|(December 9, 2010 - Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)|
Activists Rally On Capitol Hill For Congress To Pass Repeal Of DADTThat was just last week, and you know what happened just today?
An activist holds a picture of U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) during a rally on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network held the rally to call on the Senate to pass the National Defense Authorization Bill that includes the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" which prohibits gay people from serving openly in the military.
After months of fits and starts, a bill repealing "don't ask, don't tell," the ban against gays serving openly in the military, cleared its last major hurdle to passage Saturday when the Senate voted 63 to 33 to end debate on the bill.And they didn't even have unanimous Democratic support.
Six Republicans -- Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mark Kirk of Illinois, and George Voinovich of Ohio -- joined 56 Democrats in support of the measure. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) did not vote Saturday, but released a statement saying he could not support repeal "at this time." (emphasis mine)
So okay, supporters of the repeal of DADT have been protesting and rallying probably since Pres Bill Clinton first signed it into law in 1993. Gays have been prohibited from serving in the military since the American Revolution, except, of course, when the military was stretched. Kinda like now. And DADT was a compromise Clinton later admitted didn't work. If Pres Obama signs the repeal on Tuesday, it will be exactly 17 years to the day that Clinton signed it into law.
Get that? Even though it was "[i]n the 1970s [that] the gay and lesbian rights movement emerged in the U.S. and chose the anti-gay military policy as one of its main targets," only now will gays and lesbians be allowed to serve openly in the military. It's taken well over 30 years of protests, 3 wars, and a dangerously strained military for open gays to get the right to die for their country. That's the point I'm to make: movements take decades, if ever, to make they changes they seek. It's ridiculous to be so pissy at Obama when there's been no strong progressive movement in the recent past for him to draw on, and there's none now.
I don't know how (white) progressives will react to the news, though. Cause even though candidate Obama pledged to end DADT, NPR headlines, "Ending Military's Gay Ban Lets Obama Fulfill Another Clinton Promise." I find that headline off-putting, but the actual article isn't so cynical and goes on to telling the bad news: the Dream Act remains deferred.
I feel a little to blame for the failure of the Dream Act to reach cloture on a vote of 55 - 41. I didn't even call my one Democratic senator, and she didn't vote to end debate. I assumed she'd support it, so I know how those who're disappointed with the tax-cut compromise feel. Even if she had voted to end debate, the filibuster would've continued because 4 other Democratic senators failed to vote to end debate. Supporters had 2 Republican senators, Brown of Mass and Murkowski of Alaska, so it's really the fault of the 5 Dems that it didn't pass. Progressives argue that Obama should do more arm twisting. I argue that progressives should do more senate calling.
I should've called my senators. I'm really very sorry I didn't. Really.