DADT Repeal Passes, and the Frustrati Whine More

A great thing happened yesterday:  The Senate passed, 65-31, the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.  It will be signed next week by the President.    There’s been a lot of celebration, and yes, credit being given where it’s due.   Let’s be real, did anyone expect Joe Liebermann to be the lead sponsor on something like this?   It’s a major accomplishment, one that most people thought was dead not more than two weeks ago.     Yes, the President delivered on something he said he would deliver, and there is no doubt that he worked hard on it.  There is plenty credit to go around, and we should acknowledge the Congressional leadership – and even the Republicans – who made this happen.

As I pointed out yesterday in an article at Blue Wave News, the legislation does not “instantly” repeal the policy.  It sets forth a procedure and a time line for the military and the President to follow.    There will be problems, and Rob M over at CAAFLog (a military justice blog) has a good round-up of them.  The military will deal with the problems, but the policies and procedures have to be in place for it to deal with them.  That’s why there’s a procedure in the law, and it’s a good one.  Which, of course is why the frustrati waited 10 to 15 minutes to start whining about it.

Seriously.  Right after it passed, lo and behold, there goes Dan Choi running around screaming demands at the President.  In an article over at Huffington Post, he went:

President Obama, you are not off the hook. The compromise bill passed today puts the moral imperative squarely on your desk. Sign an executive order instituting a full non-discrimination policy throughout the military. If you do not, if you drag your feet and politicize this with your theoretical calculations as you have these past two years, you will be guilty of abetting those who loudly proclaim homophobia from their platforms and pulpits. Provide them no shelter or safe haven. Institute justice now.

Right.  Let me make my opinion of Dan Choi clear here.  He did one brave thing in coming out.  A combat veteran and West Point graduate, by coming out he made the point that gays have – and do – serve honorably in the military, and that DADT was a policy that was unfair.  He became a major advocate, and public face for the repeal.  All to the good.  What he did after that was where he “left the rails” in terms of the military.    As a member of the New York National Guard, he was recalled to active duty – and then proceeded to chain himself to the White House fence in uniform to protest DADT.  This went over well with the frustrati, the the reality was that the media ignored it entirely.  They were focused on something much more newsworthy at the time – the signing of the health care bill.  While it went over well with the frustrati, it went over like a lead balloon with the military and many veterans.  You see, one of the rules in the military is that you don’t wear your uniform for political purposes.  Period.   Which is why many of us had exactly the opposite reaction from what was expected.   My opinion?  He really didn’t want to be in the Army.  Now, the National Guard dismissed him, and yes, it was because he was gay.  But what most people don’t know that his being dismissed saved him from being court-martialed.  Really.  He was facing charges for his actions – not for being gay – and the only reason it was dropped was because the NY National Guard had booted him out.   In other words, the Army has all sorts of reasons not to want Lieutenant Choi back, and they have nothing to do with his being gay.

But he serves now as a typical example of the frustrati.  It’s never “good enough” for them.  They want it now, regardless of the legal and practical considerations.  Yesterday, a landmark bill was passed.  One that will go down in the history books as a major achievement of this Congress and this President.   Pragmatic people realize that this is the removal of a major barrier, but that does not mean that it’s suddenly “all better.”  No major legislation, no major policy change, has had “instant” implementation.  There’s a long, often painful process that occurs.  There is still resistance, there will still be problems, and whether we like it or not, plans and policies have to be drawn up to deal with that.  But the frustrati are never satisfied.  Well…

The frustrati just have to be angry.  What Dan Choi just demonstrated is that it doesn’t matter what this President does, it’ll never be good enough for them.  That’s why we need to keep pushing back, and delivering the message of sanity.  Because we recognize a big first step has been taken, but the journey is not complete, and it won’t happen with a single jump.

53 Comments

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53 responses to “DADT Repeal Passes, and the Frustrati Whine More

  1. Hachikō

    Good article, Norbrook. I share your frustrations with the frustrati.

