Elections have consequences:
The drive in Congress to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy appears all but lost for the foreseeable future, with action unlikely this year and even less likely once Republicans take charge of the House in January.
President Barack Obama has repeatedly said he wants to overturn the policy, which bans gays from serving openly in the armed forces. Advocates on both sides believed the issue had a chance of coming up in this month’s post-election session of Congress. Now that looks unlikely.
Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and John McCain of Arizona, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, are in talks on stripping the proposed repeal and other controversial provisions from a broader defense bill, leaving the repeal with no legislative vehicle to carry it. With a repeal attached, and amid Republican complaints over the terms of the debate, the defense bill had failed to win the 60 votes needed to overcome a procedural hurdle in the Senate in September.
I had hoped the Democrats would stick to their guns on DADT in the lame duck, and Obama even hinted that he had a strategy, but that appears to have not materialized as of yet.
And before this thread devolves into the same bullshit argument, with the same commenters saying the same thing, let me lay this out to you how it looks from this end.
The Republicans engage in an eight year campaign of terrorizing gay people. The LGBT community is targeted in election after election, with the White House political crew strategically placing gay-bashing ballot initiatives in close states, in order to use gay-bashing to win re-election. They go so far as attempting to enshrine gay-bashing in the Constitution, and Bush openly supports the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Obama is elected on a platform that included support for a wide number of gay issues. He is openly opposed to DADT, DOMA, and favors ENDA. He appoints a record number of LGBT officials to his administration, more than ever before.
Obama delivers address to HRC dinner. By contrast, Clinton, who signed DADT and DOMA, only showed AFTER he had won his second term.
Obama ends the 22 year old odious HIV travel ban while extending the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program.
Obama issues memorandum to expand the rights of LGBT people in regards to medical rights.
Obama works with the Pentagon to create a smooth path forward on DADT. He has the support of Mike Mullen, Sec. Def. Gates, and numerous other high-ranking military officials. DADT is included in the Defense Bill, and all but two Democrats vote to end DADT, at the President’s urging. Every single Republican votes against. DADT falls a little short.
Now here is where I start to wonder what some in the gay community are thinking. Despite going from an administration that actively attempted to put bigotry in the constitution to an administration that has slowly but steadily expanded and recognized gay rights, I have heard nothing but screaming about “shutting down the GAYTM to let them know we are serious!” Gays vote in larger than usual numbers for REPUBLICANS in the election. At every opportunity, gay rights groups are attacking and protesting… the President and the Democrats.
Can you understand why this makes no sense to me? Can you understand why this strategy seems insane? And I’m not trying to start a fight, but someone please explain how this makes any sense whatsoever. How does rewarding the party who openly attacks you make any sense? In what political environment does not supporting a candidate make them more likely to pay attention to you? How does leaving the party who votes with you hanging out to dry make any sense? Why should I take anyone seriously when they watch Republicans vote as a block to repeal or hold back any LGBT friendly legislation, and the act like history’s greatest monsters are Barack Obama and Joe Solomnese at the Human Rights Campaign? Can anyone name one time in history in which people sat out an election or voted for the opposition, and it made your ally more receptive to your concerns?
I can’t begin to understand the rage that LGBT citizens experience on a daily basis, in many regards being treated as second class citizens. Is it just blind rage that leads to this? It isn’t logical or rational, but just anger from the decades of mistreatment?
The worst part of this is that I’d bet about only half the Republican caucus is outright bigots and homophobes. The rest are just voting against these things to keep the Democrats from achieving things, demoralizing their base, and hoping for the political benefit that may come from a demoralized Democratic base. And guess what? It worked! Again!
*** Update ***
And I’m serious. I don’t want this turning into another flame war. I thought I was respectful and reserved throughout the entire post, and I am honestly just trying to understand why people think the way they do. I didn’t attack anyone. I didn’t call anyone any names. I’m just telling you how it looks from my end and trying to figure out why people are acting the way they are.