According to the huffingtonpost some Democrats, including Carl Levin–the top Dem on the Senate Arms Service committee, are getting ready to ignore not only top military personnel but also the majority of the American people, are planning on stripping the repeal of the U.S. military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” policy. For those who have been living under a rock or in outer space, DADT is the law that prohibits homosexuals from serving openly in the military. Gays are not banned from U.S. military service, that is unless they talk about their sexual orientation, and then they are discharged from service, no matter what their achievements, decorations, and skills are. It is an unfair, unjust, and unconstitutional law. It effectively takes the first amendment away from anyone in military service, whether they are gay or not. And to deny this most fundamental right to our soldiers–the very people we use to fight for American values and rights–is ludicrous and un-American. It is akin to drafting kids to fight a war, but not allowing them to vote.
The question of how DADT came to pass is not really at issue, and it is explainable in one easy word: homophobia. There is no other explanation for how this draconian policy came into being. Sure, there are those who argue that soldiers need to be able to trust one another, be able to feel comfortable around each other, to focus on the mission at hand and not be distracted by the appearance or behavior of their squad mates, but all these arguments are bullshit and boil down to the same thing: HOMOPHOBIA. Soldiers are soldiers are soldiers. There is no difference in fighting effectiveness between a gay soldier and a straight soldier. Our service men and women are not in the military to explore romantic issues, they are there to do their duty to America. Gay, straight, or bi-sexual, it does not matter. What matters is simply that they do their job well and that they are offered the same rights and protections provided that the constitution provides to those our soldiers have sworn to fight for and protect.
So the question isn’t how DADT came to pass is a non-issue now. “How could this happen?” was a question that had relevance when the policy was drafted in 1993, but now 17 years later, the question of how is not important. The question that is important, however, is “why do we still have this archaic law?” Unfortunately the answer is still HOMOPHOBIA. The only difference now is that United States citizens are coming to grips with the fact that Homosexuals exist, and they are no more or less evil or immoral than anyone else. The problem is that a controlling minority wields the power here, and have been more than happy to maintain the status quo of the illegal and unconstitutional DADT policy–just look at Levine.
How is it possible that Democrats and Republicans can ignore the will of the majority of the American people and consider striking down the repeal of DADT–the same repeal that allowed Dan Choi to re-enlist in the army after he was discharged for revealing and discussing his sexual orientation? I honestly don’t know. I have no answer, and I sorely wish I did. I guess I could go the cynical route and say it’s just playing politics and neither side wants to hold the potential hot potato that is DADT, but I don’t believe that. With so many military leaders and citizens in favor of repealing this heinous law it seems like bad politics not keep the repeal. So if it isn’t politics, what is it? Again, I have no idea, though I truly wish I did.
Still, there might be some light at the end of this tunnel after all. The White House opposes repealing the repeal, which could be good news not only for the cause, but also for the men and women in uniform who would rather have relations with someone of the same-sex than with someone of the opposite sex. The question remains, though, just how willing will the White House be to get involved in this fight? And, if they do get involved, how effective will they be? Will they help the cause more than harm it? My initial reaction is of course they will help it more than they will hurt it, but then I remember that this White House has spent most of its focus on trying to compromise and have a discussion, rather than exerting its executive privilege and power to influence outcomes. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that ObamaCo has been trying to start a discussion with those across the aisle from him, but when the other side isn’t listening, talking does no good, and when that happens the only thing left to do is take action.
If the White House truly wants to send the message that it heard the American people last week, then doing everything it can to permanently repeal DADT is a good place to start. It should be an easy battle to win, and with the majority of the voting public supporting it there is very little chance of a backlash from the American people. But, as the title of this post indicates, the Dems are cowards and will probably somehow let this golden opportunity pass them by so as to avoid anything controversial because there is someone, somewhere, out there who will say that if we let gays serve openly in the military things like this will happen:
(And for the record, I know Klinger isn’t gay.)
Of course, then in 2012 the Republicans can co-opt the idea of repealing DADT, repeal it and reap the rewards, even though it has mostly been the Dems fighting to get rid of this antediluvian policy. But, they are cowards so they probably will not fight against the repealing of the repeal, no matter what bluster comes from the White House, thereby not only screwing over their constituents once again, but also America’s fighting men women.