Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Words To Keep In Mind...

as we watch to see if deeds follow the words.

Obama at the White House Reception to Recognize LGBT Pride and Stonewall 40th:

And I know that many in this room don't believe that progress has come fast enough, and I understand that. It's not for me to tell you to be patient, any more than it was for others to counsel patience to African Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a half century ago.

But I say this: We have made progress and we will make more. And I want you to know that I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises I've made, but by the promises that my administration keeps. And by the time you receive -- (applause.) We've been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration. (Applause.)

And finally, I want to say a word about "don't ask, don't tell." As I said before -- I'll say it again -- I believe "don't ask, don't tell" doesn't contribute to our national security. (Applause.) In fact, I believe preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country weakens our national security. (Applause.)

Now, my administration is already working with the Pentagon and members of the House and the Senate on how we'll go about ending this policy, which will require an act of Congress.

Why an act of Congress? Harry Truman ended segregation in the military by executive order with a stroke of his pen. There's back and forth about whether Obama can end DADT by executive order, but according to Rep. Rush Holt, at TPM:

In the meantime, the President could issue an executive order announcing a study of the current policy. During that time, there could be a moratorium on any investigations or prosecutions of LGBT soldiers.

Yes, indeed! Just do it, Mr President!

I wonder if Obama simply does not want to take full responsibility for the action. He may have a point in wanting the Congress to stand with him, but what if they won't?

Thanks to David@Montreal for sending me the text of Obama's speech.

I'll probably have more to say about other promises that the president made in the speech that we must keep in mind.


  1. His obvious expectance to be tarred and burnt in the streets (in many copies) is probably quite realistic, given the climate in the USA - but wrong all the less.

  2. Göran, if you could hear what I hear in my very own ears....

  3. Obama seems to not want to do anything without some support behind him. That might be seen as weak by some, but given the last Administration's willingness to go to war without the support of the rest of the world, I actually appreciate Obama's slower, more deliberate moves.

    It took many hundreds of years of activism to reach the Civil Rights Act. Slow and steady wins the race, though. If he used an executive order, wouldn't it be just as easy for another President in the future to reverse Obama's order? (I don't know the answer to that, I'm truly asking.)

    I've been a little frustrated with some of my LGBT brothers and sisters' jumping rather quickly to say Obama has not done enough for us. Surely, 6 months is not a very long time, and he certainly has had other pressing issues on him.

    That is not to say, however, that we should sit back and accept whatever scraps are thrown to us. If we keep up the pressure for equality on the current Administration, but remain respectful in tone, I suspect we will eventually find ourselves full and equal citizens with our hetero brothers and sisters.

  4. Suzer, I agree, up to a point. But he made promises, and if he is a man of his word, he should keep them. How long it takes is a matter that is open to argument. But I think that we must continue to press him. He's getting it from the other side.

    He could do the executive order for a moratorium on DADT, as the matter is "studied".

  5. I have no problem with the political reality that change comes slowly and we cannot expect miracles overnight. That does not have me stirred up at all. But I remain absolutely furious with him over one thing. I am still waiting for him to repudiate the brief his DOJ filed arguing that the government has an interest in excluding our marriages just as it did in cases of incest and pedophilia. It is crappy legal reasoning and an over the top insult that I will not overlook. I insist on his repudiating it and nothing less will placate me. (It would take so little on his part and he could gain so much good will instantly.)

  6. Paul, I have a real problem with the good people being thrown out of the military.

    And the DOJ should revise its despicable arguments.


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