Time to Retire “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”

May 28th, 2010 by Lee Eldridge

Time to Repeal Don't Ask Don't TellIt’s time to retire Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” compromise of the ’90s. Actually, it’s long overdue. I have been very pleased to see President Obama and Congress proceed with the repeal of this legislation. And I think it’s smart for them to proceed as they are, in a measured and methodical manner. Last night, according to CNN.com: “The U.S. House and a Senate committee approved amendments to a military bill Thursday that would repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy barring openly gay and lesbian soldiers from military service, but only after some conditions are met.”

See the full CNN story here.

While the Republicans are on the public’s side of many recent polls, this is one where they find themselves largely out of step with public sentiment. According to a recent CNN poll, 78% of respondents said that “people who are openly gay or homosexual” should be able to serve in the armed forces. But these numbers are nothing new. The results are similar to what CNN found in December of 2008 (81%) and May of 2007 (79%).

But if you look at the votes yesterday, Republicans in Congress obviously do not support the repeal. From CNN: “The Senate committee’s vote on the amendment was mostly partisan, with 15 Democrats and one Republican — Sen. Susan Collins of Maine — supporting the compromise repeal language. The House vote also was along largely partisan lines, with 229 Democrats and five Republicans supporting the repeal amendment, while 168 Republicans and 26 Democrats opposed it.”

It’s time for Republicans to wake up and understand that we want equal protections and rights for all Americans.

7 Responses to “Time to Retire “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell””

  1. Lee Eldridge Says:

    A friend of mine wrote me a note, pleased that I had called out the Republicans on this: “I appreciate that your column pointed out that the R’s really don’t support granting civil rights where due.”

    This was not my intent. When I said “It’s time for Republicans to wake up and understand that we want equal protections and rights for all Americans,” I was referring to the politicians. I should have been more clear.

    I have no love for the Republicans or the Democrats. But I think it’s the wrong conclusion to think that the Republicans in general don’t support civil rights, though it’s a common assertion liberals like to make.

    If approximately 80% of our country supports the concept of allowing gays to openly serve in the military, then many Republicans are on board. So two quick comments:

    1 – Of the 20% who do NOT support allowing gays to serve openly in the military, they are mostly “social conservatives”. They see homosexuality as an immoral choice, and that this “lifestyle” should not be considered acceptable behavior. There’s also a group of people who believe this will create problems within the military, therefore we should leave “don’t ask don’t tell” in place. Luckily, most of us do not feel this way.

    There are certainly plenty of Republicans who may be fiscally conservative, but socially moderate, who support equal rights for gays. I hate defending either party, but to stereotype Republicans as being against civil rights is inaccurate.

    2 – What I personally found interesting in this story was how the Republicans in Congress voted. They obviously fear stirring up the socially conservative portion of their base, despite the fact that repealing this legislation has broad public support. Cowards.

  2. ralphie Says:

    If you cant admit that Republicans ARENT on the side of gay people – a people that have been denied civil rights by your own admission – then you are dissing your own collumn. Maybe im reading your collumn wrong.

    I believe your defense of replubicans was longer than your actual post Lee!
    Are you sure youre an Independant? I only see you attack the Dems and defend the R’s. Your historical use of stock republican labels for democrats (calling us ‘liberals’) also is a bit of a clue that you are something of a dittohead. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I jush you would come out and call yourself the Republican that you are. You definitely aint no democrat, which you are very proud to admit, and have FAR, FAR, FAR, FAR too much love and defense for the the republicans to be an Independant. I guess youre going to tell me that 8 years of republican rule was good for this country? That the republicans ran this country better than the democrats? Im sure you will, ill get my popcorn ready for the Lee’s next collumn defending republicanism…

  3. ralphie Says:

    by the way, i do see your point that normal non-politician Republicans supposedly are for things (like civil rights) that the representatives they elect, re-elect and donate money to do not support. I guess you include yourself in this group.

    I personally dont make any distinction between the politicians and those that give them aid and comfort. Its a war Lee, and the battle includes those who take up arms in defense of who they support to be in power.

  4. Lee Eldridge Says:

    Good morning Ralphie.

    No, I ain’t no democrat. And I’m certainly no republican. While I wasn’t a big Jesse Ventura fan, I always got a big kick out of this quote: “I don’t want Democrats in the boardroom and I don’t want Republicans in the bedroom.”

    I find a lot of parallels with my own feelings in that quote. It’s overly simplistic, but maybe that’s what makes it a great quote.

    I have long supported gay rights (in the military, marriage, adoption, etc.). And I just called republican politicians cowards for failing to vote against social conservatives, despite what I see as overwhelming public support for the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell. Not sure how that’s a defense of republicans. My only “defense” was that I wouldn’t paint all republicans as against civil rights.

    I don’t use the terms liberal and democrat interchangeably. Not all dems are liberals, and not all liberals are dems. Though many liberals are democrats, it’s inaccurate to describe all dems as liberals. Many moderate dems in the country. Does that make sense?

    Same thing with social conservatives. I don’t use that term interchangeably with republican. And just like it would be inaccurate to portray all dems as liberals, it’s inaccurate to portray all reps as bigoted social conservatives against civil rights.

    Painting either party with a large stereotypical brush is a mistake.

    Ralphie, I think there are still lots of small minded, bigoted people in this country. And certainly many of them are on the far right. But don’t pretend there are none on the left.

  5. Bobby Says:

    Ralphie, I can promise you Lee is no R!

  6. ralphie Says:

    I think your quote needs work Lee. Democrats often run companies much better than republicans and Independants. Most of the mutlimillionaires in business I know are not only dems, but staunch dems or if nothing else, staunch anti-republicans. Prob because they arent so busy trying to screw everyone because of their own greed that they dont wreck a business in the process. The republicans I know in business are the one’s that struggle, mistrust their employees, and either quit or fail. Not only that, but they often lack creativity and ‘out of the box thinking’ which comes in pretty handy in this era.

    The last 8 years the nations business was run by Republicans, and well, even you can acknowledge it didnt turn out so good economically. Though i dont believe ive read that you are willing to state that widely known fact.

    Republicans being the party of sound business if probably the most grand, horrendous mythological lie in all of politics. Almost no evidence to back this up and profound evidence to suggest the contrary is true. Though im sure you will write a blog post soon to dispute that, as part of you non-republican brand of Independant.

    As for the bedroom, hard to argue with that.

  7. Lee Eldridge Says:

    Do you have any stats to back up your conclusions? I’d love to see them.

    As far as I’m concerned, there are plenty of successful AND unsuccessful dems and reps in the business world — I’ve known plenty of each. When it comes to success of the individual, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that leads me to believe that a person’s political views play any part of a person’s business success or lack of success.

    I always took the quote from Jesse V to mean politicians, not the population at large, though I don’t know for sure that that was JV’s intent.