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Friday, May 28, 2010

Johnson Right on Gays in Military; SHS Casts Correct Vote

David Montgomery works late to give a good breakdown of where our Congressional delegation stands on allowing gays to serve in the United States Armed Forces. Senator Tim Johnson, who didn't actually get to vote on the defense appropriations amendment that would repeal the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, made the clearest statement of why we should support that repeal:

As things stand now, any repeal would go into effect only after the study is completed and military leaders and the President give the go ahead. Once that happens, I support ending Don't Ask Don't Tell because any individual who is willing and able to defend our country should be able to do so, regardless of their sexual orientation. My view is shared not only by the administration, but top military leaders as well [Senator Tim Johnson, quoted in David Montgomery, "South Dakota's delegation weighs in on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" Behind Government Lines, 2010.05.27].

Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin joined 233 House colleagues in voting for the repeal. She fails to address the issue of justice and opportunity for all, talking instead about the importance of leaving it to military leaders to "determine what's best for the military." I would prefer SHS add, "...and what's best for the military is to take every willing and able soldier it can get, regardless of whom they love. Forcing gays to stay in the closet and kicking them out when they don't (or when the Rapid City police rat them out) is wrong." Even if SHS manages not to let the gay-word cross her lips, her GOP opponent will still hoot and holler that her vote shows she's beholden to Speaker Pelosi and the "gay agenda." Why play word games, Steph? Call a discriminatory spade a spade and say "Gays have rights like everyone else."

Senator Thune plays a similar game of dodging the real issue. As Montgomery points out, Thune mischaracterizes the repeal amendment as a "White House ultimatum" rather than a compromise. (And don't tell me Thune doesn't have in mind some ultimata he'd issue if he got to be President.) Thune calls repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell a "last-ditch effort by the White House to deliver on a campaign promise"... as if delivering on campaign promises is a bad thing.

On Don't Ask Don't Tell itself, Senator Thune drops this turd in the rhetorical crapper:

"It just seems to me that moving forward [with repeal] would be a mistake.... There are very serious misgivings about changing a policy that has worked pretty effectively" [Thune, quoted in Montgomery, 2010].

..which translates as "Our soldiers are such wimps they couldn't shoot straight if we forced them to serve alongside queers. So kicking out over 13,000 skilled but annoyingly gay soldiers is a great idea. Besides, homosexuals aren't real Americans, anyway. Our Founding Fathers didn't mention them in the Constitution, so screw 'em."

Thank you, Senator Johnson, for the straight talk on this issue. Thank you, Rep. Herseth Sandlin, for at least voting the right way. And thank you, Senator Thune, for exposing the continued bigotry and ignorance of your party.


  1. If the ban is repealed, gay military members will not be able to serve in Iraq or Afghanistan, or anywhere else the local government adhers to Islamic law. Since our civilian leaders are more worried about offending the host country than decisive victory, we certainly could not put any gay soldier on Islamic soil.

    I would assume more diverse acts on the USO tour would also have to be penciled in. Goodbye Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, Hello Chippendales.

  2. Thad, our women in uniformmight appreciate such additional entertainment, if the USO hasn't already recognized the need to boost the morale of all of the troops.

  3. Thad, you're kidding, right? Just checkin'.

  4. Stephanie is a regular disappointment. It's a big surprise she made that vote, but she had to hide behind the military recommendation. She takes the easy way out way too often.

    And as far as Thune goes, I'm sure the plantation owners felt the system was working pretty effectively too, so why change that?

    There were misgivings when women were allowed to serve directly with men in the military. There were misgivings when segregation had to end in this country. There's always a few bigots in the bunch (Thad may be one), but who's looking to go back to the good old days except a few ignorant good old boys.

    There's an unbelievable amount of people that serve this country as second class citizens. It's a disgrace.


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