Santorum was Right on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Perhaps the last muted and strangled reference to the classic arguments against homosexuals serving in the military santorumwas made on a national stage by Rick Santorum during the 2011 GOP presidential primary. After being cut off in the debate itself by a moderator and then being basically mugged by Chris Wallace on the following Fox New Sunday, the classic discussion was ignored. Ultimately, Obama and a lame duck congress, in a last minute midnight deal, simply changed the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That’s it; the debate’s over. No one will ever be taught the other side of the argument. The main stream media will behave like gays have always served openly in the military and social change, irrational and unevaluated, will become Americana of the future. That’s why this blog.

Perhaps Rick Santorum was planning to say that homosexuality is not a race, religion, or gender and, therefore, is not a protected constitutional class anymore than the obesity, the alcoholism, or those with flat feet. If he was, with seven other candidates speaking in thirty second intervals, he had no chance. Instead, he had a chance to make incomplete arguments that were easily demagogued by a heckling press and an unscrupulous journalist on a wallacesupposedly right leaning network. He may have meant to conclude, as a condition that disrupts the military’s mission, homosexuality should not be tolerated.

Santorum did get off a few salvos that Sunday in what now seems, culturally, a millennium ago. Santorum did contrast the passive qualities of constitutionally protected classes with homosexuality which, he claimed, is defined by active behavior. This is, ultimately, an unsatisfactory argument since homosexuality is, even biblically, defined by its passions not its actions.  Santorum’s argument is further flawed because one of the constitutionally protected classes is religion. Religion itself is utterly active and may, in it’s outgoing quality, disrupt, temporarily, the flow of military order. In this way, while Santorum protested that Wallace’s rhetorical trap was based on a flawed analogy about racial integration, the argument he had time to make made little sense.

If Rick Santorum had given the classic argument made in Clinton’s days by Democratic Senator Sam Nunn, General Schwarzkopf and others, an argument that was part of the volunteer army’s recruitment policy until the Clinton administration, he would have noted that the unprotected class of homosexuals, like that of flat feet, has the potential to disrupt the military. This disruption is not based on the reaction of others to the disability, but by the consequences of the disability alone. In other words, the temptation of homosexuality poses grave risks that are not based on an intellectual acceptance or rejection of homosexuality by others in the military, but is a risk that is, instead, based on the potential consequences of such behavior in the barracks, showers, and foxholes.

Even after the lawyers of the Clinton era postulated a celibate homosexual, forever in the closet, who was such a pillar of homosexual virtue that he was too pure to lie on his application; even after this imagined homosexual saint was permitted to avoid questions about sexual orientation as part of the application for service, the idea that homosexuality was forbidden in the military continued.

However, when Rick Santorum said during the Fox debate that, “Any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military,” his sound bite abbreviated a valid point. Obviously, men and women in the military marry and have children. Santorum’s point is that all of this takes place outside the military workplace.

Santorum went on to assert further, “The fact that they’re making a point to include it (sexual activity) as a provision within the military — that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege in removing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ I think tries to inject social policy into the military.”

Here it seems he was trying to make some of the classic argument. This includes:

1) Whether male or female, heterosexuality does not belong in the military workplace. The service of the nation normancomes first.

2) With the removal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” homosexual soldiers are allowed to insinuate sexuality into the barracks, the fox hole, and the submarine. Rather than forcing homosexuals to ignore their sexuality, as is the case with heterosexuals, men and women working a post together, the military is giving this homosexuality a higher, protected status.

Proposition 1 is not difficult to defend (See “Three Reasons Gays Should Not Serve Openly in the Military”).  Therefore, proposition 2 is axiomatic. However, buried within proposition 2 are two more self-evident propositions:

3) Homosexuality is not the same as heterosexuality.

4) Therefore, a homosexual’s speech about his or her homosexuality is not the same as heterosexual’s speech his or her heterosexuality.

Although Proposition 4 is self-evident based on deductive logic, consider the empirical evidence. For instance, under DADT, heterosexual soldiers can talk about their loved ones and put pictures of them on their desks; however, gay soldiers cannot. This is because having a picture of a wife on one’s desk is different than bringing a girl into the barracks. In the first instance, the soldier’s speech is not work related. In the event of homosexual speech, the workplace is directly impacted.

Even if every member of the barracks is homosexual, the work environment is directly impacted by homosexuals speaking about their orientation. Once a homosexual has announced his intention of having sex with those of the same gender, he has bought a woman into the barracks, and a guy into the girls’ shower. The soldier’s intention does not matter. He or she may fully intend to confine his or her homosexual interactions to areas beyond the workplace, but homosexual speech injects sexuality into the workplace in a way heterosexuality does not.

This is because heterosexuality is not the same as homosexuality. One area of speech is like crying fire in a crowded theater. The other is not. The two types of speech are NOT equivalent. This is the core of the real debate in our culture. Saying that homosexuality is the same as or equal to heterosexaulity is a lie. It’s a lie in our military. It’s a lie in our courts. It’s a lie.

Ultimately, there will be those who say that the threat to military discipline by active homosexuals is unimportant. Some will say there’s not problem worth talking about. Like Obamacare, executive amnesty, and eighteen trillion dollars in national debt, the problem of active homosexuals in the military is just no big deal. Anyone who says otherwise, is, you know, just not Hollywood cool.