Richard Socdearis recalls what Candidate Obama said about ending the ban on gays serving openly in the U.S. Military:"America is ready to get rid of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. All that is required is leadership."
It's unfortunate that America is stuck with a lackluster president who cannot provide that. I have evolved from a starry-eyed Obama supporter into yet another progressive that wishes Hillary had snagged the nomination. Joe Sudbay at AmericaBlog just called the Senate Armed Services Committee hoping to discover when the much-anticipated Don't Ask Don't Tell hearing is going to be held. Y'know, the hearing that was supposed to take place this week? They told him nothing has been scheduled. (And likely won't be.)
The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld has been quizzing Washington insiders: One Capitol Hill veteran I spoke with on Friday was particularly pessimistic, for instance, about the prospects that the White House will push for the repeal of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' this year. "I’m getting the sense they will try to ignore this as long as possible and then they will maybe trot out some commission to delay it another year if they are forced to do anything," said the person. "It will be fascinating to see what the LGBT community does if they do this."
What can we do? Nothing. We had a blissful one-night stand with Candidate Obama, who couldn't get away from us fast enough the following morning.
Without the President's fabled fierce leadership, Congressional Democrats won't touch any legislation that involves gay rights. ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) was promised to the LGBT community in 2009, with the repeal of DADT supposedly occurring in 2010. President Obama took office and immediately started throwing wads of cash at greedy banks that were "too big to fail." There was no accountability, CEOs gave themselves fat bonuses, and the administration had to wrestle with the fallout from that PR nightmare. Then he felt compelled to whip it out and show conservatives he was "tough on terror" by sending tens of thousands of extra troops into the Afghanistan morass. The health care debate - before it even began - was dominated and redefined by Republican naysayers, with pharmaceutical titans meeting White House officials behind closed doors. Teabaggers seized the moment. Our Commander-in-chief waffled. And you know where that has led us.
Equal rights remain a distant dream for LGBT Americans, worthless promises made in the heat of the campaign by a candidate desperate for our love donations. (In the interest of fairness, Obama did sign a defense authorization bill with a hate crimes attachment - so it appears we now have the "right" not to be beaten to death.)
What's that? There's an envelope on the dresser? Maybe I've misread the situation. Maybe it contains an affectionate message with a phone number - and plans to hook up in the near future! But no, the front of the envelope merely says: "Please donate to my re-election campaign."
I feel so used.
UPDATE: Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says that Obama will mention Don't Ask, Don't Tell in his upcoming State of the Union address - but he claims he has no idea what the President plans to say. Although I'm prepared to - and even yearning to - eat crow about this, here's what I expect to come out of Dear Leader's mouth: Pretty words, pretty words, vague timetables, pretty words, pretty words, nothing definitive.