    BTW, I didn’t know that Choi was gonna be court-martialed. Not doubting your info, but could you share your source? Thanks!

    • Wikipedia. He could have faced a number of charges – failure to obey a lawful order, conduct unbecoming and officer, and Article 88 – you’re not allowed to make derogatory comments about the President and other elected officials. I also changed the posting, since I’m not sure if it was the civilian case.

      • Hachikō

        Thanks, Norbrook. Learned something new today. BTW, guys like you were what attracted me to DailyKos. You were the true knowledge base and talent on that site. Too bad it’s gone to the rabid ideologues. I’m happy you, Ecletablog, BWD, etc. have your own blogs so I can still benefit from your knowledge and wisdom.

        Thanks again.

      • Hachikō

        Me again. Sorry to be a pain, but I just read Choi’s wikipedia page which you linked to in your reply, and I don’t see anything that supports this part of your article:
        “But what most people don’t know that his being dismissed saved him from being court-martialed. Really. He was facing charges for his actions – not for being gay – and the only reason it was dropped was because the NY National Guard had booted him out. In other words, the Army has all sorts of reasons not to want Lieutenant Choi back, and they have nothing to do with his being gay.”

        The wikipedia page said he was discharged for outing himself on Rachel’s show. Nothing about actions that would have gotten him court-martialed had he not been booted by the NY National Guard.

        Relevant portion here: “Choi served as an infantry officer in Iraq with the 10th Mountain Division[10] in 2006 and 2007. In June 2008, he transferred from active duty Army to the New York National Guard. Choi served as a National Guardsman with the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, based in Manhattan.[9]
        Choi received a discharge letter following his coming out on The Rachel Maddow Show.”

        Is there some other source that’ll provide some information on those charges he was facing before being booted?

        Thanks, Norbrook!

        • Look down the “arrests” section.

          • Hachikō

            So you were talking about his actions AFTER he came out on Rachel’s show. My bad. I thought you were referring to something he did prior which would have gotten him court-martialed or kicked out if he hadn’t outed himself. Sorry!

          • Yes. The coming out wasn’t what caused the legal problems. Chaining yourself – in uniform – to the White House fence and getting arrested for that does not go over well with the military. That’s what we call an understatement, by the way. :)

          • Hachikō

            Thanks for revising the article, Norbrook. What was there before was a little confusing. :-)

  2. Hachikō

    BTW, I think Dan Choi has some psychological issues. Maybe he’s bi-polar or something. Whatever it is, though, he should get some help. He played an important role in bringing about the end of an ugly discriminatory policy, and I’d hate to see him lose himself at this point. I say that because I just saw this tweet from him: “For the record, I’d like to give @BarackObama a hug… except the work for full repeal is only just beginning!”

    Also, remember he called Senator Reid a “pussy” who will “bleed once a month,” then yesterday, he tweeted to Reid, “I love you…now gimme my ring back!”

    • I think he lost himself a while back, right when he decided it was a good idea to chain himself to the White House fence. Now, I have much more respect for Major Witt, who did everything right, and has been re-instated into the Air Force by court order – and now, because of this, doesn’t have to worry about another court changing that. It’s worthwhile noting that her unit desperately wanted her back, while I’d be stretched to think of a unit in the Army that would want Choi back.

  3. See, you just brought up a very germane point, re: Choi and why he wasn’t readmitted into the Armed Forces. Does he think that they don’t who he was or what he did when he tried to re-enlist? So, of course they denied his application.

    Could it be that part of it is related to DADT? Certainly; because he’s already “T’d”, as it were. But do the other events play a role in that? I’d have to say that they do–it’s not all black-and-white, or related to one issue–and that the whole “politicking in uniform” part of that played more of a role of his not being re-admitted into the Armed Forces, than did his being gay.

