Photo by Edward F. Palm)

About Me

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Forest, Virginia, United States
A long time ago, my sophomore English teacher, Father William Campbell, saw something in my writing and predicted that I would someday become a newspaper columnist. He suggested the perfect title for my column--"Leaves of the Palm." Now that I have a little extra time on my hands I've decided to put Father Campbell's prediction to the test. I'm going to start using this blog site not just to reprint opinion pieces I've published elsewhere but to try to get more of my ideas and opinions out there. Feedback is welcome. To find out more about me, please check out my Web site: www.EdwardFPalm.com (Click on any of the photos below for an enlarged view.)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Revisited--Again

[Naval Academy midshipman, Marine training, Quantico, 1992]
I've never been one to buy into the myth of the liberal bias of the mainstream media.  Ever since Vietnam, I've believed that, for the most part, all the grumbling traces back to conservative resentment at having their own myths and cherished articles of faith challenged.  But, lately, I've begun to wonder about some of the sob stories that have been making the national news.
     A case in point is yesterday's news story about senior ROTC scholarship cadet Sara Issacson, who is now faced with repaying the government the cost of her scholarship--$79,000--for voluntarily revealing that she is gay.  It is not her sexual orientation that concerns me. I have gone on record as supporting the right of gays to serve openly in the Armed Forces ( My P.I. Piece).  But there is another moral issue here.  She entered into a legal contract.  She accepted one of a limited number of highly prized scholarships. She agreed that, in return for a free ride through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she would serve as an Army officer for four years.  She is now reneging on that deal.
     In all fairness, according to the syndicated article that appeared in yesterday's Seattle Times, Issacson only recently came to terms with the realization that she is gay.  Some, of course, would see the timing of this epiphany as awfully convenient and suspiciously self-serving.  Assuming that she is telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about what she knew and when she knew it, the better and more moral choice in this case would have been to keep her counsel and honor her contract.
     I say that because I believe that the current policy is on the way out and that gays will soon be allowed to serve openly.  If, as Issacson claims, her heart's desire really was to become an Army doctor while living "an honest life," there would soon have been no conflict between the two.  Surely, she realizes that.
     Frankly, I have to doubt her sincerity.  I suspect that she is just trying to use her sexual orientation as a Get-Out-Serving-Free Card.  Worse, the media seems sympathetic to that wish. Whatever Issacson's motives, the least she can do is to repay the cost of her scholarship.  --EFP

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