Saturday, December 18, 2010

Yes, DADT Is Still the Law

Updated exact wording to be (slightly) less reactionary.

There's a big to-do on Tumblr right now because Don't Ask, Don't Tell has supposedly been repealed. It's in the usual rhetoric of the internet, where you've apparently got to be angry and aggressive about your opinion or no one will listen to you.

"Hey homophobes! 'Sup? You mad? Too bad, because DADT is going to be history as soon as Obama signs the law!"

This is incorrect.

The Senate voted to repeal it. It is still law.

Even the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is warning men and women in the military not to come out, because DADT is still in effect.

If any of those doing their insipid gloating on Tumblr (could we reframe this as, say, common sense and equality and a reminder that the US still has to fight to put in practice the beliefs it was supposedly founded on, instead of what's going on right now, which is this idiotic victory party against a hated rival parted in cartoonishly broad strokes) could be arsed to read almost anything being written about this, then they'd see that this is just the next step on the road and not, as those people are explicitly stating, the end of DADT.

In order to get the repeal into law, President Obama has to observe Robert Byrd's 90 day waiting period and then obtain a written certification signed by himself, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff saying that all three have considered the recommendations in the report, that the Department of Defense has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to put the repeal into practice, and that such implementation is consistent with the standards of the Armed Forces (i.e., it won't compromise military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting).

So there is no open service until the Pentagon says they're ready to implement open service. Actually, not until 60 days after that, since there's a mandatory waiting period on this.

So no, DADT is not gone. Eventually, it will be. It finally got through both houses of Congress. But the rest of the process will take as long as our military leaders want it to take. It would be nice if it didn't take long, but there's a lot of potential there for feet-dragging.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy about this. It's long past time for this abomination to slide into the sunset. You know it and I know it and a majority of the country knows it. I'm often slammed for not just shutting up and letting liberals be pleased with themselves. But I point all of this out both in response to the people I see all over the internet celebrating the end of something that has yet to end, and because I just have to verbalize that the job is not done yet. DADT has been repealed. But it's still law.

Don't stop the activism. Keep this in the public eye. Don't let anyone in the government--even the President himself--tell you to shut up because DADT has been repealed and we should be happy with that because it's good enough. Do not quit until we have full certification and a hard date for implementation. Never stop fighting until the fight is won. And though another hurdle has been crossed, the race isn't over.

In a world too often satisfied with lip service and half-measures, I just thought that needed to be said.


Dr. MVM said...

At the risk of pissing you off, DADT has actually been repealed. However, the repeal has not become law yet.

SamuraiFrog said...

Thanks; that's a far more accurate wording than what I wrote. This was just in reaction to a lot of the silliness I was seeing online last night, mostly from teenagers. My point was that it's still in effect, and will be for some time.

Daskaea said...

Hopefully you give SOME of us some a little credit to already be aware. (IE...ME) Most laws take a year or two to take effect. Most of the health care stuff isn't being implemented until 2012 or 2013. No newly enacted law is EVER instantaneously. Still it's the most powerful step taken and a GIANT victory. I feel like you meant the post to be a downer but I'm still overjoyous and elated.

SamuraiFrog said...

I really didn't mean for it to be a downer, just realistic. I think it's very important that the damn thing was repealed, it's just irritating to me how a lot of young people seem to not know how legislation actually works. It's the teacher in me.