I have been asked by some “Why did you handcuff yourself to the White House fence?” In brief because 1) DADT is an evil policy that strips LGBTQ people of their human dignity, and 2) President Obama can make a difference right now. As an article in the Washington Blade states:
One Senate Democratic aide, who spoke to the Washington Blade on condition of anonymity, said repeal — currently pending before the U.S. Senate as part of the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill — is “barely hanging on with life support.”
“The only way to resuscitate this effort and get a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ vote is for President Obama and [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates to start pushing directly, something we on the Hill had expected the president and Gates to do long ago,” the aide said.
Asked whether Obama had made any phone calls to “swayable senators” such as Susan Collins (R-Maine), who voted “no” on moving forward with the defense authorization bill in September, Gibbs replied that he doesn’t believe the president has spoken to the Maine senator on the issue.
Amid doubts about whether the White House would push aggressively for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal this year, Senate leaders are reportedly considering dropping the repeal language from the defense authorization bill to move forward.
It is critical for LGBTQ people and the vast majority of Americans who support the repeal of DADT to know that its repeal, or failure to repeal, rests primarily on the shoulders of Barack Obama. If he fails to provide leadership on this issue and take effective and decisive action, DADT will be stripped from the appropriations bill and the discriminatory policy will continue in place.
Federal Judge Virginia Phillips has ruled DADT unconstitutional; however, Obama chose to appeal that ruling and actively sought a stay to Judge Phillips order that the Armed Forces immediately stop the enforcement of DADT.
The fact that DADT is still the law of the land is because President Obama has fought for it to remain in place. He claims that he has appealed Judge Phillips’ ruling on principle. If he now fails us again by choosing not to aggressively push for the repeal of DADT in the lame duck session, then we need to hold him responsible and accountable for this betrayal.
I handcuffed myself to the White House fence, because the current tenant is the person who can grant us or deny us justice. Direct Action places the spot light on him, not to damage him but to move him to doing the just and moral thing.