Right now, I am watching The Rachel Maddow Show (no surprise there), and I am glad that Maddow has dedicated much of her show (it's still on) to the issue of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." I watched the interviews she conducted with two active duty officers in the Air Force, including one who is out to some of his fellow service members right now (I wonder if their unit cohesion has been irreparably compromised, and I wonder if any of that officer's colleagues who know of his sexuality are concerned about being checked out in the showers?). The officer who has a partner had a story that needs to be heard by so many who look at this issue in the abstract. He was concerned about what would happen to his partner, if something unfortunate happened while the officer was deployed. What he had to do was heart wrenching to hear.
If opponents to the ending of DADT think that it is easy for someone like me, a person related to veterans (grandfathers, father, younger brother, and cousins), to talk about the unfairness of this policy, then it is equally easy for those opponents, including straight service members, to dismiss the concerns of their gay, lesbian and bisexual fellow service members. I've heard that some of those discharged were simply looking for a way out of the military, an explanation that I considered tantamount to calling those folks cowards. But I cannot help but wonder about the people who didn't want to leave, the people who loved (and continue to love) their time in the military, and the people who continue to fight to remain in the military to this moment. It seems easy to ignore those individuals, since they don't fit in the "I'm looking for an easy way out" narrative.
I wish that the segments from Maddow's show tonight were already up on her site (I will add them later), because I think that her commentary regarding the manner in which the White House is handling this situation is spot on. Essentially, the White House is putting all of its eggs in the Senate basket, and it has not thought much beyond that strategy. That is the reality. The awkward approach that this White House has taken toward the more substantive GLBT issues continues to speak volumes, and it isn't pleasant listening.
UPDATE 10/14/10: Here are the clips from last night's show.