Today the Senate voted, 63-33, to end the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. I served as a Naval Officer for eleven years, and saw firsthand the impact of DADT on men and women who pledged to serve, and potentially give their life, for their country, and yet were forced to lie about who they were. One of the most important values of the U.S. Military is integrity; DADT was the antithesis of integrity as a policy. All we heard from Republicans like John McCain in days leading up to the vote was how they threatened to withhold support of the New Start Treaty with Russia, even in the face of overwhelming support for ending DADT. This is yet another victory for the President, a historic accomplishment akin to the end of segregation in the military.
Yesterday the House of Representatives voted 234-194 to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the 1993 law that prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. The Senate Armed Services comittee voted 16-12 to send a similar bill to the floor of the Senate. Olympia Snowe, one of the few moderate Republicans remaining alive, was the only Republican to support the bill in committee. John McCain, ex-Maverick of Arizona, made his views on the bill clear:
“I think it’s really going to be very harmful to the morale and effectiveness of our military.”
Of course, while campaigning for the Presidency, McCain pledged he would listen to the Joint Chiefs of Staff; once they were ready for change, he would support repeal. Admiral Mullen, the Chairman, gave a stirring statement of support for repeal. Mullen does not underestimate the ability of today’s military to adapt to new policy. From my experience as a Naval Officer, DADT was a disaster; I knew people who were personally affected by it, and without question it reduces our readiness. However, McCain came of age in a different America. He cannot imagine a military allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. Well, the Navy is finally going to allow women on Submarines, another restriction that was long defended because of ‘readiness.’ There was never going to be an easy time to make that change, and there is never going to be an easy time to repeal DADT.
The bill would not go into immediate effect, but after an ongoing policy study is completed, and after the Pentagon and the White House approve the new policy; basically, sometime next year. Republicans want to wait, but what they want to wait for is not the completion of the study, but rather the fall election, when they will pick up a few Senate seats.
It is a sad day in America. Last night Jack Bauer retired, probably to pick up a great deal on a subprime-vintage Florida condo. Now I can understand why Jack would retire; after all, in recent days he was shot and tortured; his daughter was kidnapped; he lost a wife and a girlfriend. That would be a tough deal for anyone to take. However, America is in a moment of crisis, and we need Jack.
For one, our country is being invaded. Some people have the gall to claim that the Constitution says that anyone born in this country is a Citizen. In fact, they refer to the 14th Amendment, which reversed the Dred Scott decision:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
Yes, that is the Constitution. But listen to what Randy Terrill, Oklahoma Patriot and Republican state representative says:
“Currently, if you have a child born to two alien parents, that person is believed to be a U.S. citizen. When taken to its logical extreme, that would produce the absurd result that children of invading armies would be considered citizens of the U.S.”
Taking ideas to their logical extreme is as American as Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. What Terrill is really saying is that all those illegal aliens coming into our country, to babysit our children, to pick our fruit, to clean our offices, well they are an invading army. See, Jack Bauer never worried about critics who claimed that torture was wrong. He did what he had to do to protect America. Well, Jack needs to help Terrill fight back against these invading armies.
Who else needs Jack? Well, the fine people of Arizona, for one. John McCain wants to complete the dang fence. Well, McCain is no Maverick, which for me means that he may not be able to complete the dang fence on his own. Jack Bauer, however, is the original Maverick. Not only will he complete the dang fence, but he will use some enhanced interrogation techniques in Congress to nationalize the Arizona immigration law. That law would require police to determine the immigration status of a person involved in a lawful stop where reasonable suspicion exists that they are in the country illegally, and would criminalize failure to carry alien registration documents.
Sure, the Law Enforcement Engagement Initiative, a nationwide group of police leaders pressing for a federal overhaul of immigration law, believes the law will lead to racial and ethnic profiling and threaten public safety. But Jack Bauer will be there to do what is right for America, so we don’t need to worry about Americans’ rights being violated.
That’s good news for Rhode Island State Representative Peter Palumbo, whose effort to introduce the Arizona law to a vote was defeated yesterday. Peter could probably use Jack’s help in his re-election campaign, too. I think we can all agree that America needs Jack now, more than ever.