

You have to wonder about the constitutionality of a law that requires people to refrain from admitting something that is true about themselves. 

Would it make sense to require that someone deny he or she is left-handed, refuse to allow anyone to know he or she is left-handed? Can we imagine such a stupid law? Could we justify such a law? Could we conceive of a federal court declaring it constitutional to force a person to publicly cover up the fact that he is left-handed? 

It was, I’ve heard, at one time imaginable. Teachers would tell the left-handed pupil to write with their right hands, insist that they do it. Go back further in history and we referred to the left hand as “sinister.”  That’s what the word “sinister” means.  

What I don’t understand is why an entire political party is against letting gay people serve openly in the U.S. military. Why can’t a couple of Republican senators step forward and say it’s time to do the right thing and let all able-bodied Americans who want to serve their country do so with pride and, yes, honesty.

Is there a problem? The secretary of defense says it’s better for the Congress to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” than wait for the courts to declare it unconstitutional. It would make for a smoother transition.   

Until Article One, Congress has the constitutional right to raise an army. It’s Congress that has the right and the duty to end “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Congress has 'the right and the duty' to end 'don't ask'