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DADT and the Shame Game

Yesterday’s Senate debacle on the Defense Authorization bill was shameful.  The Democratic Leadership starting with Harry Reid and working its way back to President Obama sold out the LGBT community by once again saying they are committed to LGBT rights but not really working fully for LGBT inclusion.  My goodness they couldn’t get the votes.  The vote was 56-43. They needed 60 votes.  It is shameful.  And it is shameful further that the vote on an obscure Senate rule which wasn’t exactly on the bill but to bring the bill to a vote was even more shameful. The cowards way.

The message of the policy makers of this country is shame.  Because that is the message of DADT: That there is something inherently shameful in being gay. That is why you shouldn’t talk about it.  The message of the DADT policy is that being gay is somehow wrong.  And some of the senators spoke exactly to that. Jeff Sessions of Alabama even knowingly misquotes a 3 star general to reinforce his message of bigotry!

While others hid behind all manner of excuses. One of the biggest lies told yesterday in the Senate was that other amendments are never attached to the Defense Authorization Bill that have nothing to do with the military.  There were other amendments including one on immigration called the Dream Act that would try and keep undocumented parents and children born in the U.S.  together.  This was something the military itself favored because it would let the children of undocumented immigrants  born in the U.S. work toward legalizing their status even as they serve in the military.

The Republicans kept repeating that Amendments aren’t attached to Defense bill. This was just an out and out Republican lie.  I watched Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan recount Senate history of various amendments.  My friends the whole debacle was a shameful chapter in American Politics.

John McCain and his ilk will gloat they scored a big victory.  They did win a political battle yesterday. But they did not win the war.  Body bags and drape covered coffins are still coming home from around the world but especially the disaster of wars in Afghanistan and the occupation war of Iraq.  History will call the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy a shameful chapter in American history when the assessments are done.  Sure they are can die for this country as long as they lie about who they are.

But even worse the Republicans and four Democrats in their efforts to block gays and lesbians left the military budgets hanging in the wind.  No money for our troops to try and fight the wars we are in.  This isn’t about the military it is about John McCain’s election battle as it is for Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas, a Democratic  Senator in trouble at home and about to lose her seat.  Shame on both of them.

And the Democratic Leadership starting with the President are not leading.  It makes me sad when I know that soldiers like my friend, Lt. Dan Choi want to serve our country but this heinous policy has removed him and others from service.  Yesterday’s vote was a blow for the civil rights of gay and lesbian American citizens.  But it was a shameful blow to America and the ideals we stand for.   There is no shame in being gay or lesbian.  But today America is weaker in the world because of the vote in the Senate.