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Entries in Claire McCaskill (1)

Tuesday
Feb022010

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell on the Road to Repeal?

Today in congressional hearings we heard statements from Robert Gates and Admiral Mullen and then senators were allowed to ask some questions.  After watching all 75 minutes of the hearings I can tell you that this is going to be an issue that is taken down party lines.  Without a doubt the majority of the Republicans asking questions or in some cases making statements about this issue are in favor of keeping the discriminatory policy of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in place.  There was however what seemed to be on exception in the form of Maine’s Junior Senator Susan Collins (see clip below) who asked perhaps the best questions of anyone at the hearings.

Meanwhile Senator John McCain stood by his hate speech and waved around a document holding the signatures of over 1,000 former service members who oppose lifting the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.  McCain simply ended up looking like a petulant child (see clip below), but what can we expect from someone as close-minded as this man who is happy to use members of the LGBT community to defend a country that does not accept them for who they are.

This policy is of particular importance to me as I have had many members of my family serve in the military and have friends serving now.  To the point that some of the senators made in today’s hearings about gay and lesbian soldiers serving openly in foreign militaries I have an interesting inside perspective.  In 2006 while I was studying in London I had the great fortune of meeting and entering a relationship with a man who now serves in the British military as an openly gay man.  From the conversations that we have had it is for the most part a non-issue.  While he sometimes feels a bit lonely because he is the only openly gay man in his unit, his sexuality does not impact how his unit functions in the least.

There was one other moment of today’s hearings that struck me as particularly interesting and enlightening into how some of the Republican’s are approaching this issue.  From listening to Jeff Sessions the junior senator of Alabama it seemed that he was not at all concerned with the number of service members who had been discharged under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.  Sessions said that the number of soldiers who have been discharged add up to a fraction of a percent.  Now, call me crazy but at a time when the United States is involved in two wars (as Senator Sessions’ colleagues pointed out numerous times) and now that we are involved in the relief effort in Haiti, wouldn’t we want as many service members as possible?  Even if we are discharging a fraction of a percent of our service members I think losing one capable soldier to this policy is one too many.

Senator Susan Collins

Senator John McCain

Senator Claire McCaskill

 

For an unedited version of the hearings please click here