Incompatible, By Emanuel Leutze

1632 Words 7 Pages
One of the most well-known pictures of the revolutionary war, painted by Emanuel Leutze almost a hundred years after, depicts a scene where George Washington stoically stands on a boat leading the troops across the frozen Delaware River. The American flag wraps around itself in the frozen wind, some troops are holding their hats, while others are paddling the claustrophobic wooden crafts. One guy even pushes a mini iceberg away with a stick so the boat can pass through the murky frozen waters. This picture is meant to illicit pride in this moment just before a major victory that would boost morale. It depicts troops who are willing to sacrifice their life for freedoms, a tradition that is carried throughout American military
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The positions that the military held on homosexuality was complicated and changed frequently—at some points the military will allow homosexuals to serve; sometimes making the troops sign documents promising to not be gay anymore (Shilts 2005), and sometimes the military would seek them out and ruin their career (Lewis 1997). In 1992 during his presidential campaign, Bill Clinton promised to allow LGBs (lesbian gay bisexual) to serve openly in the military. Not only did he promise to allow military members to serve openly, he said it would be one of the first things he did as president, and he would issue an executive order (Bell 2012). However, when he was actually elected he found it wasn’t as easy as snapping his fingers to change an entire tradition of not allowing homosexuals in the military. Opposed by a large coalition of military leaders and senators, that threatened to enact a law that would void the executive order it if the president allowed gays to openly serve. Clinton had to make a compromise (Belkin 2014). This compromise had to both allow people to serve regardless of their sexual orientation, yet also appease some of the concerns for those who opposed homosexuals from serving. Thus, the National Defense Authorization Act was born which stipulated that the members of the military were not able to ask, tell, pursue, or harass. Because of the rules this bill would be known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT). The military of the United States treated members of the LGB unfairly, before and during DADT, because of attitudes of society and not because of necessity. The general public influences the military as exemplified by the change in its views on homosexuality compared with the societal

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