Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Social Justice: Coming To A Military Near You

Let's review where things currently stand on repealing the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.
  • Nearly 8 in 10 Americans favor repealing DADT.
  • Service members, by a large majority, say repealing DADT would cause no problems.
  • Military leadership says, essentially, "Please repeal DADT. It's the right thing to do, and it won't hurt the military."
  • It's obviously the right thing to do, morally speaking. Duh.
  • President Obama wants to repeal DADT.
  • The House of Representatives just approved a repeal of DADT by a vote of 250-175.
So what could stop such an enormous mandate for change?

Just one member of a legislative body that was created to be an American House of Lords, where today you need an overwhelming 60 out of 100 votes to do anything important. Just one Senator of a party that continually vilifies minority groups of all stripes and colors. Just one erratic hothead Senator who thinks he looks tough and masculine by being anti-gay.

That is unless Democrats in the Senate can roust up 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. And from the sound of it, they think they can. Senators Snowe, Collins, and Brown are the Republicans who now seem likely to vote for repeal. Sen. Joe Manchin (West Virginia) is the only Democrat likely to vote against. 59 Democrats plus + 3 Republican crossovers - 1 Democratic crossover = 61 votes (if everything holds). Lisa Murkowski and Richard Lugar (and probably others) sound like they'll support repeal once it's clear 60 votes have been reached. Very brave. You see, they want to be on the right side of history without actually having to do the right thing.

So as with so many other issues, a nearly unanimous Democratic Party supports a modest step toward justice, and a nearly unanimous Republican Party stands opposed, clinging to a morally indefensible argument.

I didn't used to get so angry about the ultra-predictable anti-human divide-and-rule money-grubbing positions of the GOP. But seeing the country have to drag its feet on civil rights all because of the antique sexual hang-ups and insecurities of the old men in the Party of Wealth in the House of Lords? It's almost more than I can stand. But I take some comfort in knowing that the country is changing rapidly beneath their very feet.


Camp Papa said...

There really is no reasonable objection left to be made to eliminating this injustice. You've laid out plenty of justification, but I'll add my experience. I was in the Air Force in the early 70's. Looking back on it, I served with at least five guys that were probably gay, including one that I shared a three-man room with in Korea. All of those guys were among the top performers in their units. The Air Force and the nation were better off for their service.

The argument around this issue will go away as more old people die off.

Elizabeth said...

What about women in combat?

Dave said...

I don't know. I haven't really heard this discussed a lot. The first thought that comes to mind is that in the kind of wars we're fighting (occupying countries and fighting insurgencies), women basically are in combat roles even if they're not technically in combat units. They're carrying weapons, getting attacked, and fighting back.

I think the role of women in the military will continue to evolve as what it means to be a soldier continues to evolve. What do you think?

Elizabeth said...

I think the arguments used against women in active combat are very similar to those used in favor of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. So in that sense, I am baffled by how these policies (which are not law, but rather DoD policies) continue.

But maybe that's because people don't know they're even policies.