Dirty Dealing on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Make no mistake, the recent Republican pronouncement (they will only deal with budget and tax-cut extensions over the next month) is aimed to run out the clock on the repeal of Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell and other legislation. This is an attempt to take an end run around popular opinion now that “studying it to death” has failed. They’re simply hiding what they are up to.
The repeal of Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell is now overwhelmingly supported by citizens, military members and, anyone who values the principle that all men and women are equal. No matter where you stand on it, though, you ought to be concerned about the deception. Republican’s latest gridlock attempt – coming just one day after they claimed they’d quit it – continues the tactic of claiming one thing while doing another. In a shockingly cowardly approach, they want to filibuster repeal while pretending not to.
Among Republicans, perhaps no member is more of a sissy than John McCain. (He may have shown some stones 40 years ago, but not for a good long time.) McCain definitively proved his cowardice when he recruited Sarah Palin – at risk to the nation – in a rapacious attempt to salvage his failed presidential campaign. Further evidence arrived during his recent senatorial campaign, when he threw Arizona Hispanics (and Arizona’s largest trading partner) squarely under the campaign bus. It turns out “Maverick John” is really “Panderer John.”
Senator McCain engages in senseless and spineless logic, first hiding behind the troops and claiming he’d support repeal of DADT if they did. “My opinion is shaped by the view of the leaders of the military,” he had said. Then this week, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen testified before the Senate Armed Service Committee, “Repeal of the law will not prove unacceptable risk to military readiness. Unit cohesion will not suffer if our units are well-led. And families will not encourage their loved ones to leave the service in droves.” In short, “We’re not cowards.” At that moment, McCain looked like he had indigestion.
Now that “survey says” uniforms overwhelmingly support repeal, Senator McCain has called for another study. He specifically dismissed the testimony of Admiral Mullen as not relevant. McCain’s latest pivot goes like this, “What I want to know, and what it is the Congress’s duty to determine, is not can our armed forces implement a repeal of this law, but whether the law should be repealed.” Discrimination adds nothing and costs something. Ending discrimination costs nothing and adds something. What’s the conundrum here, John? A squirmy McCain is simply trying to prop up the illusion that he is a brave man while fleeing in panic from a drill-field phalanx of relentless, creeping gayness.
Repeal of Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell does have one small cultural effect. Open service by all Americans will drive a small wedge of diversity into a military culture that’s been increasingly co-opted by conservatives and evangelicals. But even that aspect is far detached from this decision. And judging from the military survey that cat is already out of the bag. Most soldiers have said they’ve already served with gay co-workers. Almost all who did said they don’t mind. The DADT of today is really “Don’t ask; don’t let the old-fart-in-charge find out.” It is long past time for the military to muster out this 1950’s-era “morality.”
Men and women who are now serving have no cowardice about serving with gay men and lesbians. Gay men and lesbian women certainly harbor no cowardice – or even reluctance – about serving. They’ve offered up life and limb as evidence of their bravery and patriotism. The only cowards in the room seem to be John McCain and his party. They’re afraid to find out that a gay man can be as good or better a soldier than a straight one. McCain is afraid we’ll learn that gay men are brave and strong and capable. He imagines that brave gay men will undermine the confidence of brave straight men. How queer.
Don’t be scared, John. Man up. If a gay man is braver, stronger, or better than you, that doesn’t mean you’re a sissy. Being afraid to let him show his mettle – and compete equally with you for the label of hero – is what makes you a pansy.