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“Don’t Ask: Don’t Tell.”

April 30, 2017


First, I am not a homophobic apologist. But I do live by a way of that was hilariously flawed as a policy.

The “Don’t Ask: Don’t Tell.” fudge policy happened in 1994. No one wanted it. The Clinton Administration wanted to end gay discrimination in the military. The early 1990’s saw some that wanted to end any distinction from loving any consenting adult with any adult activity. The other side just wanted to keep things the same: traditional subordination of gay anything to a discouraged state.

It was disaster for both.

People are everywhere, all people. In places where attraction to other humans have rules, the rules control all attraction. Well, evidence of attraction. But humans are attracted to do things: they want to celebrate or at least communicate. I do too.

But others are not so responsive. The Clinton Administration thought their supporters were right – anybody should be able to love anyone else and serve in the military. But then, more didn’t. It was a freak show.

The “Are you Kidding?” response derailed a new presidency. It was unequivocal – so were those, the majority of voices, that saw gay love as killing the people protecting us from getting us killed. It was wrong but acceptance of homosexuality was politically untenable. Something has to change.

Fearing love is wrong.

So the Via Media – “the Middle Way” was invented by the Clinton Administration. “Don’t Ask: Don’t Tell.” codified what mostly happened: those loving the same gender were not asked about preference in recruitment, but were told not to be honest about who they loved in public. It was ignorance supported by denial.

It worked for 15 years until enough of the ancient fears went away. “Don’t Ask: Don’t Tell.” ended – as a policy. But the idea of “Don’t Ask: Don’t Tell.” is, to me just a stupid policy distorting a great idea.

“Don’t Ask: Don’t Tell.” has a deep appeal to me – for myself. No, not about anybody else: any judgement of the 1994 attempt is laughable overreach. But in the world of over sharing, there is beauty in “Don’t Ask: Don’t Tell.”

Politics, religion, social media, this blog a trades on exposure. The New World of Media feeds and grows on judgements. Over a 20 hour period I was judged to be a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in Orlando, then I gave an animated talk before 400 gathered in New York City in the Fellow robes and medal.

I tell.

And I do ask things. But never the “Gotcha” of indictable acts. I do not “Tell” to say “Do This”.

I never assume broadcast interest. I write and people click in to read. I use social media not to say “DO THIS” but just to say what I do. It’s a classic good to me: connecting to those who want to, but not accusing those who are not interested, or simply do not believe what I believe.

Being a Christian, many I know live publicly declaring your necessity for believing as they do. Airing of grievances is not just about what you may agree, it’s meant to make sure you believe too. The world has now unfettered, ever present, loud insistence of any ethic: now – believe or you are a bad person.

Hard judgement, prescriptive indictment, exclusive truth is killing faith. In anything. The louder the anger, the more you are at fault. If you are not interested, you should be. If you you do not care about Me: You Should. It’s not just the obsession of the speaking it’s a sentence that if that speaker is not you: if you are not where the speaker is, you are at fault.

If you do not care about the revealed cause, you are reprehensible, but there is redemption: Agreement.

Everyone believes in some things – but more are saying that if you don’t you are wrong. You need to care, or something is wrong with you. You need to agree, or you are flawed.

I love connecting. sharing is not a one way prescription: I share to give – not to prescribe or even assume interest.

Interest, belief, faith is just human – each human. There is exquisite beauty in the open love of the singularity we each are. Religion or politics makes that beauty social – but it’s a mortal buzzkill if it mandates beauty. In the end no one cares about your salvation because it tells them they should.

So begging for prayers or support is at once compelling and assumption. But the world is connecting and supporting guilt over indifference as never before – it’s crushing.

Politics is crushing, religion is being crushed. But what has meaning cannot be changed by imposing on those who simply don’t care.

“Don’t Ask,: Don’t Tell.” as an attitude (not a policy fudge) avoids the guilt and ego bloat of self-righteousness. It is a basic human faith that if there is interest that there is openness – not that you Should Be Interested. It affirms the simple power of each of us: nobody is better than everyone else – but everyone is different.

So I write for those who tune in. Design for those who need me. Broadcast when someone asks. Speak to those who know I am speaking. But I never, ever, assume you should care, let alone agree or share.

If you or I don’t care, don’t ask. I do not care enough to tell anyone anything unless they are there to hear. I do not think a superiority compels my asking or telling anything to anyone who does not care.

“Don’t Ask: Don’t Tell.”

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