Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lady Gaga on DADT

While I have remained largely ignorant of the Lady Gaga phenomenon, and have been vaguely repelled by that part of it to which I have been exposed, I must say that her stand on open service in the military has been refreshing. Her syntax is a little weird at times, but her sincerity cannot be doubted, and her energy is much to be admired. I have not determined if she is, herself, gay and to be honest I’m not entirely certain I’m using the correct pronoun when I refer to her. None of that affects my opinion of the person, but it might affect my opinion of the advocacy. It is admirable in any case.

Remember I’m an old guy; my perception of modern culture… I try, but…

Anyway, in a rather sensible segment on Countdown last night, unusual for Olbermann and even more so considering that it centered around Lady Gaga, visiting pundit Richard Socarides made what has become a rather common statement that Obama “has the authority to stop these discharges by presidential order.” I’ve never figured out where the people who make that statement think he gets that authority, since he is charged by the constitution to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” and those discharges are made under the color of law duly passed by Congress and signed by a previous president.

He did say something that might shed some light on his meaning, although he did not directly connect the two, and if repeal does not pass today I would hope that this gets explored further.

He explained that “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was a compromise between Clinton, who wanted open service, and the military, who did not. He said that Clinton’s understanding in accepting the compromise was that gays serving in the military could acknowledge their sexuality outside of the military setting and would be required to conceal it only, basically, while on duty. The military has broken that promise and begun witch hunts to “out” service members in off-duty settings and discharge them as a result.

If that is the case, and perhaps even if it is not, Obama could order the military to adopt that policy; to require the concealment of homosexuality only within the framework of the military environment. That would allow gays and lesbians to live more normal lives and stop the discharge of people who want to serve their country, and it would remain in compliance with both the letter and the intention of the law passed by Congress.

Hopefully, repeal will pass today and the point will become moot.

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