February 03, 2009

Thanks, Mr. Clinton

I fell hard for Bill Clinton in 1992. I worked for his election, contributed a lot of money to his campaign myself, and raised a lot of money from others. When he won, I knew that great times were coming.

Bill Clinton affectionately put his arm over my shoulder, gave me a warm hug, smiled his dazzling smile, leaned in and softly whispered over and over how much he cared about me. And then he stabbed me deep in the gut.

I've written about that episode, and about some of the lessons I learned from it, in some detail.

I've learned a lot more since then. I had Barack Obama's number from the beginning, as I've analyzed in many essays -- and including, let's not forget, Obama's underlying attitudes on gay-related issues. That post was written almost two years ago. Yeah, I had his number all right. You're "kind of good-looking" and "kind of cute" yourself, you lying, manipulative fraud.

So for me, this comes with absolutely no element of surprise:
The Obama administration is telling the Pentagon and gay-rights advocates that it will have to study the implications for national security and enlist more support in Congress before trying to overturn the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" law and allow gays to serve openly in the military, according to people involved in the discussions.

They said Obama, who pledged during the campaign to overturn the law, does not want to ask lawmakers to do so until the military has completed a comprehensive assessment of the impact that such a move would have on military discipline. Then, the president hopes to be able to make a case to members of both parties that overturning the 1993 law would be in the best interest of national security.
There is no expiration date for lies of this kind, or for this kind of moral cowardice.

Listen, Obama, you mewling weakling. Take a cue from my earlier essay:
Once the issue of gays and lesbians in the military had been raised, and once the relevant principles -- genuine equality, respect for gays and lesbians as full human beings, equal rights for all -- had been engaged, you cannot back down. Democrats often herald the toughness and courage of Harry Truman. Clinton could have issued an Executive Order, as Truman did for blacks in the military, and simply said: "This is the right thing to do. It's the only right thing to do. Gays and lesbians are in. Period. Do it." But Clinton didn't choose that route. Instead, he compromised. He endorsed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In the context of the national discussion that had emerged, this conveyed one message and only one message: This policy is okay and acceptable. This policy will offer more respect for gays and lesbians. This is progress for gays and lesbians.

But none of these claims was close to true ...


Forget the nonsense about open gays and lesbians being bad for "morale"; the identical alleged "justification" was used to exclude blacks from the military. It wasn't true about blacks, and it's not true about gays and lesbians. It's bigotry and unreasoning prejudice, and nothing else. Don't dignify it by making excuses for it, especially when the excuses are patently untrue. I would add a related point: the fact that some men may experience sexual hysteria or "panic" in the known presence of gays, and react this way because their own sense of "masculinity" is so precarious, is absolutely no reason for discrimination against those who allegedly provoke that reaction. Talk about punishing the victim. But that's one of our greatest specialties, and we will not give it up.

Beyond this, the demand that gays and lesbians "not disclose their sexual orientation" underscores and confirms the notion that being gay or lesbian is a shameful secret. You mustn't talk about it. It's disgusting, and decent people don't want to know about it. These are some of the messages of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." This is not "okay" or "acceptable." This does not offer more respect for gays and lesbians. This is not "progress" for gays and lesbians.
The earlier article has still more on these issues.

So thanks for the lesson, Mr. Clinton. I don't think I would have survived another stab in the gut of this kind.

And since Clinton by his cowardice, and Obama by his cowardice and his own words, have invited the following kind of response, I will not resist adding a final observation. The presidency of the United States in this era is the single most powerful position in the history of the world. Given that awesome and frightening power, it is truly astonishing that when it comes to any issue requiring specifically moral courage, both these men reveal themselves to be among the most astoundingly weak and terrified pussies it is possible to imagine.

Now there's a lesson to take away with you.