    As to your point about the “frustrati” (good one); you’re right about them, too. They just love finding holes in an imperfect system/politician, and they will continue to find, and harp upon, those holes. That’s what they’re good at. But the more they do, the less credibility they’ll have in the long run.

    • I don’t want to get into psychiatric analysis, since I’m not a mental health professional, but he’s definitely angry and misguided. He bought into the mentality of- and has been egged on by- a very militant segment of the gay-rights community.

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention DADT Repeal Passes, and the Frustrati Whine More « Norbrook's Blog -- Topsy.com

  5. StarkyLuv

    I personally find Lt. Dan Choi annoying and a terrible spokesman for the LGBT.

    Which leads me to a point I’ve been making for years: Why do we instantly label anyone LGBT “good”? Like it’s impossible for a LGBT to be an asshole.

    Lt. Choi is an asshole, but because he opposed DADT he’s infallibly “good”?

    • Exactly. I have a great deal of respect for those who have opposed DADT, often at great personal cost, and worked to get it overturned by doing it the right way. I mentioned Major Witt as an example, and there are others. Dan Choi is a bomb-thrower, and yes, an asshole. He’s grown addicted to anger, and lashing out, and no, he’s wasn’t helping.

      I used him – and his reaction to the DADT repeal – as an example. The frustrati on the Left (and yes, the hard Right) are never satisfied, and they’re never going to be happy. No matter what good thing happens, they’re going to scream about how it could be “better” or that it’s “not fast enough.”

      • Chris Andersen

        I’m totally spacing on this right now, but he reminds me of the mother who did such a great job of holding Bush’s feet to the fire a few years back. She camped down the road from Crawford and made a daily request to meet Bush and ask him a simple question, “What was the cause for which my son died?”

        It was a simple message that most Americans could understand, coming from a very sympathetic figure (we love our gold star mothers).

        Unfortunately, I think her celebrity went to her head and she destroyed her usefulness by becoming and advocate for left-wing causes that had nothing to do with the Iraq war. I used to think she did this all on her own, but now I wonder if, in the process of become a figure of prominence on the left, she never learned how to say no to advocates of those causes.

        • Good point. The other thing, as I pointed out elsewhere, is that the spotlight is addictive. Let’s be realistic – for all intents and purposes, the goal that Dan Choi was supposedly advocating for has been reached. All that’s really left is the dull, boring “dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s” stuff, and ensure that the implementation of the new policy goes smoothly. Necessary work, but not really something that’s going to get publicity get advocates on television, or cause massive funds to come pouring in. That means the spotlight has moved elsewhere, and rather than accept that, it looks more like they’re trying to come up with some reason to stoke the outrage, to keep the spotlight on them.

        • You too, huh? Cindy Sheehan.

          Ah, I see you saw my post further down. Yes, whether it was celebrity ego-inflation or being led on, she made a sad caricature of herself.

          • TrumpDog

            Code Pink is another organization that I feel had a great message regarding the travesty of the war. However, their sometimes over-the-top actions diluted the message and turned people off by what they are saying. I think that’s what happened with Choi.
            I think it will be a hard fall for Choi after he’s been chewed up and spit out. At some point, the spotlight will no longer be on him and he will need to figure out what to do next.

    • Faith

      My brother was gay. My best friend is gay. Been around gay people my entire life. Gay people are people — surprise! They can be irrational, selfish, loving, giving, patriotic, unpatriotic. All the baggage that we all carry. I dearly long for the day when prejudices evaporate. Or when the waving of a magic wand will make it so. Unfortunately there is no human being alive who is going to live to see that Perfect Day. I for one, wept with joy at this major progressive step. I have no illusions that the process will take some time, but it will happen and I will weep with joy again. If we cannot come together on this, what will it take?

