University of Colorado students Lauren Z. and Ellie D. feel strongly that the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” gays in military policy is an anti-equality law that forces service-members to lie about who they are and for that reason is unAmerican. They want DADT repealed. They’re voters. Once they figured out that Michael Bennet is one of the two men who represent them in the U.S. Senate, they called his office and left a message. Of course, the young women posted their experience as engaged citizens on YouTube. Bennet, who feels like they do about DADT, posted a YouTube response. Ellie and Lauren are YouTube naturals. Bennet is Bennet, the video working to further his distinct brand of anti-charisma charisma.
Lauren and Ellie’s video has all the makings of a YouTube hit: they’re engaging, they laugh a lot and they get college dudes anywhere in the vicinity of their apartment to call Bennet and say what they want them to say. Democracy in action!
Lauren and Ellie this week posted another video about gay rights, referencing the Defense of Marriage Act as well as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. They have yet to send a video to Bennet 2010 challenger Republican Weld County D.A. Ken Buck.
In a debate Friday in Colorado Springs with Bennet, Buck reiterated his opposition to repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
I do not support the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I think it is a policy that makes a lot of sense. It’s not whether an individual is gay can serve in the military, the question is whether that individual can be openly gay in the military. It’s one thing to deny someone access to the military and to a career in the military, it’s another thing to — for morale purposes and other purposes — make sure that we are as homogeneous as possible in the military in moving towards the common goal of the security and the military action, as opposed to the distractions that are caused by allowing lifestyle choices to become part of the discussion.
The military is currently conducting a study on how best to repeal DADT but there is no time line attached to that effort. Colorado Senator Mark Udall has been a leader in the effort to repeal the law sooner rather than later. He introduced legislation in March to that effect.
“I feel very strongly about this. More than 14,000 service members have been discharged in the last decade,” he said in March. “These are jet pilots, translators of Arabic, Farsi, Pashtun– languages so important in the War on Terror. All the skill sets needed in the military are met by gay Americans.”
He said government accountants had estimated that DADT has cost the country more than $200 million since its implementation and he argued that the process of identifying gay members and discharging them is costly and counterproductive.
“We train these men and women and prepare them for duty. It’s a major investment in time and energy and money.Then we spend all this time and energy and money discharging them.”