Stephen Fry attempts to haunt you by tidying up your house. He lines up and alphabetizes your books, and will leave interesting and informative notes in the margins, because he knows everything. Might change the channel you’re watching from Keeping up with the Kardashians to something more cultured and relevant. Fluffs your towels. Might drink your tea, but you’ll only notice this because he washes his cup every time and leaves it on the drying-rack. All in all, actually a very pleasant presence to have around.
Basically, the deal he made with Secretary Gates and the Joint Chiefs is this: I’ll let you control the process, write the rules, and move things along at a deliberate pace. In return, you’ll promise not to publicly oppose repeal. The tradeoff is simple: DADT repeal will take a little longer, but it will end up having the support of the military leadership and will therefore be less contentious and more permanent. This is a win for both Obama and the military.
For better or worse, deals like this are just the way politics works. If Obama chose to drop the court case and let DADT be abruptly repealed before the military had its ducks in a row, the Pentagon leadership would probably take it as a personal betrayal by a commander-in-chief who had given his word on how this would all play out. That’s not something a president can afford.
So how in a row do the ducks have to be anyway?
In fairness to Obama, there’s a little bit more than that. (And yes, I added the quotes around “Fighting to Keep DADT”. Obama is “fighting to keep DADT” in the sense that:
Obama is the head of the executive branch.
The Justice Department is part of the executive branch.
The Justice Department is in charge of defending the laws of the U.S. when somebody challenges them.
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is one such challenged law.
Obama could probably have directed the Justice Department not to appeal the suit it recently lost without doing anything unprecedented—though it’s not the sort of string-pulling that should be done lightly.
But repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell isn’t the sort of thing that should be done thoughtlessly. Yes, it’s bad policy. Yes, it should be repealed. However, the repeal could go a lot more smoothly if it were coupled with programs to help certain portions of the military come to terms with the existence of people who are gay. The often hyper-masculinity of the military coupled with perceptions of what it means “to be a man” can lead to some bad stuff going down.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is on its way out. I’d give it a one in ten chance of making it out of 2010 without a definite end date. I understand that there’s a high cost in keeping Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell intact. But implementing the repeal in a way that allows support structures for those who will need them is not unreasonable foot-dragging.
A203 – Failcamp 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM Moderator: Amy Buckland, eScholarship, ePublishing & Digitization Coordinator, McGill University Library Krista Godfrey, Liaison Librarian, McMaster University Jan Dawson, Project Coordinator & Virtual Reference Librarian, Ask Ontario Knowledge Ontario Char Booth, E-Learning Librarian, University of California, Berkeley
This interactive session focuses on things that we’ve tried that have failed, and what we’ve learned from the experience. We don’t often discuss our failures in libraryland, and frequently end up repeating the mistakes of our neighbors. Godfrey and Buckland discuss Second Life failures in academic libraries, Dawson talks about the failures of VoIP, and Booth looks at her experiences of using video as a chat reference tool. Bring your stories and share so that our lessons-learned knowledgebase grows!
For more than 150 years, The Atlantic has celebrated the moral and intellectual bravery of leaders who espouse unpopular or controversial positions. In this special report, our second annual, we highlight men and women who embody this great tradition today.