Don't Ask, Don't Tell... Don't Blow It

With an impressive first 100 days under his belt, Obama appears to be a friend and ally. But we've been here before with "don't ask, don't tell" -- and Joan M. Garry says this time, we must win.



Unlike his predecessor, Barack Obama does not see himself as "the Decider." He is at heart a community organizer. And in these first 100 days, Americans have seen the tenets of community organizing in action. The president has reminded us time and again that we are all in this together, that each of us has a voice and a responsibility. He is also demonstrating that decision-making is a process.

In 1993, we saw what happens when the process is wrong. Nobody wins. Bill Clinton signed "don't ask, don't tell" into law that year, and since then over 13,000 gay and lesbian members of our armed services have lost. Lost their jobs, their careers, their dignity.

And so here we are, 16 years later. The gay community has a friend in the White House again and it looks like we are going to get another turn at bat.

We absolutely must win this time.

Now I am not a patient person when it comes to equality. I spent nearly a decade running a gay rights organization. I spent much of last year raising money for the Obama campaign because I am impatient. I needed to do what I could to ensure the election of someone I know stands with us.

Aubrey Sarvis, the executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, is impatient too. He illustrated his impatience last week with a full-page open letter to the president in a Capitol Hill publication, calling on him to incorporate the repeal of DADT into the Defense budget he brings to the Pentagon next week.

In his letter, he indicates that this is the "logical" opportunity to be done with it.

Logical? Not from where this fellow impatient activist sits.

Tags: Politics