Thursday, April 22, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Lead

A few days ago Obama gave a speech in support of Barbara Boxer's reelection. Members of Get Equal heckled him, urging him to do something about Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT), the military ban of gays. He says he's for it and working on it and wondered why they were mad at him and not the Fundies?

Could it be because you, sir, are the roadblock and not the Fundies?

Dan Choi is back, chained to the White House fence. This time he brought the same friend as before and four more. One of them is Autumn Sandeen (whose blog entries I read), a transgender woman who has retired from the Navy. She could very well lose her pension to fight to repeal a law which will not affect other transgender military personnel -- they're covered by different rules.

Strangely, the Lafayette Park police (across the street from the WH) shooed the press away from covering this particular demonstration, not at all a normal practice. Some think this was directed by the WH and want to know why.

As the military protesters were getting out of jail we hear that Obama does not want to pursue repealing the DADT law this year -- and had told gay rights organizations back in January that he would not. This is just after the State of the Union address when Obama said that he would work to repeal DADT this year. Since then those gay rights groups have assured us that DADT repeal is on track and not to hassle the prez.

The number discharged under DADT in 2009 (under Obama's watch) is at least 443. That brings the 17 year total of those dismissed to at least 13,425.

This has other gay organizations and many individual gays mighty annoyed with Obama. We're all aware that with elections in November the chances of more GOP seats in both houses goes up and the chances of repeal go down. We're also aware that this is one gay-friendly change that a large percentage of the country (even a large percentage of GOP voters, just not the ones who tend to control primaries). Fortunately, it looks like repeal is working its way through Congress anyway.

However with a change so popular, Obama's lack of leadership on the issue will be noted by lots of people, putting his reelection at a disadvantage. This appears to be an issue where he has the politics all backwards.

Yes, Obama has done a few nice things for gays. His recent directive on visitation rights in hospitals is one of them. But pundits note that all these issues, though they would not have been enacted under Bush, are now so bland that many anti-gay groups are ignoring Obama's efforts. Which means Obama isn't leading on our issues and certainly not being our fierce advocate.

If you want to click on only one link this one is it.

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