The branches of the United States military will soon have to enlist those who are openly gay as the Senate passed a repeal of the Clinton-era “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy with a 65-31 vote moving the bill to the White House to be signed by President Obama. Unlike some (the majority of whom I would guess have never served) I’m not celebrating this decision. When our men and women are in combat we shouldn’t be treating the military as a social experiment.
But you know what? Let’s just throw out all of the standards! Fat people Waistline-challenged have been discriminated by the military for years. Let’s just let them all in! You weigh over 300 pounds and can’t run five yards? No problem, we’ve got a place for you. Don’t have 20/20 vision, no problem you can still be a pilot. Because it isn’t fair that you can’t fly. Not tall enough to be an MP? no problem we’ll drop the 5’8” standard (I don’t know if that is still the regulation, but I was told back in 1989 I wasn’t tall enough at 5’7”) because dwarfs should be be allowed to serve in that MOS (military occupational skill). Blind? Deaf? Not a problem. Flat feet (my grandfather was kept from serving in WW II because of that)? No sweat! If you are 70-years-old and want to serve, we’ll start a Senior’s Brigade!
Matter of fact, it doesn’t matter if you can’t qualify with an M-16 or pass a PT test. We’ll let you pass because we now have a kinder, gentler military.
The fact is the military has discriminated for years. It has to have standards, and no not everybody can or should serve. Congress has harmed military readiness, not helped. I also think it sucks that they pushed through a controversial piece of legislation during a lame duck session. No way this would have passed in January.
Some of the usual suspects on the GOP side voted in favor of this bill: Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) for instance. I expect nothing less from New England Republicans. They were joined by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Senator John Ensign (R-NV), Retiring Senator George Voinovich (R-OH), and Freshman Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) (who demonstrated why I couldn’t plug him).
Retiring Senators Jim Bunning (R-KY) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) were absent, as was Senator Orinn Hatch (R-UT). Hatch needs to explain why he missed the vote. Snowe, Brown, Ensign, and Hatch are up for re-election in 2012. I hope they face a tough primary challenger. I don’t expect that Snowe and Brown would lose, but I believe that Ensign and Hatch are vulnerable and this vote (and non-vote) will help them among their constituents.
I would like to personally thank (and encourage my Iowa readers to do the same) Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for his no vote.