Tag Archives: DADT

Hold your horses there, cowboy. We’ve got some thinkin’ to do.

The Republican catch phrase as the 111th Congress winds down appears to be “rushing this thing through,” or something similar. It’s an accusation that the Democrats are “ramming this thing down our throats,” or some such, and the implication is that the poor Republicans just don’t have enough time to do their jobs. I mean, read all these bills.

It’s true, they’ve used the same phrase in the past, but it’s about every other phrase coming out of their mouths these days, the other being “ignoring the mandate of the American people.”

Never mind that (a) several of them are on record saying they want to stall so that the bills they fear will pass will have to wait for the 112th Congress, which will be populated by more of them, (b) several of these bill have been languishing around for months now, and (c) these are the same whiners who’ve filibustered every goddamn bill the Democrats have tried to put through.

Didn’t work with Don’t ask don’t tell, now did it? And that’s a curious thing. Eight Republicans — including two who voted against cloture — voted to repeal that disgusting policy. The extremists on the right (most of them, these days) are howling in despair and predicting disaster for the U.S. military. Tell that to Alexander the Great. But really, what they’re howling about is something entirely different. That one little vote — the disaster it portends is for the extreme right and homophobes everywhere because it proves that progress does indeed happen, regardless of how much you try to stop it.

For some reason, though, the radical rightists didn’t try the “we don’t have enough time to read the bill” thing with DADT. Maybe “repeal the damn thing” was actually simple enough for them to understand.

But they killed off the bill providing aid to the first responders on 9/11 — these uber-patriots who use “9/11″ to stir up fear and question the patriotism for everyone else. They didn’t have time to read the bill. Never mind that it was introduced in February. February 2009.

And they don’t have time to read the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which was completed in April.

They just killed the DREAM Act outright, though. It was about immigrants, and they never had any intention of reading that one.

I suppose Harry Reid could file for cloture on the 9/11 bill again, and probably cause more howling of outrage from Republicans who don’t like the idea of working the week before Christmas like the rest of us. Jeez, these guys get more vacation time than I do, and I get a mountain of it.

Chuck Shumer says there will be another vote and that they’ve rejiggered it to make more Republicans happy. But when has that ever gotten Republicans to vote “yes” on something?

And the real reason they’re stalling on the START is because they don’t want the United States to limit its nuclear arms in any way whatsoever, which made Bob Corker and Lindsey Graham look like total idiots when they threatened to fuck with it because Reid was gonna make ‘em vote on DADT. They were gonna fuck with it anyway, let’s be real. They think that if the United States cuts back on its nuclear weapons, it won’t have enough to blow Iran off the map. And maybe North Korea, although you’d think they already woulda done that. What keeps ‘em so quiet about North Korea, I wonder? They’re hatred of Kim Jong-il doesn’t even make the shadow of their hatred for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The leader of this madness is Arizona’s junior senator, Jon Kyl. Combined with mean old man John McCain and Arizona’s nutty governor, Jan Brewer, that state’s starting to look like the Mississippi of the West.

Kyl is the Senate Minority Whip, meaning he’s responsible for whipping up the insanity to a fever pitch, and he was just named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Of course, Time also named the guy who started Facebook as its Man of the Year, so take that for what it’s worth.

Kyl’s another one of those who is calling Harry Reid sacreligious for making the senators work this week. Say, did you happen to notice that Joe Lieberman, who is Jewish, said not one work about working on the Sabbath to repeal DADT? And Kyl, named by distributorcap as the 2010 Douchebag of the Year — sure spends a lot of time on the Sunday morning talk shows and not in church.

But he also said something about Christmas being one of the two most sacred days to Christians, the other being Easter, and the two taken together being the only two times in the year many Christians grace the inside of a church.

The other 363 (364 in Leap Year), you’d be hardpressed to tell they were Christians at all, unless, of course, you happen to believe that Christians are all about making money and screwing everybody else.

Regardless of all that, the end of the 111th Congress is nigh. It accomplished a lot actually, but also caved a lot to the threats and machinations of the Bully Party. The 112th Congress isn’t likely to accomplish jack shit, what with the Republicans’ Number One priority being to keep Obama from being elected.

So, the big question will be who’s to blame for the gridlocked Congress.

You and I know the answer to that. But what about the rest of America? Will they finally get it? Or will they go along with the Republicans and blame the black guy in the White House?

Only time will tell. But I know which one it’ll be if a certain somebody doesn’t get off his ass and show some gumption. Getting DADT repealed was quite a coup. But we need to see more.

Much more.

A tale of two votes

Saturday, December 18, 2010 — A day many of us won’t soon forget, and for different reasons.

I watched C-SPAN in the afternoon as the Senate slammed John McCain and the rest of the homophobes by overwhelmingly voting to repeal the military’s noxious policy requiring gay men and lesbians to lie if they want to serve their country in one of the armed services.

It was an historic civil rights vote, and one that we weren’t sure would ever take place almost up until it did.

But while I was watching C-SPAN, I was also watching my Twitter feed, and in between the nearly giddy huzzahs for DADT’s death knell were Tweets of bitter disappointment about another vote, one held just a few hours earlier.

