Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 22, 2010

'THE RIGHT THING TO DO, PERIOD'.... Given the legislative developments from the weekend, I've already written at some length about the historic breakthrough of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and the groups, leaders, policymakers, and activists who this landmark civil rights achievement possible.

But I'd be remiss if I didn't note the inspiring signing ceremony held at the White House this morning, the video of which I've embedded here.

For those who can't watch clips from your work computers, President Obama noted before signing the bill, "No longer will our country be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans who are forced to leave the military -- regardless of their skills, no matter their bravery or their zeal, no matter their years of exemplary performance -- because they happen to be gay. No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie, or look over their shoulder in order to serve the country that they love."

He added that he believes "this is the right thing to do for our military. That's why I believe it is the right thing to do, period."

The president noted that a transition phase will begin, and has already talked with each of the service chiefs, all of whom are "committed to implementing this change swiftly and efficiently." Obama went on to vow, "We are not going to be dragging our feet to get this done."

Of particular interest, clearing up a lingering question, the president also said this morning that he hopes U.S. troops who were discharged under the DADT policy will re-enlist.

At the outset, Obama told an enthusiastic audience, "This is a good day." I couldn't agree more.

Steve Benen 10:50 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (13)

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Yes, it is a good day.
Doing the right things should be a lot easier in this country.
If only the RepubliConfederates would occasionally try to do the right thing, and not the old, straight, white thing to do.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on December 22, 2010 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

It doesn't happen anywhere near as often as it should, but occasionally an event occurs that is pure goodness.

Undoing DADT is one such event. Yes, it should have happened years ago and, yes, DADT ought to end today and not months from now.

But America did not elect John McCain in 2008, and so we got this wonderful day for equality in America.

Rejoice! Celebrate! And then resolve to spend 2011 working to undo DOMA and do ENDA and to spend 2012 working to get rid of Republicans so America can have more days as fine as today.

Posted by: K in VA on December 22, 2010 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

There was much cheering at this morning's ceremony, and none louder and longer than for Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), the combat veteran who spearheaded DADT through the House!

(By the way, he lost his reelection bid in November. . .)

Posted by: DAY on December 22, 2010 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

This is a disastrous day for our fighting men! As Senator Demint (I am sure with the full support of Senator Mcain) said, "We should not implement the repeal of DADT if we can find one serviceman who disagrees!" And if we cannot find that one remaining person opposed, we will make believe he exists!

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on December 22, 2010 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

And so begins the Great Nonevent, where thousands of gays and lesbians serve the military and nothing of much note happens. When rightwingers rely on hysteria and bigotry to make their points, we know in our guts just how wrong they are. It's why John McCain's great legacy will be as a symbol of everything mean, small, and bitter about the country he thinks he loves.

Posted by: walt on December 22, 2010 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

This is one of the best Christmas presents for America ever! (Notwithstanding DeMint's whining.)

Posted by: Eeyore on December 22, 2010 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

A great day indeed, and a very moving signing ceremony--one that the New York Times reports was held at the Department of the Interior, not the White House.

Posted by: JustBeingPedantic on December 22, 2010 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Ok, I'm big enought to admit I was wrong. A couple of weeks ago I said DADT repeal was dead. That Reid and the other Democrats would either capitualate to Republicans and pull repeal or Republicans would stick together and kill it outright.

I was wrong.

So, I say good job to Reid and Pelosi. I'll even say good job to Lieberman and Collins (there's a sentence I never thought I'd write). And good job to Obama. And good job the Senators and Congresspeople who finally voted to remove this disgraceful law from the books.

Posted by: thorin-1 on December 22, 2010 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

A great day indeed, and a very moving signing ceremony--one that the New York Times reports was held at the Department of the Interior, not the White House.

The ceremony was held in an auditorium at Interior in order to accommodate the number of people who deserved to be in attendance and bear witness to this day, not due to some nefarious motive.

Posted by: TheresOneInEveryCrowd on December 22, 2010 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

"Put your old ladies back into bed
Put your old men back into their graves
Cover their ears so they can't hear us sing
Cover their eyes so they can't see us play
Get out of the way
Let the people play
We're gonna get down on you
Come alive all over you
Dancing down into your town."

Seems a bit appropriate sung in the general direction of McCain and Graham! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on December 22, 2010 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

I think the opposition gays in the military stems from fear that their stereotypes might be wrong.

In general, many people like to think of gay guys like Kurt on "Glee" a non-military, non-threatening, non-sexual stereotype if ever one existed and but more gay guys are like Brian and the cast on "Queer as Folk," very sexually active, moderately well adjusted gay men. And more live quiet lives with a partner just like married straight people. 

I think some straight people are terrified of the Brians of this world, because like the hippies of a bye-gone era being gay entails a slightly different way of existing and a seemingly more liberated (although being sexually active - which is somewhat of a myth that all gays are all about sex all the time, many gays are as committed to their partners are straight people -- has its own limitations) way of existing therefore they hate them due to that difference in lifestyles and oppose gay marriage because of that.

That said as a gay guy, I definitely believe being gay is for the most part genetic.  I use the kiss test... If a straight guy kisses a random girl and the chemistry matches, he feels it. If he kisses a random guy and feels what most straights feel for girls, he is probably gay.

Also, this whole sexually active myth means that many people think gay guys are interested in sleeping with any guy that comes along, straight or gay which is not true. 

So, let's hope the military does its usual effective job of eliminating fear of gays as it has of women and blacks and irish and poor people all once banned from the military due to prejudice. And given a few years, this will trickle into society in general and the fear of gays will be as remote as fear of the Irish.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on December 22, 2010 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

@TheresOneInEveryCrowd: I wasn't implying that there was anything nefarious about where the ceremony was held. If all those who deserved to be in attendance were actually present, the ceremony would have to have been held outdoors because there isn't a building in the country large enough to accommodate such a crowd.

Posted by: JustBeingPedantic on December 22, 2010 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Yet again, we can thank President Obama for his strategic vision in striking an aggressive compromise on tax policy with Republicans. Without that compromise, there would be no $300B in stimulus, extension of unemployment benefits, repeal of DADT -- and there wouldn't be a chance at ratifying the START treaty or delivering health benefits to 9/11 first responders.

Yes, all of these issues enjoy popular support and could be used again and again to raise money and activate voters. But now's the time to put points on the board and make progress, even incremental progress (which all sustainable progress is).

Now, one final gesture would cap it off...if somehow Obama and Reid could make one last, deeply personal appeal for the DREAM Act. Maybe a Christmas Eve address by the President on the Senate floor, where he directly asks those Republicans who supported the act before to look into their hearts...okay, maybe that's just a DREAM.

Posted by: Mark on December 22, 2010 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK



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