Obama owes gays an explanation for abandonment
Aside from the fact that I’ve been taking a bit of a break from blogging for a few weeks, I nevertheless have been holding my tongue on criticizing my president because I’m still extremely supportive of so much of what he’s done so far and what he appears prepared to do. I still believe the man is phenomenal, and he’s still relatively new to the office (although you wouldn’t know it looking at all the stuff he’s taken on).
But there’s one promise Obama made during his campaign that he appears to be flushing down the toilet, and that’s a very important promise he made to the gay and lesbian community. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to stay quiet about this inexplicable decision on his part to not ask himself to keep his promises and to not tell those of us who voted for him why he is choosing to back away from his promised repeal of Clinton’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” compromise policy implemented in 1993 preventing gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
I don’t get it. Sure, I realize the man’s got several plates full of pressing issues to deal with, most of them critical and ticking away like time bombs. I’m even willing to concede that repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” probably isn’t the most critical dilemma he has to solve right now, not when placed next to rescuing an entire economy, let alone the health care situation. But unlike either one of these mammoth dilemmas, it seems to me that repealing “Don’t Ask” is a relatively simple thing to do. No, not simple politically because the anti-gay rights folks are just waiting for another reason to froth at the mouth. But then they didn’t vote for Obama anyway….
However, repealing the legislation would definitely cause him some problems with the military brass, which may explain the holdup. Perhaps he miscalculated just how brutal they were willing to be in playing hardball to knock him off course from fulfilling his promise. Looking at this thing through a set of cold-blooded lenses, my guess would be that Obama and his crew are calculating that he needs the military more than he needs the gays, and that the blowback from cutting the gays loose will be considerably less than if he says it’s OK for them to serve openly in the military. From a political standpoint, Obama doesn’t want that distraction right now, and he figures putting the gays on hold isn’t going to cost him much and may even gain him a few votes from the same folks who may have approved of him choosing Rev. Rick Warren, the openly anti-gay pastor of one of the largest church congregations in the nation, to give the invocation at his inaugural.
But then we always knew that Obama was one hell of a political operator, far better than most folks realized who weren’t paying close enough attention. So the fact that his political calculus was well thought-out isn’t the surprise here.The surprise is that the other side of Obama we thought we knew – the side that displayed compassion and a commitment to equal justice, not to mention a commitment to keeping his promises – seems mysteriously AWOL in this case.
Don’t ask the military for permission to do the right thing, Mr. President. Just tell them it’s time you kept your promise. If they tell you allowing gays to serve may cause them to lose ground in the two wars we’re currently fighting, you can just remind them that much of the ground that was gained was thanks to the gays and lesbains in uniform. They just didn’t know it.
SHAMELESS PLUG: Read my wife’s blog @ The “D” Spot Redeux.