The Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy has been a sore point since it was approved during the Clinton Administration, especially when, during his run for president, Clinton promised equality to openly gay soldiers.
Since then, appallingly, even during times of war, highly decorated soldiers have been discharged from the military because their homosexuality was disclosed, either by themselves or as a result of blackmail or exposure by someone else. While revisiting this policy was never going to happen during George W. Bush's presidency, President Obama promised the gay community that he would work to repeal the law if he should be elected.
Despite this promise, President Obama and his administration did nothing to advance the repeal of DADT during the first two years of his presidency. And once DADT was declared unconstitutional in federal court, the Justice Department appealed the decision and requested a stay be granted before openly gay soldiers could serve in the military. The stay was granted, and President Obama and Defense Secretary Gates promised that repeal would be considered once the Pentagon did a study of how repeal would affect the military.
While the study was being conducted, Republicans such as Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham questioned the wisdom of repealing DADT during a time of war, but promised to wait until the report was released. Earlier this week, the Pentagon announced that the military would experience no deleterious effects if openly gay soldiers were to actively serve in the military, and a majority of soldiersmuch like the majority of Americans polledhave no problem. The only soldiers who object are mostly Marines serving in active combat.
Given the promises made, you would think now that the report's findings show what most of us knew all along, that it's no big deal for openly gay people to serve in the military, repeal would be imminent, right? Wrong.
Critics like John McCain are now saying the report is flawed, and despite the strong feelings of Defense Secretary Gates (a Republican appointee) and other military leaders, he and other Republicans pandering to their base know better. And besides, the Republicans in the Senate are showing off their desire for collaboration by refusing to pass any bills until the Democrats agree that very wealthy Americans deserve an extension of the Bush tax cuts, so no action would occur anyway.
How much longer must the good of the nation be sacrificed for the opinions of the few?
Why is it okay for the rights of some to be decided by people with no appreciable desire to see another point of view, or to provide equal rights for all citizens?
In a time of war, don't we want the best soldiers serving our country? Why does it matter who they love? Don't hand me the old, tired "gays-as-sexual-predators" argument that is only used by self-loathing hypocrites shortly before they're exposed.
Enough is enough. At one point, Senator McCain was an American hero. He showed tremendous bravery in the face of tremendous adversity.
Senator McCain, it is time for you to be brave again. Embrace something you might not understand, but embrace it because it is right; otherwise the freedom you fought for truly means nothing, because it is only freedom for some, not freedom for all.