It turns out that I was not the only person to receive what at first appeared to be pro-active outreach from Senator Jim Webb's office on DADT. It seems I was but one of several.
Other recipients included field consultants and organizers on DADT in Virginia and a staff member of a progressive military families advocacy group. One can only conclude that Webb is attempting to engage in some sort of PR offensive in the hope of distracting the LGBT community from the fact that Webb is needlessly supporting delay. I summarized my view to one other blogger this way:
I suspect that one worry that Webb and other Democrats have is the 2010 mid--terms. In Virginia Glenn Nye in the 2nd District (my district) is facing a tough challenge (probably from Ken Cuccinelli want to be Scott Rigell - although the primary is not until June 8th) as is the incumbent in the 5th Diistrict. If progressives and LGBT voters stay home, these seats are definitely likely to be lost. Passage of ENDA and the repaeal of DADT before November could make for a strong turn out of such voters. Further delay and folks - like my partner and myself - may stay home come election day. We have already stopped giving money. I believe Webb is reacting to this reality.
I certainly have no intention of allowing Webb to get away with this apparently calculated deception.
I hope others will recognize that we are being played yet again. From the comments left on my prior post, it looks like many are seeing through the ruse. One comment clearly notes that the writer believes that Webb is involved in a ploy to get us to support the Democrats in the mid-term elections. His response to Webb is basically as follows:
I tell them [Congressional Democrats] "It is better to have an enemy you know you have to fight against than a supposed friend who you don't know is either going to run away or might stab you in the back". It they don't fulfill their campaign promises from 2006 and 2008,then they aren't the right people for the job. Do not let losers hold you responsible for their own failure. I only give and vote for candidates who have done specific things to move our country forward.
The truth is that the whole "study" argument serves only to provide cover for those who want delay - which sadly, I believe includes our anything but "fierce advocate" Barack Obama.
More than enough studies have already been done and they all support ending DADT. Moreover, a significant majority of Americans now support repeal - including some 56% of Republicans. Therefore, why the cowardly, chicken shit approach by Congressional Democrats like Jim Webb?
Here are some more highlights from the Columbia study that looked at the experience of U.S. allies that have ended the ban on openly gay service members:
As part of the coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. soldiers have fought for years alongside troops from twenty-two of the approximately twenty-four countries that allow gay servicemembers to serve openly.201 This service includes both training and combat. General Gregory S. Newbold, a vice-president at the Potomac Institute, reports that U.S. and British forces "have trained together a great deal, so that relationship is a very easy one to carry into combat."
Importantly, no one has reported that the presence of openly gay and lesbian members of other countries' militaries has had a negative effect on the ability of U.S. troops to serve effectively.203 For example, referring to gay soldiers under his command, Glenn Truitt, a former submarine officer and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, said "[t]he homosexual men I knew in the military were much more professional about their sexuality than the heterosexuals, if only because they had to be" to gain full acceptance.204 The ability of U.S. soldiers to serve alongside openly gay and lesbian servicemembers from other countries in the Iraq war "demonstrates that the morale and cohesion of our forces is simply not affected by the presence of openly gay soldiers
The time for studies is over. Senator Webb needs to vote to repeal DADT this year. If not, he and other Congressional Democrats need to be ready to pay the price of gays shutting off the LGBT ATM and staying home in November. If that leads to electoral losses, Webb and those like him will have only themselves to blame.