I wasn’t really surprised that the Senate Democrats could not muster enough votes to overcome the Republicans’ filibuster of the Defense Authorization bill that included the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Disappointed, yes; listening to John McCain’s whiny voice and his objections made me accuse him of indecent and unnatural acts with certain barnyard creatures at a volume level that made me glad I didn’t have the top down on the car for fear of frightening the other drivers. But not surprised.
The arguments that the Republicans brought up against the bill were ridiculous, and Rachel Maddow did a fine job of picking them apart one by one. What it comes down to is that the GOP is, as a party, anti-gay. That’s not news. Neither is the fact that they are sniveling cowards who haven’t got the courage to come out, so to speak, and admit it. Say what you will about people at the Family Research Council and other rabidly homophobic groups; at least they don’t hide behind the skirts of excuses like the bill shouldn’t have “extraneous” amendments attached to it or other such nonsense. I suppose it’s because they’re afraid that if they come right out and announce that they’re against the repeal of DADT because they don’t like Teh Gayz, they’ll come off as “extreme.” Yeah; after hanging out with the Tea Party and Newt Gingrich, that’s a real danger, isn’t it?
So the next question is Now What? The fact that DADT is in its final throes — it’s already been held unconstitutional in one court and thrown out in another — is small comfort to the soldiers who have been discharged or are already in the process. The Pentagon study is due out in two months, and even if it finds that both the brass and the troops are fine with allowing openly gay soldiers, you can be sure that the Republicans will come up with some other objections; they always do. The next step could come from the White House by simply ordering a halt to all procedures for discharging soldiers under DADT. Leave the law on the books; just don’t enforce it. It would not mean the end of the law, but at least it would put an end to the discharges until the bill is repealed to the point that it cannot be resurrected and the seventeen years of this worst of all compromises is over.
I would be surprised — pleasantly — if the Obama administration took that step. Go on, Mr. President; you’ve said many times that you will end DADT, and this year. This, at least, would be a start.