Obama owes gays an explanation for abandonment

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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.

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~ by Keith A. Owens on June 8, 2009.

2 Responses to “Obama owes gays an explanation for abandonment”

  1. Yeah Obama did sell the gays down the river, he has done absolutely nothing for them, all he had to do was tell the military to stop investigating and put everything on hold. I know he is a thoughtful and cool operator but it’s not like the rest of the world didnt know what his platform was when he became president. Why all of the sudden the cold feet? Im going to give him the benifit of the doubt and say the military higher ups are giving him an earfull because he held off on the abuse pics too at their request.

  2. Hey Mike!

    Yeah, I’m thinking that’s more than likely what’s going on. That plus the fact that when Clinton tried to integrate the military back in 1993 he got such a backlash from the military that that’s how we wound with Don’t Ask in the first place. Clinton hadn’t counted on how vicious the anti-gay sentiment was (is) and it caught him off guard. Plus he didn’t have near the mandate that Obama has.

    Obama looked back at that and decided to postpone this thing for as long as he can. But if he postpones too long his popularity will start to shrink – which is inevitable – and then he won’t even have the clout to back his decision.

    Gotta see how this plays out…

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