Friday, January 07, 2011

On a very sad man

Okay, so I mentioned on Tuesday (although you almost certainly knew about it long before I got around to posting that post) that Congress has finally gotten around to repealing that confounding piece of legislation known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I also, in that post, expressed my opinion that this is one of the best signs we've gotten in a long time that the country is starting to really discover its values.

Who disagrees with me? John McCain does.
"Today is a very sad day."

A very sad day? We're supposed to be very sad? Maybe you're concerned about it. Maybe you're worried. Maybe you're disappointed. But very sad? This isn't a tragedy. Sad days are when deeply held values are abandoned. Sad days are when people are hurt. But your argument was never about values or the morality of homosexuality. Your argument was about effectiveness. You said your "opinion is shaped by the leaders of the military."

Well, guess what, Mr. Senator: The leaders of the military have spoken, they've expressed their feelings that our troops can serve effectively side-by-side with openly gay compatriots, and your colleagues have listened to them and repealed an unfair law. But something about that makes you sad.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff supports repeal. The service chiefs say the military can do it, even Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Amos, who has been the most averse of all the joint chiefs to the repeal. If you're concerned about its effect on unit cohesion--that it will be "distracting"--that's something to worry about, not weep over. But maybe you've got other thoughts you haven't brought up in this debate, thoughts that make it a tragedy instead of merely a cause for concern. I'd be interested in knowing what makes you so very sad about this day.

President Obama seems to have more faith in our troops to handle this properly.
The president said, moments after the vote, "As commander in chief, I am absolutely convinced that making this change will only underscore the professionalism of our troops as the best led and best trained fighting force the world has ever known."

Remember the times you've said our troops are some of the best trained and most professional we've ever had. Remember the military leaders, pro- and anti-repeal, who've said that they can make it work. Remember the troops themselves, who've said that it's not a problem. And with those things in mind, if you still think this is a very sad day, ask yourself why. And then tell us.

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