Thursday, January 28, 2010

Obama Needs to Do More Than Just Mention DADT in a Speech

In the run up to last night's State of the Union address, there was a lot of talk about how Obama was going to mention Don't Ask, Don't Tell during the speech. The pundits on the talk shows were constantly talking about how this was a huge deal and in some ways it is a good step. With so many different issues facing our country, there are a lot of different groups trying to get the ear of the president and a mention by the president in the State of the Union address is usually considered a very big victory. When the president has already failed to deliver on the same exact promise, however, I think it's safe to say that action is needed on a topic and not just another few words in a speech.

In a time when we are fighting in two wars we simply cannot afford to have anymore soldiers dismissed simply because of who they love. This is especially the case when among the approximately 13,000 soldiers who've been dismissed are linguists and other specialists whose skills are desperately needed on the missions we're sending our armed forces on. So if the president will continue to refuse to issue an executive order that would prevent the military from investigating the sexual orientation of a member of the armed forces, then we need to hear some details on how the president is going to work with Congress to repeal DADT. According to a statement he made in reaction to Obama's State of the Union address, Lt. Dan Choi appears to agree that the lack of details in last night's speech was very disappointing.
"Last night, the president repeated his campaign commitment to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell as part of his State of the Union address. While the President promised that DADT would come to an end 'this year,' he did not provide specifics – and the White House still has not released a plan to kill it. That's unacceptable. I served in the Army for a decade under Don't Ask, Don't Tell – an immoral policy that forces American soldiers to lie about their sexual orientation. Worse, it forces others to tolerate deception. As I learned at West Point, deception and lies poison a unit and cripple a fighting force. That's why I feel strongly that America can't afford to allow this policy to continue one day longer. The time for talk is over. The time for action is now.”
I don't doubt Obama's sincerity when he says that he disagrees with the policy, I simply believe he hasn't made this issue enough of a priority. That is why people who believe discrimination is wrong need to contact the White House and their members of Congress and DEMAND that Don't Ask Don't Tell be repealed. It's simply not enough for them to mention it in a speech anymore as we've seen that time and time again without any action following it up. The military has already dismissed 13,000 highly qualified soldiers due to discrimination and we cannot afford to let this happen to another patriot proudly serving our country.

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