“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” A old problem is Obama’s new headache.

When will Obama end Dont Ask, Dont Tell?

When will Obama end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell?"

President Obama has never met  Lt. Dan Choi, but I bet he’s become very familiar with his name.

Choi, a platoon leader in the National Guard, a West Point graduate and a fluent speaker in the Arabic language, has gone public with his anger over being dismissed from the military due to his status as an openly gay man.   Choi, who recently returned from Iraq says, he is “extremely angry” and vows to fight the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

“Don’t lie. Don’t hide. Don’t discriminate. Don’t weaken the military,”  Choi said in a interview on The Rachel Maddow Show.

A lot of folks seem to think if the President of the United States pays attention to their particular problem or issue that means it will be fixed to their satisfaction.

These folks also believe the tooth fairy put a quarter under their pillow and that some jolly old fat bastard came down the chimney to leave a G.I. Joe with the Kung-fu grip under the Christmas tree.

Democracy is not like the drive-thru window at Burger King. You can’t always get something fixed right fucking now. Sometimes you have to wait and more times than not you don’t get exactly what you want, how you want and when you want.

I’m not at all surprised gay activists has taken this particular issue and turned it into an example of how Obama is ignoring their issues.

Of course, should the president nominate a lesbian to the Supreme Court that will earn him some points with the very same gay activists that are blasting him now. Of course if he does so he’ll piss off the Hispanics who are also feeling kind of ignored and there are some Black folks who want a Black woman or man on the Court to counter-balance Clarence Thomas.

There always will be groups, voting blocs, core supporters and critical constituencies that feel THEIR cause should be the president’s cause if for no other reason than they voted for him.

But that’s a rather naive and unsophisticated way of looking at how politics work. Obama not only can’t micromanage the military and personally step in every time a solider is discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” he shouldn’t. A president can impose his will upon the military, but he had better be damn careful on what issues he champions because there are a lot of Americans who don’t believe the armed forces is the right place for social engineering.
Is Lt. Tsao unfit to serve because shes a lesbian?

Is Lt. Tsao unfit to serve because she's a lesbian?

But while the president might wish to put off ending DADT, until he does the policy is ending prematurely the careers of  gay soldiers.
One of them, Lt. Sandy Choi, in Janurary wrote a letter to the Commander-In-Chief to express frustration that her sexual orientation would be used against her so she could no longer serve.
Lt. Choi wrote in a letter excerpted in a blog on GLAAD.org:
Today is Chinese New Year day. I hope it will bring good fortune to you and your newly elected office. Today is also the day I inform my chain of command of who I am. One of the seven army values is integrity. It means choosing to do the right thing no matter what the consequences may be. As a Christian, this also means living an honest life.
Lt. Tsao’s letter concluded:

We have the best military in the world and I would like to continue to be part of it. My mother can tell you it is my dream to serve our country. I have fought and overcome many barriers to arrive at the point I am at today. This is the only battle I fear I may lose. Even if it is too late for me, I do hope, Mr. President, that you will help us to win the war against prejudice so that future generations will continue to work together and fight for our freedoms regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.

On May 5, the president responded to Tsao with a brief, handwritten letter:

Sandy – Thanks for the wonderful and thoughtful letter. It is because of outstanding Americans like you that I committed to changing our current policy. Although it will take some time to complete (partly because it needs Congressional action) I intend to fulfill my commitment. — Barack Obama.

“I intend to fulfill my commitment.”   I hope the president is sincere.   After a decade, it is time for DADT to be abolished and the persecution and ouster of dedicated soldiers such as Tsao and Choi to finally end. 

 It’s unrealistic to suggest Obama should intercede in each and every individual case of a solider being booted out for violating DADT. He’d spend his time doing nothing else than micromanaging every issue where someone feels they’re being screwed over by the government.

Gay activists have evoked  the civil rights movement, but are impatient with the approach of “go-slow” gradualism and incremental steps .  They should know  Dr. King once said, “All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.” 

Those clamoring for immediate gratification have not considered the ramifications of pushing through a quick “solution” and forcing it upon the military and yes, that IS a consideration.

One thought on ““Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” A old problem is Obama’s new headache.

  1. I’m just wondering if Lt. Tsao and Capt. Choi elected to voluntarily come out, not to have anyone intercede on their behalf, but to bring the issue to a head. Base on polls of the American public, surveys of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and studies conducted for the military itself, the only folks opposed to repealing DADT seem to be retired admirals and generals. The troops don’t seem to have a problem with serving with gay comrades at all. In fact, at one point, the Army instituted a “stop-loss” program in which it suspended discharging gay personnel who had come out because it needed them in the war against terrorism.

    It’s time this country stopped condoning bigotry in the name of non-existent expediency. The English were similarly concerned about personnel loss when gays were allowed to serve openly. A total of 3 — that’s right, 3 — individuals quit the Bristish army in protest. I think we could tolerate that loss — compared to the 12,500 service personnel who’ve been kicked out of the service since the inception of DADT.


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