The DREAM Act, which would have given a path to citizenship for children brought here illegally, failed because of a filibuster by Republicans who had a little help from their Democratic friends Max Baucus and Jon Tester of Montana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

They needed that help because Republicans Bob Bennett of Utah, Richard Lugar of Indiana and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska all voted to get on with the vote. The cloture vote failed by five — the number of Democrats who voted not to vote.

What is it with these people that they hate children so much? This bill wasn’t about rewarding illegal activity, unless you think that, say, a six-month-old infant brought illegally across the border by his or her parents gave assent to risking life and limb to get here.

That’s what the bill addresses — kids brought here illegally. Kids who may not even know they came here illegally, but whether or not they do — or understand what it means — this is only home they have ever known. The DREAM Act would have given them an avenue to the American Dream, to be an American citizen.

There were rules. The act didn’t just say, oh hey, since you’re already here, you can be a citizen! Not  at all. Here’s how it would have worked:

  • First, the immigrant in question had to have come to the United States at age 16 or under and have lived here for five years.
  • S/he had to graduate high school or get a GED and demonstrate “good moral character.”
  • If those conditions were satisfied, the immigrant in question would be granted a six-year conditional status, during which s/he would have to satisfy the rest of the conditions:
  • Complete two years toward a bachelor’s degree or serve in the military for two years and pass a background check.

But that didn’t stop Republicans from doing what they’ve done for years when it comes to civil rights for gay people — you know, how giving rights to gays, like, say, marriage, means that next we’ll be having people marrying their pets and so on.

If we pass this amnesty, we will signal to the world that we’re not serious about the enforcement of our laws or our borders. It will say, you make plans — you can make plans to bring in your brother, your sister, your cousin, your nephew, your friend, into the country illegally as a teenager, and there will be no principled reason in the future for the next congress then sitting to not pass another “dream” act. And it will only be a matter of time before that next group illegally here will make the same heartfelt pleas that we hear today.

That was Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, because he knows all those little brown people down in Mexico or Honduras or wherever are always plotting ways to get around America’s immigration laws. Got news for you, Jeff. They’re coming here anyway.

White boys like Jeff are just scared because they know it’s only a matter of time before they are the minority in this country, the way they already are on the continent. They’re trying to stall the inevitable, which is what they’re doing with gay rights too.

And after they dashed the dreams of young people trying to better themselves just because their parents broke a law, they moved on to another inevitable fight and repealed don’t ask don’t tell. This time, the story was different.

Sixty-three senators voted to end debate and have the real vote, which came Saturday afternoon as I watched on C-SPAN. Sixty-five senators voted to repeal. The two extra were Republicans who voted against cloture. Weird, huh? But this is a critical vote — a watershed event.

The sole Democrat who would have voted against repeal — Joe Manchin of West Virginia — skipped the vote (and the DREAM Act vote too) for a Christmas party.

Republicans Richard Burr of North Carolina, Mark Kirk of Illinois, John Ensign of Nevada, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, George Voinovich of Ohio, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine voted to repeal.

Burr and Ensign, by the way, are the two who changed their votes.

John McCain complained bitterly. It was a sad day for America, he said.

I hope that when we pass this legislation that we will understand that we are doing great damage. And we could possibly and probably, as the commandant of the Marine Corps said, and as I have been told by literally thousands of members of the military, harm the battle effectiveness vital to the survival of our young men and women in the military.

Thousands? Did they just not bother to fill out the Pentagon survey about it? Because a pretty big majority said the opposite.

Here’s what I got to say to John and Lindsey and the rest: Cry me a fuckin’ river. That pansy-assed Marine commandant who’s too scared to serve with openly gay people seemed not to regard what his bosses, the secretary of defense and the chairman and vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said — that the worries about morale and military readiness (the same bullshit excuses used 17 years ago) are overblown.

And this, this repeal of dadt, is a campaign promise fulfilled. President Obama got this one done, and he got it done they way he wanted — by Congress, not the courts and certainly not by and executive order that could just be overturned by the next homophobic president.

But I gotta hand it to a couple of my most unfavorite senators, too — Harry Reid and Joe Lieberman. Reid has disappointed me time and again, caving to the Republicans. Not this time. Even when they threatened to fuck with the nuclear arms reduction treaty, he stood his ground. “How’s that for statesmanship?” he quipped about GOP senators like Bob Corker of Tennessee and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

And Lieberman — god rest his soul. After endorsing John McCain for president and running around acting so much like a Republican I wondered if he was gonna jump parties, Lieberman pulled together the Republicans who voted for repeal. And were immediately vilified by the Christian right. Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association called them “turncoats.” I’m sure Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council will have something equally wonderful to say, and probably already has.

But for a while now, I’ve suspected that immigrants were the next on the list of “people we can discriminate against without too much backlash.” And the DREAM Act vote settled it, if it wasn’t before that.

Especially now that Congress so overwhelmingly passed a gay rights bill.

Problem is, discrimination against immigrants — particularly the brown kind from below our southern borders — isn’t going to be socially acceptable much longer.

Maybe not even in 2012.