A couple of days ago Harley talked about Civil Rights re: homosexuals. Now I stand by my comment that to deny the LGBTQ community civil rights is counter-intuitive, but I'd like to look at the example of the American military:
-we lose qualified translators to Don't Ask, Don't Tell
-we also lose qualified women because Bush extended the number of jobs which qualify as "combat" roles, so women are no longer eligible for them.
Approximately 10-15% of Americans are homosexual. 50% of Americans are women.
I think that the argument about Don't Ask, Don't Tell overshadows this, and other important issues facing our military today. Nor do I think that women are the only people who are being discriminated against. One of the major reasons given that ROTC and similar programs have not been re instituted on Ivy League campuses (with the exception of Harvard, and even there it isn't based on campus) is the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.
Here are my issues with this stance:
1) ROTC is one of the few remaining sources of funding for college-bound high school students from poor backgrounds. No loan repayment. No financial aid scandals. It disproportionately helps poor and minority students afford a college education that may have otherwise been out of their reach. While diversity is growing on college campuses, recent studies have shown that the students of color are, by and large, middle to upper-middle class.
2)The government could, at any point, withhold funding from colleges which refuse to host ROTC programs. It is only a matter of time before this funding is used as a club with which to beat the schools into submission. And that would be a bad situation for everyone.
3)Don't Ask, Don't Tell is absurd. It is objectively discriminatory, and it should be abolished. However, students and administrations who work to block ROTCs on campus (either for recruiting or scholastic programs) aren't hurting the military. They are hurting the other students for whom the army is one of a few limited choices.
4)Barring ROTC and recruiters from Ivy League, and other top-tier schools' campuses only heightens the disparity between our military class and our middle class. We should be sending (at least some) of our best and brightest to the military. Not just through the academies (which can be a little bit scary and indoctrinating), but also through liberal arts colleges.
More choices are always better than fewer choices.
Update: Thanks to TR for pointing out this article on educational inequalities. FinAid at top-tier colleges has a way to go.