In the last six months I’ve bumped into Governor Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, Governor-elect Brown, Dolores Huerta and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Pretty surreal, eh? Speaking with various folks who are connected to our political system, I’ve been told that former President Bill Clinton is amazed that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has survived this long as a law. The reason for his amazement is that the law was deliberately written to be unconstitutional. How could such an unreasonable and unconstitutional law remain in force for so long?
Kant maintained that reason alone would lead us to truth. A philosophy professor commenting on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason said that what Kant failed to take into account was the role of the human will. Our professor said in his thick French accent “you stand before the open refrigerator door and reason tells you to eat the salad, but your will tells you to eat the chocolate cake. OH, and there is some ice cream in the freezer! Guess who wins?”
Think about it, Clinton is shocked that the courts have not thrown out DADT because it was deliberately written as a blatantly unconstitutional law. Ironically, its inherent unconstitutionality did not stop him from signing it into law. He did so because it was politically expedient for him to do so. As Karl Rove quipped, it’s all about numbers and there are more of them (bigots) than there are of you (LGBTQ).
This past summer President Obama sent Secretary of Defense Gates to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The Committee was poised to recommend the repeal of DADT. Gates recommended that the Senate not immediately repeal DADT. He asked them to wait for yet another study that would be completed in the first week of December 2010. Conveniently, the results of that study would be announced one month after the Mid-term Elections.
Federal Judge Virginia Phillips ruled in October, inconveniently just before the Mid-term Elections that DADT is unconstitutional and ordered that the military immediately stop enforcing DADT. All that President Obama had to do was “nothing.” That’s right, nothing. He just had to hit the snooze bar on his alarm clock and DADT would, as Clinton foresaw, be taken care of by the judiciary.
Instead our “fierce advocate” President Barack Obama (D) had his Department of Justice appeal Judge Phillips ruling and obtained a stay to the enforcement of her ruling while it is under appeal. In sharp contrast Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) of California who chose not to appeal Judge Walker’s ruling that California’s Prop 8 is unconstitutional. Who loves ya baby?
Now, the LGBTQ community has been reassured that DADT will be repealed during the “lame duck session” of Congress. I’m not holding my breath on that one. Something wonderful did happen in the Mid-term Elections in California. The Republican candidate for Governor, Meg Whitman was soundly defeated. Why? She said that her former housekeeper, an undocumented Latina should be deported. That mobilized the Latino vote against Whitman. Latinos have taught Ms. Whitman (and future candidates) a clear and unmistakable lesson.
When someone acts against you, you vote against that person, period. If you make excuses for that person and continue to support him/her, you become an active accomplice of your own continued oppression. Only when we stop volunteering, funding and voting for false hope, will we be taken seriously. President Obama, you have two years, use them to do what is right not what is expedient. Keep your promises, while you still can!