Obstructing Equality

promoted by Rosi

The relentless and unprecedented obstructionism of the Senate minority claimed a new victim Tuesday, as 43 Senators denied a historic opportunity to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Tuesday’s vote to obstruct debate of the National Defense Authorization Act – which also has the effect of blocking such priorities as preventing military suicides and increasing military pay – continues to delay the inevitable day when this policy ends and gay men and women will be able to serve openly in our armed forces. It would be best for our nation that we end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell sooner, not later.

Overturning Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is not simply about providing equal rights. It’s about preventing the hemorrhage of critical military talent from an already-overstretched American military engaged in two wars. When I travel to meet American servicemen and women in the war theater, no one discusses their personal lives. Nobody should because it doesn’t matter. What matters is what they are doing to complete their missions and that they come home safely.

The real question is why are we depriving our armed forces of some of their most important resources? Why are we discharging skilled Arabic linguists, fighter pilots, and weapons officers? Why have we discharged more than 13,000 service members since 1994?

Is it because it would damage morale, as some continue to argue? In fact, gays have served in our military since the American Revolution. The supposed ‘damaged morale’ didn’t lead to our losing to the Redcoats or surrendering to the Germans in two World Wars. Allowing gay Americans to serve openly won’t weaken morale in our armed forces.

There is no good reason for this policy to continue, as leaders like Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen have made clear.

Just as President Truman was right to desegregate the Armed Forces more than half a century ago, it is time we ensure that LGBT soldiers finally can serve openly.

The obstruction must end.


Comments (3)

  1. The Wizard

    force the issue and demand Republican senators talk on the Senate floor about how they hate gay people.

    It’s time to make them don a Depend and keep talking until it’s full.

    Seeing the Democrats cower in the corner whenever Republicans growl is getting old.

    Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything. If the Democrats take back the minority it will be deserved.  

  2. Beckygrrl

    …as your constituent, I give you my unwavering support because you truly are one of our community’s heroes. You’ve stood up for justice and equality for all Americans more times than I can count.

    The problem we face today is not the obstruction of DADT (as well as ENDA) by the GOP, but rather by a Democratic Party leadership that seems both unwilling and uninterested in keeping the promises they made to LGBT Americans during the last election season, and the one before that, and the one before that,…

    We are forced to contend with a Democratic Party leadership that apparently is still ok with treating LGBT Americans and the issues that directly impact our lives as second-class, just as they were when you courageously refused to vote for an ENDA that excluded transgender American workers in 2007.

    The biggest problem, Congressman Holt, that Democrats who truly act on their values like yourself and Congressman Pallone are the exceptions in today’s Democratic Party, not the rule, a breed that seems to be completely non-existent in the Democratic Party leadership.

    We know that the Democrats can break a filibuster when they really want to put the effort and political capital into making it happen, as we witnessed during the health care fight. Yet what we see from Democratic Party leaders is not that kind of fortitude, but rather capitulation to merely the threat of constant GOP filibusters, most recently by Robert Gibbs telling us that 60 is the new 50.

    If there’s anything we’ve learned since President Obama took office it’s that when Democrats decide to really fight for their values and not just submissively roll over in the face of GOP opposition, you win.

    The question we in the Democratic Party base, and especially in the LGBT community, are asking ourselves right now as the election approaches is why the Democratic Party leadership doesn’t believe that treating all Americans fairly and equally in the workplace (be it military or civilian) is as worthy of expending effort and political capital in fighting for as making sure all Americans have health care.

    Indeed, with the economy and job prospects being what they are right now, we are forced to ask just who’s jobs the Democratic Party leadership really care about, because all the evidence we currently have indicates that it certainly isn’t ours.

    I believe that the Democratic Party leadership needs to act quickly address these questions and concerns quickly, publicly, and comprehensively, or they will find themselves paying the price in a lack of LGBT and allied progressive voter turnout in November.

    In short Congressman, you can’t expect voters to turn out to vote for you unless you give them something to vote for, something to believe in. The Obama campaign understood that in ’08 and that’s why they won. If Democrats want to win this year, if they want LGBT’s and others on the progressive left to turn out to vote in November, they need to take that lesson to heart and act on it now, before it’s too late.

    Thanks for listening.


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