Today, a U.S. President who faces contentious elections in three months ignored overwhelming public opinion against and signed an executive order desegregating the military just because he thought equality as a principle was important enough to actually do something about it.
It was today, 62 years ago. The president was Harry Truman. He informed Congress he had, “instructed the secretary of defense to take steps to have the remaining instances of discrimination in the armed services eliminated as rapidly as possible.” Of course, then as now the glorious leadership of our armed forces thought "rapidly" meant 15 goddam years.
Today, there is overwhelming public support for removing the institutional discrimination against gay soldiers. It polls at 78%. Seriously, nothing polls at 78%.
However, the "Homosexual Conduct" law has not yet been repealed and there continues to be zero movement to enact any kind of federal antidiscrimination law to protect gay citizens within or without the military. In fact, the momentum seems to be to continue to heap increasingly more legal disabilities on top of existing discrimination — y'know "state's rights," and all. Viva Jim Crow!
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Daniel Choi was officially discharged two days ago, and the Obama Administration is currently in federal court defending the military's gay ban as rational, reasonable, and necessary in Log Cabin Republicans vs. United States of America.
Nice work, Democrats.
President Truman once offered your party some valuable advice you persistently ignore: "If you give the people a choice between a watered-down Republican and a Republican, they will choose the real thing every time."
Probably too late now.
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