"Liberty and Justice for All..."

By Joe Martinez

Tonight, I was sickened at the commercials on cable television for the Navy. They promised a "chance to serve your country" and showed over-dramatic clips of strong men working together on a submarine heading off into the sunset "Full speed ahead!" . If only the Navy could hold their end of the bargain. You see, my boyfriend chose to take action and join the Navy, serving his country, traveling, and get a college education through the ROTC program at one of the most prestig-ious private universities in the nation. My boyfriend's version of the Navy is slightly grimmer than the Hollywood dramatics that I witnessed tonight. Unlike those men in the add, he lives in constant worry of his senior officers, and although physically fit and extremely intelligent, he isn't allowed to protect this country be-cause he happens to love men.

Teachers in my school wonder why I am so down on this country and why I ref-use to recite the pledge of allegiance at pep rallies. It's not that I hate the U.S.A, nor does it mean that I am trying to be this wino, teenage rebel. It's just that I am sick of being treated as a second class citizen when I am more capable of doing just about anything than my moronic heterosexual male counterparts can. I also get frustrated at the thought of all those men and women attending universities all over who are in the ROTC programs and are afraid that just because they make one comment on their sexuality they can be kicked out of the program, loose their scholarships, and then be forced to struggle to pay for an education that they have earned. These scholarships are supposed to enrich the lives of young military minds, not discriminate and destroy lives!

I am now determined more than ever to give every once of my life to the cause of campaigning for the equal rights, not special, that I am entitled to that the Navy and all the other homophobic politicians promise! I recently joined the American Civil Liberties Union and I hope to become an active member in college. Someday I hope to lobby on Capitol Hill with Human Rights Campaign and see the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy struck down permanently! I would recommend reading Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, and pay special attention to the line that talks about an oppressed people fighting back. It has inspired me greatly! "To avoid criticism: say nothing, do nothing, be NOTHING!"

Joe, 17, is a high school senior in Hartford, Mich. He can be reached at jspinner98@hotmail.com

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