Friday, October 22, 2010

The Hollow Promise of Hope

I’m confounded by our President. Yesterday, he released a message for the “It Gets Better” campaign, the now rampant effort started by Dan Savage to help victims of bullying keep the faith. Loads of Hollywood types have already chimed in here, and even a Fort Worth City Council member delivered a heartfelt and tearful personal plea from the dais last week. All good stuff.

I will even let it slide that he’s a bit late to the party (Can’t say “tardy,” people. No free bad wig promotions here. At least not today.) Politicians are notorious for checking the temperature of the water before they wade in like it was a bubble bath or something. No, what really, really gets me is that our President is CONTRIBUTING to the atmosphere that tells bullies “it’s okay to pick on the fag kids.”

President Obama has pledged to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in our military. As with so many issues of concern to the gay community, the debate around DADT and it’s potential repeal have centered on the interaction in the ranks between heteros and homos, the tension in the showers for the men (nobody seems to care about lesbians in the women’s ranks—probably because some General thinks that’s hot) and the accompanying morale problems. Even though every single country that has allowed gay and lesbian soldiers to serve openly has had almost no integration issues, the smartest, greatest country on earth continues to cave in to the basest fears, no matter how irrational.

Each branch of our armed services prides itself on “molding” its men and women—teaching them, ingraining in them that they don’t question orders. They react. When told to jump, they say “how high?” And then they go for a run while singing nursery school rhymes (I don’t know, but I’ve been told . . .)

But let’s forget all of that for a moment. The Pentagon is busy “studying” the repeal and its impact. Uh huh. Like they haven’t already studied the shit out of this issue. But it’s just before a mid-term election and the nutwings and asshats are out in full force. Talk about Halloween coming early!

And then SOME JUDGE (and tell me when, exactly, it became okay to criticize the role of judges? Are some of you constitutional realists forgetting that there are THREE branches of government, each empowered to check the others? Dumbfuckery) decides to say that DADT is discriminatory and therefore must be struck down. Good on ya, Judge. That’s exactly why you’re there. To check the political cowardice/gamesmanship from the other two branches.

Sooooo, you would think the Obama administration would use the moment to avoid the political fallout. “We would have preferred a legislative solution . . . but what can you do?” would have walked that fine middle line. Problem solved. They take no heat.

But they decided to appeal. They decided to appeal a decision they think is right, something they were already planning to do. (Let’s not even talk about how DADT was done by Executive Order. Doesn’t that mean that it could simply be UNDONE by Executive Order?)

Mr. President, the message you are sending is that STILL, somehow, Gays and Lesbians are "less than." And THAT, sir, is precisely why some kids feel it's okay to bully them. And PRECISELY why, too many of those kids are taking their own lives. How would you feel, sir, if YOUR government leaders sent a message that it was okay to bully Sasha and Malia every day for being African-American. I'm sure none of that goes on at Sidwell Friends. But it would be wrong. Wrong in every way.

We need your LEADERSHIP ON THIS. Take off your underoos and put on your big boy pants.

This President was elected on a platform of HOPE. And I hoped that he would be the best President ever. I have defended him against his detractors, begged for time, asked for a long view. Now I can’t even ask those things of myself. I’m losing hope quickly, because I thought, of all people, THIS President just might do what was RIGHT, rather than what was politically expedient.

Especially since he doesn’t seem to be able to manage the politics very well.

1 comment:

hokgardner said...

I get all this, I really do, as much as a straight white girl can. And I'm frustrated by the decision to appeal and all the delays.

But I also understand the desire to repeal it in a way that it can't be un-repealed by another judge. Let's repeal it correctly and permanently.