Sunday, August 13, 2006

Is Supporting the Repeal of DADT Political Suicide?

“When I was serving in Iraq, it made no difference to me what the sexual orientation of my comrades was. It certainly did not matter to me what the sexual orientation was of the men or women who helped save my life after my Black Hawk helicopter was shot down over Iraq,” Duckworth said in the statement, which her campaign acknowledges is correct. “Any qualified American who is willing to make that kind of sacrifice for our freedom should be free to do so.”

You would think from the sounds of the above statement that Tammy Duckworth, a Democratic candidate for Illinois’ traditionally Republican 6th District, where some voters might not support such a repeal, was taking a courageous and possibly risky stand on this issue, but you would be wrong. Sadly, after Tammy made the above statement she had to do a lot of backpedaling. According to the Duckworth camp:

Tammy has not expressed strong support for repealing don’t ask, don’t tell.

And backing Tammy further into a corner, her opponent, Republican state Sen. Peter Roskam, left no doubt about where he stands:

“My view is keep the current policy,” said Roskam, who backs don’t ask, don’t tell. “In knocking on 5,000 doors, it hasn’t come up.”

Roskam said the flap shows the contrast between his campaign and Duckworth’s.

“I’m talking about local traffic relief and flood control and relationship with local government and my opponent is weighing in on the national liberal social agenda,” he said.

Now what I want to know is this: why should this Mr. Roskam even have any credibility on this issue? Has he served in the military? Has he known the horrors of war firsthand or have all his battles been fought from the safety of a pew in his local megachurch?

I looked up Mr. Roskam’s biography on his Illinois General Assembly State Senate page and nowhere is it mentioned that Mr. Roskam has any military service:

Biography: Born in Glen Ellyn; Executive Director, Educational Assistance Ltd. 1987-1993; Illinois Family Institute - Leadership Award; Illinois State Crime Commission - Legislator of the Year; Chicago-Kent College of Law - 1989; University of Illinois, BA -1983; married (wife, Elizabeth), has four children.

In fact the only thing I see in his biography is a leadership award from the Illinois Family Institute, usually a telltale sign that we’ve got us another wingnut who feels it is his God-mandated duty to legislate our morals because we peons cannot be trusted to know what morality is unless it is spelled out and enshrined into a law written by a Chosen Few who have the only direct line to God.

Mr. Roskam, no offense but why should anyone put more weight in your opinion than Ms. Duckworth’s? Ms. Duckworth lost both her legs and very nearly her life in the Iraq war. And no Mr. Roskam, Ms. Duckworth is NOT weighing in on the national liberal social agenda, she is weighing in with personal experience from being in the military. You sir, are the one capitalizing on the national conservative social agenda. Shame on you for minimizing something she paid dearly to learn firsthand: that when you are laying there with both legs blown off, you are not worrying about the sexual orientation of the people valiantly trying to save your life. I think she earned the right to be respected for her opinion on gays in the military with her blood. You sir have not. From where I stand you seem to be standing on nothing but your homophobia and a misplaced sense of sanctimony. I do hope the good people in your district see right through you.

And to you Ms. Duckworth, stand up for your principles. If you believe that don't ask, don't tell should be repealed, then say it. You have more guts in your little pinky than most of these GOP bullies put together. I don't think you are giving the people of the 6th district enough credit. They will see that on this issue, you have the credibility, not him.

Hat tip to PageOneQ


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