      • Well said. I have a number of gay friends and acquaintances. Some of the acquaintances are, to be honest, assholes, and it has nothing to do with their being gay. I don’t deny that there’s prejudice, that there are bad things that happen to people because of who they are. At the same time, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only reason – or even A reason someone doesn’t like you. Sometimes, it’s just because you’re an asshole. Yes, there are people who think that of me, and they’re probably right.

  6. majii

    I think that many of the frustrati have huge egos and feel that because they’re usually well educated, it gives them carte blanche to speak on any topic with authority and have others take their advice or follow their lead. It doesn’t matter if they’re not actual experts on the subject, it doesn’t matter that they’re not party to activities that go on behind the scenes , it doesn’t matter that they don’t know what the president knows about the subject, it doesn’t matter that they’re not members of Congress, etc. What seems to matter to them is getting their egos stroked by using emotions and harsh words to give the impression that they are really “doing” something that’s very, very, very important. IMO, it’s all BS, and that’s why I put as much distance between them and myself.

    • Generally, it starts when they do something they are qualified to speak on, and then it balloons. Choi is an excellent example (and I see janicket mentioning Sheehan) of things ballooning out of control. They received a lot of media attention early on, and praise from others, but eventually the attention and praise become ends to themselves.

      The statement Choi made in his HuffPo article just irritated the hell out of me. Look, LGBT’s just got a major legislative victory, something to celebrate, and what they’ve been working for for the past 20 years. So what does he do? Issues an ultimatum to the President, along with a veiled threat. Give me a break!

  7. Did anyone else read this excellent post and think of Cindy Sheehan? Of how the noble fighter against injustice role eventually devoured her?

    • Chris Andersen

      That’s the name i couldn’t remember.

      Cindy was a great spokesperson for the anti-war cause, until she let her celebrity get out of control. She thought she could/should use it for other purposes, not understanding that the power of a brand can be so easily diluted if it is spread to thin.

  8. This was a fantastic read, norbrook. Dan Choi has lost my respect. He has become just one more of the frustrati. I couldn’t believe that quote, but there it was, staring me in the face. As a veteran, you can say things that I can’t, and I’m glad you’re saying them.

    • Thanks, I do appreciate it. :) It’s not just about Choi, it’s that he serves now as a good example of the frustrati mentality. No matter what happens, how great the achievement, the reaction always is “not good enough!” or “Meh, you should have done that first.”

  9. Really enjoyed your post, norbrook, and the discussion that followed.

    I started a new blog yesterday – first time. norbrook, I used wordpress, and could use some help with the settings.

    I hope it is not too bad form to share with you all…today’s post relates an act of courage here in Tucson (not mine) and how do we take our personal caring values and make them political..

    http://revgerry.wordpress.com

    • Nice blog! I just visited and left you a comment on your wonderful post about the diners defying the “Let me see your papers” inquisitors.

      • thanks, janicket. I am still having to figure out how not to moderate every comment once I know someone is a welcome guest,

        • Under the “Settings” category, go to “Discussion.” There, you’ll be given the options for commenters. Change the “Before a comment appears” to “Must have a previously approved comment.” That way, you only have to approve the first comment they make, all the others will just go through automatically. You can still delete or unapprove a given comment if necessary. :)

    • It looks good, and by all means, feel free to ask questions. I’m still tinkering around with all of my settings, so take my help for what it’s worth. :P

    • Aquagranny911

      That’s a great story revgerry! I signed up for your blog. Will you be focusing on AZ a lot? There are so many things we need to be doing here.

  10. And the frustrati of the right are shaking in anger. I’ve read a couple of comments on another blog that had overtones of disgust and hatred that I can recall as a child in the way blacks were treated by racist whites in the South.

    Those kinds of people just make me ill.

    • I rather figured they would be up in arms. What’s interesting is that when I look around some of the military blogs – I linked to a letter in Stars & Stripes in the post – there’s some of the “if teh gayz are allowed in, it’ll be awful and I’m leaving!” sentiment, but for the most part the reaction to that is “hey, if you can’t deal with it, don’t let the door hit you.”

