December 22, 2010
Excuse the abrupt thread this morning- more to add in terms of coverage later. But first, some reactions.
By Adam Bink
Standing in the room for the Presidential bill signing to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this morning, everything was just surreal for me. I say that because:
- I’ve heard “DADT repeal is dead” at least half a dozen times- from friends, colleagues, the media, members of Congress. I heard it after the Gates/Mullen letter to Rep. Skelton, after the disastrous anti-equality Congressional election results, after the first failed Senate vote in September, after the 2nd one a few weeks ago… on and on. But we kept pushing- not just at lawmakers and the media, but at naysayers- and got it done. Goes to show it ain’t over until it’s over.
- That sometimes, the system can work. Over at my home blog, OpenLeft.com, myself and my colleagues worked hard on the public option fight. The consulting firm at which I work was involved in the financial reform bill fight and the battle to pass the health care bill. I’ve been involved in one way or another in the push to increase the minimum wage over the past several years. All of these were either losses or compromised, half-measures that take where we should be in the country on financial reform and health care (and to a lesser extent wages), from a 1 to about a 4 or 5 on a 10-point scale. But on this, aside from an implementation delay, there was no compromised, half-measure. We fought off the opportunity for a poison pill in the Senate. It was up or down, yes or no. No legislative language on showers, barracks, segregated troops. It was a win, a full win, and that’s not something I’m used to in the past several years.Sometimes, the system does work. Thus, surreal.
- As President Obama recognized Admiral Mullen for his leadership, a colleague who flew in for the occasion commented to me “boy, it’s weird seeing all these gays in suits applauding the military, ain’t it?” Yes, it is. Times have changed, and that’s surreal too. And when Admiral Mullen sat down before the House and Senate Armed Services Committee after the 2010 State of the Union and said “it’s time”, that’s when I honestly thought we have a real shot at this. And so he should be applauded. By everyone.
- Here on the East Coast there’s a lot of backbiting in the LGBT community. There will always be. But it was heartening today to see people who I know are strong critics of each other- some even hate each other- exchanging strong handshakes and even hugs. I was glad to see Robin McGehee with GetEqual and Dan Choi, two of the President’s harshest critics, at the ceremony and with positive words to say, to boot. I was glad to see some of my blogging colleagues who are strong critics of brick ‘n mortar organizations, and folks from those organizations who can’t stand the bloggers, congratulating each other. Also surreal. If there was ever a time when we all came together to get it done, I thought it was the last few weeks on this issue. Everyone on the inside and outside, including folks like Bob and Richard in the comments and the rest of you who led the way, had a single-minded focus on getting the votes and making sure the Majority Leader included repeal in the calendar. And that’s what we did.
A great, great day to celebrate. For those members of Congress and the Administration who worked hard and voted right and advocated in the media, my thanks. For those of you who made calls and asked friends/family/colleagues to make calls; donated money to pro-repeal organization efforts to enable this work to happen; wrote letters and harrassed members of Congress in person; pushed the Administration to get this done and lead the way; and everything else you did, give yourself a pat on the back.
We earned this. Sometimes, the system does work. And we made it.