Friday, October 15, 2010

The Don't Ask, Don't tell debacle

The sweeping decision from the federal court re. DADT led this week to the judge issuing a declaration that DADT should no longer be enforced. The Obama Administration has asked for a stay of that finding, pending their appeal of the judge's decision. While a very good case can be made that the constitutionality of laws should not be determined by a single federal judge, we also can't avoid the fact that the Fierce Advocate announced that DADT would be history by the end of the year, but did not expend political capital to help pass the watered-down repeal in the Senate, and has not taken steps to deal with those military personnel who are subverting the process. (They tried that with Harry Truman too, when he integrated the military, but with less success).

But even given the cautious justification for these actions, they show a remarkable tin ear for politics. From The American Prospect (my emphases)
Members of the administration have admitted that gay-rights issues have taken a back seat, and indeed, it seems reasonable enough to ask the gay community to be patient while Obama fixes the economy and health care. But here's the thing with civil rights: Whether you think there are more pressing things to do depends on whether you take civil rights seriously. Civil rights aren't perks that you deal with once you get all the practical stuff in order; they are the practical stuff -- they allow all Americans to participate fully in tackling collective problems.

The Justice Department's ardent defense of DOMA and "don't ask, don't tell" have only added insult to injury.

It is easier for a Federal Employee to buy pet insurance for their dog than get health insurance for their same sex spouse or partner. If I were a federal employee, my cat might have better benefits than my wife. That's some fierce advocating.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why do I see history repeating itself with the Don't ask, Don't tell debate. I see the same arguments being used here that I'm sure were used against Blacks being intergrated throughout the Armed Forces, & interracial marriage.