      • StarkyLuv

        I was in the Navy for 10 years. EVERYONE knew who the gay sailors were….and no one cared. I deployed on submarines (the most homophobic place in the military) with a ga sailor once, didn’t affect me or the few sailors that knew he was gay.

        The military is one of the few near-meritocracies in our world. I say near because it’s not perfect. You still have old boys clubs and bigots in the military. If a gay sailor can do the job, that’s what people care about. Gays have been in the military from the beginning.

        It’s not as if a sailor will suddenly show up to work in assless chaps or something. Military bearing will remain unchanged.

        • Exactly. The “fear” is that suddenly they will, to quote a commenter elsewhere, start “gaying it up.” God knows what that means. The reality is that military bearing and behavior will still be required and enforced.

  11. Aquagranny911

    Great diary, Norwood and I will share that I have active duty military in my family plus those who are no longer active. As a whole they despise Choi, not because he is gay but because of his behavior which they nearly all called “a disgrace to his uniform and to the oath he swore.”

    I rather feel sorry for him because I believe he has been used by the extremists and is also mentally unbalanced. I AM a retired mental health professional and certainly would not make a crack pot diagnosis with insufficient data but his continued behavior is not that of a completely rational mind.

    • Thank you. People who haven’t been in the military – and I guarantee you, most of the people who egged Dan Choi and his cohorts into that protest weren’t – don’t understand how visceral that is to those of us who were. You never, ever do something like that in uniform. It’s disgracing the uniform, a massive disrespect of it.

      I know many of the activists who were touting this arrest on Daily Kos were taken aback when instead of “oh, good on Dan” and other messages of support, all the veterans there went “that’s the stupidest damn thing he could have done,” and “that miserable jackass!” Instead of building support for him and the repeal of DADT in the veteran’s community, most of us wanted to see his ass out.

    • g

      My background is similar, and I don’t have a clue about Choi. What is clear to me is that he was used by the frustrati and that THEY are more immature than the kindergarteners I now work with. I’ve dealt with Kossacks for six years, and am privy to some behind the scenes stuff, and IMHO, they are seriously neurotic and all that hatred often has internal roots.
      In my new life in the classroom, I worked with a Gay former Marine. I asked him about all this. He said, it simply was not relevant to their missions, and they are all about their calling.

    • TrumpDog

      Remember in grade school where there would always be a crowd of people egging that one person to do something? And when the dust clears and that person is in trouble, the crowd has dispensed and moved on to other things?

      Choi is the one that was egged on, and his behavior got to be more extreme. The Frusterati is the group that is encouraging him and not thinking in the long term. In a way, I think he is being used. That, or noone is around advising him on how far is too far.
      I also think he views himself as some big celebrity since he has the attention of Majority Leader Reid. And he fancies himself to be in direct communication with the president.

      Like I said above, when this all dies down, Choi will be in for a rude awakening. Because people will move on to another big issue and he may be left behind.

  12. Bob

    Yet another well reasoned assessment of the reality that instant gratification and substantive, sustainable major policy change are mutually exclusive.

    The frustrati are doomed to their self-fulling persistent frustration because they have zero clue what it takes to achieve substantive, sustainable major policy changes.

    Thus, it is no surprise that a master of the substantive and the sustainable is someone they spend all day, every day screaming, moaning, whining, etc.

    And, it’ll only get worse for them because he simply has no time for that type of behavior, and neither do those of us striving to find as many ways to support his endeavors, and those of his Congressional colleagues.

    • Thank you. :D I agree they want instantaneous, and that doesn’t happen in the real world. One of the other things they don’t bother to look at is the actual process, and how it works.

