A good day for America

I was so happy with the United States Senate two days ago, it was a little bit alarming. I'm not used to being happy with the Senate for much, and the change was a somewhat jarring. But, by relegating Don't Ask, Don 't Tell to the dustbin of history, the 65 Senators who voted for repeal reminded me of why I still have hope for our system of government.

Sully has a good run-down of reactions from teh Internets. (I'm sure my own will be added to a future iteration. Right? RIGHT?!?) He quotes Jim Burroway:
As far as I can tell, this is the very first piece of pro-gay legislation that is not attached to any other piece of legislation making its way through both chambers of the U.S. Congress on its way to the President’s desk. Please correct me if I’m overlooking something, but I cannot think of any other federal pro-LGBT legislative accomplishment that has been achieved through a straight up-or-down vote as a stand-along bill.
I certainly can't recall another one. Which is why I feel so incredibly happy with this vote.

It's so easy to pay lip service to the idea of equality for gay and lesbian people without working particularly hard to make any change happen. When the DADT repeal failed as part of the defense spending bill, it would have been incredibly simple to lament the failure, throw up one's hands and move on. (Or, you know, go to a Christmas party.) But the people who made this happen did so through a lot of effort, because they chose to do right by people like me.

I am deeply, deeply grateful to Susan Collins and Joe Lieberman. I have been skeptical of the former's reputation for bucking the GOP party line, and have been downright hostile to the latter, given how much water he carried for Bush and McCain. (More on McCain in a second.) I'm not sufficiently one-issue to say "all is forgiven" and ignore other problematic considerations when discussing these two Senators, but they've both generated sufficient good will that I'm much more willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for a while. Collins has probably secured my vote, and I'm relieved that I won't have to register as a Republican.

Because oh, those Republicans. From the Times's article on the repeal vote:
“This isn’t broke,” Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, said about the policy. “It is working very well.”
Very well if you weren't one of the 13,000+ people discharged under the policy, I suppose. Or happened to think that discrimination against gay and lesbian service members was a perfectly acceptable state of affairs. But then, injustice often seems to be working perfectly well for the people unaffected by it.

Dahlia Lithwick has this:
Just a day after the historic Senate vote to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Senate, Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz) was on Fox News Sunday warning, spinnily, that the repeal “could cost lives.” Something to do with unit cohesion. Who even knows? Kyl didn’t really explain. Despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans, the vast majority of the military, the vast majority of the leadership of the military, and most of the rest of the world believe that DADT is a monstrous mistake, Kyl remains certain that as a result of this long overdue piece legislation, people will die.
Since I guess we're allowed to make wild, unsupported and unverifiable statements about DADT repeal, I will counter with this --repeal could result in every American getting a pet unicorn. I do understand Kyl's concern, however. We all know that the United Kingdom was sacked by Visigoths after it allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly. (Israel is another country that allows gays and lesbians to serve in their military, but they seemed a bad example since everyone knows they don't take national security at all seriously.)

And, of course, John McCain remains a category unto himself. At this point, all I have left to say about the embittered self-parody that the man has become is that I think I like his wife.

Returning to the positive, I will conclude my reiterating my gratitude to everyone who made this happen, including President Obama and Sen. Reid. I had resigned myself to accepting an indefinite future for ongoing institutionalized discrimination in the armed forces, and am overjoyed to have been wrong.


  1. Probably won't be, what with the husband and the kid and the lack of federal recognition for same. Fifteen years ago, would I have considered ROTC if circumstances had been different? Perhaps.