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Davis, California

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Column: The political Debbie Downer

My disappointment in the government has put me in a worse mood than usual. It’s even going to leak into my weekly column. I just don’t feel like choosing between a myriad of issues to get angry about but ultimately be unable to resolve.

Case in point? Political expediency, as always, takes precedence over the implementation of justice. With President Obama’s announcement he will (finally) take on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, homophobic representatives are finding new ways to protest the inevitable march of human rights.

Representative John Boehner of Ohio was quoted in the New York Times saying, “In the middle of two wars and in the middle of this giant security threat, why would we want to get into this debate?”

The least naysayers can do is be honest about their homophobia. Wouldn’t talking about their fear of queer be more refreshing than political quibbling? But coming out and admitting the oppressive and discriminating predilections of the Republican party – and our political system in general – doesn’t fit in with President Bush’s lip-service about “compassionate conservatism.” It’s better just to lie.

I guess I should just get over my disappointment, though. Why should I expect anything better from Boehner and others like him when Obama, who pledged to update gay rights during his campaign, has waited more than a year into his term to vaguely-kinda-sorta promise to end DADT?

Sure, he’s said that discrimination against non-heterosexuals in the military is “just wrong,” but this hasn’t translated into any real policy. For all intents and purposes, his inaction puts him on par with Boehner.

Lucky columnist that I am, I never lack an example reaffirming our government’s marginalization of people by trying to control their bodies. This can occur in many different ways, one of which is the legislation of consensual sexuality.

The right rages about the Obama administration’s attempts to regulate everything and to expand our ever-expanding government, but they do not see the irony in their attempts at sexual discrimination. Big Government got you down? Make it bigger by micromanaging the sexuality of American citizens, why dontcha?

Although New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been reviving efforts to repeal DADT, who knows how long it will take before the final vestige of it is wiped away from policy. As it is, there will probably only be only minor changes for the near future. Sans time-table as we are, there could be only the smallest of steps forward. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is primarily concerned with the more offensive aspects of the legislation, such as those permitting members of the military to “report” on the sexuality of other members with impunity.

So, you know, write to your congressperson and think happy thoughts, because that’s pretty much all we can do for now. If even Lieutenant Daniel Choi, an intelligent, accomplished patriot, is having a hard time changing discriminatory policy towards the military LGBT community, I don’t know what I can possibly do.

Reach HALEY DAVIS at hrdavis@ucdavis.edu.


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