Saturday, December 18, 2010

D.A.D.T.? R.I.P.! :-)

As Jarrell pointed out to us in his post, following similar action earlier this week in the House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate today cleared the way for a final up-or-down vote on the repeal of the military policy of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) by voting 63 to 33 in favor of cloture (that's political-speak for stopping the debate on a specific subject, in this case DADT).

All Democratic senators voted for cloture except for one, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia (who now holds the seat of Senator Robert Byrd who died earlier this year), who did not vote. Voting "YEA" with the 55 Democratic senators, were 6 Republican senators (Susan Collins & Olympia Snowe both of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois--who holds President Obama's former seat, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, George Voinovich of Ohio, and Scott Brown of Massachusetts--this is Senator Ted Kennedy's former seat. A fact that is particularly satisfying for me--being a longtime Kennedy fan), and the 2 independent senators, Bernie Sanders of Vermont & Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

I found a few quotes from some of the senators who voted today:

As Barry Goldwater [former conservative Arizona Republican Senator and 1964 US Presidential candidate] said, 'You don't have to be straight to shoot straight.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada

I don't care who you love, if you love this country enough to risk your life for it, you shouldn't have to hide who you are. You ought to be able to serve.
Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon.

I can't think of something more egregious to our fabric, to our military... If you care about national security, if you care about military readiness, you will vote against this corrosive policy.
Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's former Senate seat)

And from President Obama (who will hopefully be signing the repeal very soon):

By ending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay, [a]nd no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.

Compare these statements with comments from two of the opponents of ending the 17-year-old injustice of DADT:

I was shocked at how well this [DADT] has worked for a long period of time. We have a saying in Oklahoma, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' Well, this isn't broke, it's working very well.
Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma

And Arizona Senator John McCain, DADT's one-man cheer-leading squad????

He made it very short-but-not-so-sweet:

Today's a very sad day.

Yeah, a sad day for homophobia, and fear, and ignorance and official government sanctioning of lies & deception (at least for the military personnel charged with keeping our country safe).

While he wasn't a Senator or citizen of the U.S., and while he lived in the 18th century as an Irish author, Oliver Goldsmith, I think, had some good advice for Senator McCain and his political blood brothers:

Don't let us make imaginary evils, when you know we have so many real ones to encounter.