Saturday, December 18, 2010
It is very tempting to go hog-wild celebrating today's vote in the Senate to repeal DADT, the bill now to be sent to the president for his signature. It IS a signal victory and a cause for rejoicing, but although it will become the law of the land sometime this week, it won't be enforceable because of the built-in "certification process" for quite some time. A raft of people have to sign off on it and I am certain that the required signatories will be placed under enormous pressure to withhold their endorsement by a wide range of anti-gay and Christian groups.
Indeed they have already released what were surely pre-prepared statements vowing vengeance on all who voted for repeal as well as an immediate effort in the new Congress to repeal the repeal. One antagonist, American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer, made this extraordinary statement:
"The armies of other nations have allowed gays to serve openly in the military. The reason they could afford to do this is simple: they could allow homosexuals to serve in their military because we didn’t allow them to serve in ours. They knew they could count on the strength, might, power, and cohesion of the U.S. military to intervene whenever and wherever necessary to pull their fannies out of the fire and squash the forces of tyranny wherever they raised their ugly heads around the world.
"Those days are now gone. We will no longer be able to bail out these other emasculated armies because ours will now be feminized and neutered beyond repair, and there is no one left to bail us out. We have been permanently weakened as a military and as a nation by these misguided and treasonous Republican senators, and the world is now a more dangerous place for us all."
The second sentence is the key to the willful ignorance and/or outright lying embraced and practiced by many who are leading the fight against gay rights. The second sentence clearly states that there have never been gays and lesbians in our armed forces but now there will be. I have sensed this in virtually all statements made by those who uphold DADT -- they either believe or want to make the American population believe that repealing DADT will allow gays to flood into a military where they have never been. It's outright falsehood, of course, lying pure and simple.
U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, clearly stated on national television that he had been serving with gay comrades since the '80s and that they were outstanding members of the military. Any number of senators and representatives have acknowledged in public that homosexuals have been part of the American military back to the days of the Revolution. And the approximately 14,000 men and women who have been thrown out of the various Forces for being gay should be a clue to the fact that GAYS HAVE BEEN IN THE MILITARY all along. But still the opponents of gay rights pump out the lies and large numbers of Americans believe them. It's astonishing and disheartening, an indictment of our educational system and of the power of hatred to convince people that what is true is actually false and what is false is actually true.
Yes, it's a happy day but a long road still stretches out before us.