Thursday, November 4, 2010

The second two years.

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!


Frank said...

I hope Obama can make good in the next two years - or there will be no good choice in 2012. When people say the country is going in the wrong direction, just who are they and what direction are they talking about? It seems that no matter what side of the ideological fence one is on, the perspective, right now, is similar.

Michael Dodd said...

My partner and I will celebrate our first (and probably only) anniversary of registered domestic partnership here in Wisconsin the week of Thanksgiving. The new Republican state administration sold its soul completely to those who want to undo the law that permits darn little in the way of rights to us. Meaning domestic partnership here already provides no tax breaks or anything, mainly just hospital visitation rights and rights to funeral planning. So now even that is about to disappear on us. As my partner said on his blog, these so-called Christians don't even have the decency to let us bury one another in peace.

Ironically, my partner managed the re-election of our state assembly member, practically the only Democrat outside the two major urban areas to make it back into the assembly. So naturally the state Dems are calling to try to get my partner to sign on to help the party next time. He will almost certainly refuse because the fight now is to get our rights (back). And that will entail criticizing the Dems who wimp out on us. I'll grant you, most Wisconsin state Democrats are light-years ahead of the national party, but the truth about the Party has to be told.

I thought in the 2008 election that the Dems were doing all they could to lose the election. I was delighted to be proved wrong. But this time around, they proved to me that they know how to lose an election big time. And they will continue to lose our support as long as they do not come through with support for us.

Shame, Mr. Obama! Shame!

Father Geoff said...

Had President Johnson acted on Civil Rights legislation the way that Obama is acting on LGBTQ legislation, Obama would never have become a Senator; never-mind, President.

I was at a dinner party in Los Angeles last night. Someone quipped "Obama is the best Republican President we've had since George Bush the first."