A possible end to the Obama-rama?
It’s been a while since I wrote an angry political post, so you knew one was due. That’s why I’m taking a masochistic joy in relaying the Boston Globe’s recent article on the Obama administration backtracking on its promise to repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
The Obama administration is telling the Pentagon and gay-rights advocates that it will have to study the implications for national security and enlist more support in Congress before trying to overturn the so-called “don’t ask, don’t tell” law and allow gays to serve openly in the military, according to people involved in the discussions.
The gist of the story is this: Obama’s trying to avoid Clinton’s past mistakes, which led to the very policy Obama’s ostensibly trying to get rid of, by getting evidence and support to back up his claim that gays should be able to service openly in the military.
Now, I understand pragmatism; he’ll need to prove his point to get lawmakers’ support. But am I the only one frustrated by the idea that we need a study to show that discrimination is wrong? Especially when other countries, like England, have gay-friendly militaries and suffer no ill effects to the forces? Or when we’ve fired a huge number of gay language experts?
(Self-disclosure: I was a French major in college and am a total language nerd, so the linguist thing is a double-whammy for me.)
Honestly, I think Obama’s real crime here is a lack of outreach to the gay community. I realize he has to walk a bit of a tightrope because of the crazies, but I’m really getting tired of seeing mainstream politicians treat the GLBT community like lepers. Especially given that, as the Globe helpfully reminds us, his administration was singing a different tune very recently.
As recently as Jan. 15, his spokesman made Obama’s ultimate intentions clear. “You don’t hear politicians give a one-word answer much,” Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, responded when asked whether the new president would take action to overturn the 1993 law. “But it’s ‘Yes.’ “
As exciting as that announcement was, even to a pacifist like myself with absolutely no desire whatsoever to join the military, it now seems like this is yet another case of Obama wanting to have his cake and eat it too, reminiscent of his rainbow campaign buttons even as he insisted that “marriage is between a man and a woman.”
I just hope he at least realizes that parents like his must have felt a frustration similar to the one I’m experiencing now, back when they were the lepers du jour.