From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…
What a Difference 24 Years Makes
I’ll preface this with a HUGE disclaimer that the modern Republican party has gone off the rails and is taking sledgehammers to the foundation of our republic that’s supposed to be based on vigorous debate, compromise, and respect for basic facts, established procedures and public opinion. They’re a power-mad, thankfully-shrinking herd of orcs desperately trying to become our sole political party headed by a dictator and they’re in desperate need of a good clobbering.
Having said that, I admit I was pleasantly surprised by the speed and vigor with which many Republicans have defended the thousands of transgender patriots and heroes serving in our nation’s military from Five-Deferment-Donald’s vicious Wednesday surprise attack. Here are just three examples that shocked me. Just seven years ago, they voted against repealing the 1993 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that had kicked 13,000 gay and lesbian servicemembers out. (Hatch didn’t make the vote, but tweeted his opposition to repealing it.) If you remember those dark days when DADT was first enacted, these statements from three crusty old hardliners are pretty remarkable:
Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “People who are transgender don’t choose to be transgender. Why should we hold that against them? They’re human beings, and many of them are extremely elegant human beings. We should be open to everybody.”
John McCain (R-AZ): “The Department of Defense has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today. Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving. There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military—regardless of their gender identity. We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so—and should be treated as the patriots they are.”
Richard Shelby (R-AL): “You ought to treat everybody fairly and give everybody a chance to serve. … The current policy is a big tent for people who want to serve.”
There’s a shit-ton of work to do before transgender Americans achieve full equality in this country, where equality for all should be a freaking no-brainer. But it’s still nice to see cracks in the wall, especially if you remember how hysterical Republicans acted in ’93 over the DADT ban-in-all-but-name. Let’s just hope that when it comes to actually fighting Trump’s cruel and security-endangering political stunt, their deeds reflect their words.
Okay, time to head downstairs. Kiddie pool’s open and filled tonight with Mitch McConnell’s tears (and lots of extra chlorine). Your west coast-friendly edition of Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold… [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]