President OBAMA: "DADT Will End On My Watch!"

Crossposted at DailyKos Before I talk about what could be or is President Obama's DADT Strategy, I would like to underscore what this President has done for the LGBTQ community. However, these accomplishments don't mean other key LGBT initiatives are in the bank by any means. In fact, discriminatory policies towards LGBTQ community and the battle to dismantled these policies legislatively once and for all is not going to be a cake walk considering the slow expediency of repealing DADT which has an 78% public support. However, the President's accomplishment to date should not be overlook to tie it all up like a jigsaw puzzle about his intentions and continued commitment to advancing equality for LGBTQ community. These elements while some may be symbolic, have been missing in past Administrations and should reinforce that these Administration is on the right path while the pace may have not been quicker on some things because of political limitations. However, Obama's commitment to building a strong alliance in pursuing the end of DADT can not be challenged. While we have had hiccups in the effort to repeal DADT, we must continue to organize and build a coalition in an intersectional way to build on the progress we have made to date: 1) Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees 2) Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act 3) Instructed HHS to require any hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds (virtually all hospitals) to allow LGBT visitation rights. 4) Banned job discrimination based on gender identity throughout the Federal government (the nation's largest employer) 5) Signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act 6) Extended the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover Gay employees taking unpaid leave to care for their children of same-sex partners 7) Lifted the HIV Entry Ban. 8) Implemented HUD Policies that Would Ban Discrimination Based On Gender Identity 9) Appointed the first ever transgender DNC member 10) Named open transgender appointees (the first President ever to do so) 11) Eliminated the discriminatory Census Bureau policy that kept LGBT relationships from being counted 12) Extended domestic violence protections to LGBT victims These are important achievements and incremental step for equality that should not be taken lightly when making assessment about the President Commitment to end DADT against all odds and limitations we have seen from many blue-dogs and Republicans in Congress. If not all, most of these achievement will never have seen the light of day had it been a Republican President today. In fact, these accomplishments shows bold leadership this President promised until anyone can prove that there has been any past President that has done better or even equal to what this President had done for LGBTQ community. Fundamental divide in ideologue in this country coupled with law makers catering to special interests rather than listening to their constituencies has indeed made the President's effort to repealing DADT a difficult task but does not mean it is not achievable as the President has stated he will end DADT on his watch. So, if we worked hard for this President, in the rain and the cold, knocking door to door to get him elected during the campaign in hopes to end DADT amongst many other progressive platforms, we should be encourage but also understand that changing the heart and minds of lawmakers in Congress is a battle that require a strategy and I believe just like he said he will end DADT on his watch, I believe the Administrations' strategy is methodical and worth noting. UPDATE: This section has been updated with a strike to correct that the DoJ has already filed the appeal while my other source appears to have not been accurate. My apologies. Considering the not so definite chatter dominating the narrative about the Government's plans to appeal of District Judge Virginia Phillips' ruling holding Don't Ask, Don't Tell ("DADT") unconstitutional, M.S. Bellows, Jr., of HuffPost eloquently notes:
...a White House threat to appeal the federal court ruling doesn't necessarily mean that the White House will appeal that ruling. Nor does the White House's request today for a temporary stay of that ruling while it "decides" whether to appeal. The United States has 60 days to appeal any ruling against it, and it might be wise for it to pretend it may appeal the ruling until the last minute, to increase pressure on conservative Democrats to toe the party line and vote to repeal the entire DADT law during the upcoming, post-election "lame duck" session of Congress. Obama has made no secret of his preference for overturning DADT legislatively rather than through the courts. A single trial judge in California can be dismissed by conservative pundits as "activist" and demagogued endlessly in tomorrow's culture wars. What's more, a single judge's ruling has no precedential value should other courts be asked to decide similar but jurisdictionally distinct issues in the future. A legislative decision to overturn DADT, on the other hand, could only be reversed if both a future Congress and a future President chose to re-impose military bigotry, after gay soldiers already are incorporated openly into the military and over the predictable filibuster. In other words, the Congressional solution Obama seeks would be better from a P.R. perspective AND stronger legally than merely letting the District Court ruling bear the weight alone.
Some in the LGBT community have been upset with the Administration's potential next move to appealing Judge Phillips' injunction and calling on this Administration and the President with absolutely unnecessary rhetoric that is not helpful nor productive while quite understandable. However, I often ask myself how is a single judges ruling legitimize the issue profoundly without a sweeping condemnation of DADT by the same body that enacted it? Further, the disadvantage of judge's ruling is that any judge of a higher court can easy reverse the ruling while Judge Phillips injunction more likely gives Congress less pressure to push to repeal DADT legislatively. As shpilk noted in his diary,
Yeah, it would nice if President Obama waved a magic wand and made DADT go away; meanwhile, any indication that the Federal Government is failing to enforce a Public Law like DADT will result in a lawsuit. The American Taliban is salivating at the bit for any possible opening, to do just this. The result? A fast track of what should be a political decision to the Supreme Court, where Antonin Scalia is probably right now rubbing his hands together in glee, as he gets to write the decision.
Don't get me wrong but Judge Phillips' ruling along with the stay request and projected appeal by the Administration collectively in my opinion are a combination of elements that will elevate the discussion to forcefully squeeze congress to not go to sleep. Here is the bottom line though, as Bellows, Jr. puts it:
Even an actual appeal of that ruling wouldn't necessarily mean the White House is actually unwilling to let Judge Phillips' decision stand in the end. The White House's behavior so far is equally consistent with a negotiating strategy aimed at ramping up pressure on Blue Dogs and other Congressional Panderers-to-the-Right to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell for good. Only time will tell which one it really is.
Some may not find this strategy acceptable and we can agree to disagree without being disagreeable but there has been an over the top irresponsible diaries and comments with vitriol and lopsided repudiation of the President and those who support this Administration on the path to end DADT at a personal level. No, the President is not a coward. No, the President does not lack courage. It is understandable to be angry about something as important as the repeal of DADT but some in this community have forgotten that all of us in our own intersectional ways need each other. A good friend, Kosack RadioGirl, wrote a diary a couple of weeks ago to convey a very important message that I think we should all take to heart when we evaluate our politics. She said:
Movement Building & The Politics of Intersectionality It's cheap and easy to heap invective and vitriol on those within our own ranks – and those we hope will join our ranks - who aren't where we want them to be on various issues. It's much harder to build a progressive movement that really walks it like it talks it. But that's exactly what we need: less vitriol, more movement-building through grassroots community organizing. Any movement worth its salt works persistently to build strong, trustworthy bridges across issues and constituencies. It takes time to meet and talk and work with people at the community level. A movement doesn't simply demand that people support it; it reaches out, always taking the first step across the great divides. And probably the second and fifteenth steps and hundredth steps as well. It is built person by person over more kitchen tables than conference tables, and as much with compassion as candor. A movement worthy of your time and mine doesn't just tell others what they should feel or do; it listens and learns, finding new ways forward over old impasses through quiet conversations and seeing reality through someone else's eyes. And everyone involved – if they stick with it and don't spin off forever into bitter cynicism - will find themselves changed for the better as a result, even though at times, it will feel like being boiled in oil. Because it's not just "them" who needs to change. It's "us," too.
I am my brothers and sisters keeper. Your pain is my pain and I hope my pain is your pain too to build an intersectional movement that will take us beyond DADT. Slowly but surely the trajectory of the country wants DADT to end and this President will end it on his watch. Let's GET OUT THE VOTE! PS: Bolds in quotes are diarists emphasis.

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