  13. Nathan Katungi

    Thank you Norbrook for your sane and well reasoned post. There is really nothing you and I can do to convince Obama haters, like Lt. Choi, that this legislation would never have passed without the strong support of the President. You are also absolutely right about how long it takes to implement such a fundamental policy change. After all, it took almost twenty years, after Truman’s Executive Order, before the military embarked on genuine racial integration. Likewise, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954/1955 ” Brown v. Board of Education” was never implemented “with all deliberate Speed.” That is why twenty years later (1974/75) the courts required mandatory busing to achieve racial integration. Some of us who are over 60 years know fully well the ugly resistance to court mandated racial integration. By the way, the new hero of the “frusrati” progressives, LBJ, left office before schools were integrated, in spite of “Brown v. Board v. Board of Education,” or, the 1964 Civil Rights Act. I am just so sick of “revisionist historians” who have been beating on this good President who is trying his best to deal with the mess he inherited.

    • In real terms, the internal policy changes once the law is in place will happen very quickly. Never quickly enough for the frustrati, but blazingly fast compared to those other landmarks you mention. Will it be easy? No, there will still be difficulties, just as there are with all changes.

  14. magurakurin

    It is amazing how not happy certain places in Left Blogistan are about this. It’s downright bizarre actually.

    One thing I would like to add is that just about all of us were wrong about Lieberman and Obama was right. Once again proving he truly is the smartest person in the room and an individual with a genuine gift to be able to take the long view and remove his own personal feelings from his political decisions. I was surprised and more than a bit disappointed when Obama completely forgave Senator Lieberman for some really fucked up shit. Like campaigning for John McCain. But Obama was right. Lieberman proved to be a valuable individual.

    Also, the “Frustrati” were absolutely wrong about the process on DADT, all the way down to the selection of Gates as SOD. Gates turned out to be a key ally and force on this. The Frustrati also wailed about the Pentagon Report, also a key piece of the puzzle. They wanted blood when Obama’s DOJ stopped the court process against DADT. But it now seems obvious that there were clearly agreements in place between the WH and the DOD to let this go through Congress and keep it out of the courts. They hammered for Obama to sign an executive order, but again this was wrong.

    And now they are running their mouths about how this really isn’t that big of a deal, and it would have happened anyhow, and Obama didn’t have any skin in this game, blah, blah. It’s fucking pathological. Those people are sick. And the more prominent of them are dupes of the GOP and the major media that protects the status quo. The major media outlets are more than happy to hold them up as representatives of the American Left because their batshit craziness fulfills all the right wing fantasies of the evil leftist. They are the Naderites and Greens, spewing bullshit out the front and taking GOP donations up the rear. I have nothing but contempt for them. And they aren’t even deserving of that.

    • I think Gates is going to go down in history as one of the great Secretaries of Defense. I do remember the screams of outrage when the President made the announcement that he was going to continue in the slot, but yes, he was critical in this – and some other things. I don’t think we’d have had some of the Republican votes, for the bill itself or for cloture, if he hadn’t been such a strong ally of the President.

      It’s equally true that they missed, as they always do, the fundamental principle of why the DOJ fought in court. That’s what the DOJ is supposed to do. Defend the laws of the country in court. It doesn’t mean they agree with the law, they may not like it, but that’s their job.

      What they also kept ignoring was that, like it or not, the President’s hands were to a large extent tied by the fact that there was a law. While he had some executive capabilities to mitigate or not enforce it in this instance, the law was still there. What was very clear through the his statements, as well as the military service chiefs, was that it was far better to do this legislatively, than through the courts or by executive fiat.

  15. Nathan, they will never comprehend the level of distaste the left had for LBJ, they can’t imagine a world where women or people of color had no property rights, much less voting rights, or how hard the fight has been to win even the Lily Ledbetter Act for equal pay.

    You now, no one teaches actual (factual) US (or world) history in our schools, so it is easy to “fool most of the people most of the time.” And these days, we expect everything to happen within the half-hour, including commercial breaks.

    Maybe someone will put the actual facts of history into a video game Howard Zinn meets the Matrix.