You know, I was talking with one of my straight friends about the president last night and he asked me why gays were so hostile to him. He rightly pointed out that this president is the first one to be so comfortable talking about gay issues, acknowledging emphatically that homosexuality is not a choice, and advocating for gay issues. I told him that a lot of people don't think that he is moving fast enough on gay rights issues and that all of his acknowledgement is just lip service.
However, that made me think back to all of the civics lessons that I had in school about how our government works and checks and balances. As far as DADT is concerned, it is on it's way out. I think that people forget that even though the justice department is a part of the executive branch of the government, it is designed to operate as an independent department. It is charged with defending the laws passed by congress as long as they are on the books. That is why you hear the President saying one thing and his justice department seemingly doing the opposite.
DADT is still the law of the land and the President can't simply ignore the law. Enforcement has been greatly restricted and the groundwork is being laid down to repeal it. In fact, the more court cases there are that rule against the law, the better the chance is that it goes away forever. If there is judicial precedent against it, no future congress will be able to reinstate it when the political tide turns. He is also working the legislative angle to get it repealed through legislation. Is this the fastest way to do this? No. Is it the most thorough? Absolutely. When this policy ends, it needs to be gone forever.
I am just as anxious as anyone else to get this law off the books and make more strides towards full equality.That being said, these things take time. The gay rights movement has progressed faster than any civil rights movement has in the history of this country. We just live in a culture of instant gratification and selfishness. Put things in perspective: under this president, the GLBT community has had unprecedented visibility, access and attention. (Let's not forget that it was Clinton who signed DADT into law in the first place.) Is it full equality? Of course not. Is it significant progress? Hell yes.
Some of us in the community act as if the only issue that the president has to deal with is LGBT equality and that he can somehow wave a magic wand and make everything perfect instantly. I know that this isn't popular to say, but I think keeping the country from falling into a depression is a little more pressing than pushing a plethora of gay rights issues right now. I'm not saying that we shouldn't keep our elected officials feet to the fire. However we should put some of this into perspective and start seeing the big picture.