As Dallasdoc points out in his recommended diary, Rachel Maddow has it exactly right. It was confirmed today for all to see. The Republicans absolutely will not allow a vote to get rid of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. We know why. Here's an example from what passes for a U.S. Senator in Georgia:
[The armed forces should] exclude persons whose presence in the armed forces would create unacceptable risk to the armed forces' high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion. In my opinion, the presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would very likely create an unacceptable risk to those high standards. [It will lead to] alcohol use, adultery, fraternization, and body art. If we change this rule of 'Don't Ask, Dont Tell,' what are we going to do with these other rules?
The homophobic Senate dinosaurs like Chambliss who cling to these pathetic antediluvian views are, as Maddow so perfectly showed, out of step with the majority of rank-and-file Democrats, Independents and Republicans, who all want an end to this harmful policy that endangers our national security, ruins careers and violates civil rights of Americans as surely as the segregated military of 1948 and earlier violated civil rights.
That year, President Harry Truman, having been prodded into action by the vicious 1946 murder of two African American veterans and their wives in Monroe, Georgia - the last public lynching in the country - chose to desegregate the military by executive order instead of waiting for legislation from Congress.
Even as the Pentagon works on its study of a possible change in Don't Ask, Don't Tell, it discharges gays and lesbians, including men and women for whom the military is a career, as part of its continuing witch-hunt. This will continue until somebody commands it to stop. There is a commander who can do that, a man who now sits where Harry Truman once did, a man who has said repeatedly in the clearest possible language that he opposes DADT and wants to see it ended.
After the Senate's inaction today, Maddow said:
The White House could decide right now -- tonight -- to stop implementation of this policy pending the military's review. The right wants a culture war against gay people? In 2010, that's a war anti-gay politicians lose and pro-civil rights politicians win.
Does the White House leave that on the table and walk away? Or do they try to win? Do they do well politically by doing what they say is right for the country? Do they do it? What happens next?
This would constitute no end run around the military's review of DADT. It would not violate the separation of powers. It would merely do the right thing until Congress makes it official: stopping the discharge of women and men who have signed up to serve our country by wearing the uniforms of our armed forces. Men and women with talent and skills and millions of dollars in specialized training who willingly risk their lives in the name of America. Some call such people patriots. Not, of course, chickenhawks like Saxby Chambliss, who launched his Senate career with cowardly disses of another patriot, Max Cleland.
Republicans proved once again Tuesday that they have no intention of working with their counterparts across the aisle. They do not believe, as Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike McMullen believes, as President Obama believes, and as most of the American people believe, that civil rights should apply to everyone equally. And they never will. Eventually, they will lose their retrograde attempts to keep the old rules and their twisted prejudices in place. In the meantime, the President has the authority to end a discharge policy that weakens national security and divides people between those who have full civil rights and those who do not. It's the right decision. Yes, some loudmouths will object. They objected when Truman made his move, too.
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