One of my favorite Thomas Jefferson quotes is his assertion that “No nation is permitted to live in ignorance with impunity." I think of that often and recently, as discussions about an appeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy have come round again, I've been thinking about it a lot.
The House has already voted to repeal DADT. President Obama has said that he will sign the bill if the Senate will act. So repeal of this ridiculous policy feels amazingly close at hand. If only the Senate will act.
If only indeed. Earlier this year, the Senate failed to act; many of those who opposed repeal indicated that they preferred to wait until a Pentagon report on the policy came out. That report came out yesterday and it endorses a repeal. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs endorses a repeal. The Secretary of Defense - a Republican appointee - endorses repeal. It should be a done deal.
But it's not. The stupidity of excluding people from serving their nation in the military because of their sexual orientation is not lost on me. It's not lost on my ten year old son. It's not lost on a majority of Americans. But it is lost on a handful of Senators.
Soon enough, the Senate will be out of session. In January, a new Congress takes office. The new GOP-controlled House will not support repeal of DADT. This is our moment. It may be our last moment for a long time.
Call your Senator and urge him or her to support repeal of DADT. Do it now.