[Second column from class. Written Sept. 19, 2010]
What is the best way to make a political statement?
Last week, Lady Gaga focused her efforts on publicly making known her stance on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. At Monday’s VMA award show, she wore a dress made entirely out of raw meat, and was escorted by four gay veterans who were discharged due to their sexual orientation.
The next day, Lady Gaga made an appearance on the Ellen Degeneres Show wearing the same outfit, and Ellen, who is a vegan, wanted to know the purpose of the outfit. Gaga explained, “If we don’t stand up for what we believe in, and if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones.”
Gaga also posted a youtube video on Thursday, saying she was acting as a voice for her generation and petitioning senators to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Only on rare occasions does Lady Gaga humanize herself by looking like a normal person, but in this video she was glitter, shoulder-pad, hair-dress and meat -less.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was designed to protect gays in the military, but in recent years it has proven to be ill-effective. Essentially, homosexuals have to hide their sexual orientation if they want to serve in the military. However, to get around the “don’t ask” part of the policy, military officers have searched others’ belongings, read their letters, called their families and otherwise operated under assumptions to discharge them through gay profiling.
A bill that includes a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is actually up for voting this Tuesday. The ironic thing is, no gossip has circled to my ears about it that hasn’t been tied to Lady Gaga or her vomitous dress. Though this isn’t a bill that average citizens can vote for, they can call and petition to their senators anytime they want. Lady Gaga seems to be the only one reminding them of this.
“Our fight is a continuum of the ever-present equal rights movement,” Gaga said in her youtube petition. “Every day, we fight to abolish laws that harbor hatred and discrimination against all people.”
This is a fight that Gaga must feel strongly about if she’s willing to wear raw meat. Using her intrigue and influence, she’s becoming a significant voice on a political issue for the first time.
The government’s well-intentioned but vague efforts to allow gays to serve in the military could only hold up for so long. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is just another way to allow our government to sweep discrimination, profiling and injustice under the rug, which is so easily done in a military setting. Repealing this policy would be about honoring the service of American citizens and ensuring that they will be able to serve with dignity.