As a follow-up to my previous post (and, indeed, as an extension of this post) I would like to recount a couple of meetings that I had with the Legislative Directors (LDs) of two of the congress-critters on the hill.
In one case, I met with the LD of my representative (Thaddeus McCotter), a Republican from the very conservative district in which we live. He was surprisingly knowledgeable about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and came out directly to say that he thought the law was not working and that it failed to be the compromise as it was sold to the American people. He stopped short of saying that his boss would actually support the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, but I left feeling like there was some hope for that possibility. Still, I've been on Capitol Hill enough times to know that these guys are politicians and I recognized that he could merely be paying lip service to the idea in front of a constituent.
On another occasion, I had the opportunity to meet with the LD of a Democratic representative in a purely social situation (just happenstance, no agenda except to drink and relax). As it was a conversation completely off the record, I won't even identify the representative except to say he was from a populous state with lots of Republicans in his district. This LD said to me there was no way his boss would support the repeal of DADT. He would never get re-elected if he did.
Aside from the fact that polls (both Gallup and Boston Globe in 1995) show 79% of Americans support the repeal (up from 57% in 1992 when DADT was introduced) let's grant him that assertion. He says it's better to have his boss -- who might only agree with us on 50-65% of the issues -- than a Republican who disagrees on 70-90% of the issues.
I guess I have to agree, in the end. It is the reality of politics. But, it continues to bother me that a person can look at the facts, decide what is right (you know, like NOT hurting actual people) and then choose to do the other thing because his constituents might have their feelings hurt and not vote for him. Thus, the only way we'll ever have justice for all in this society is if we actually convince a majority of the people that it is 1) justice (we seem to have convinced them, at least on this narrow issue) and 2) to act on it by contacting their representatives.
Either that, or we need a more activist judiciary who can see the failure of justice -- under both equal protection and due process grounds -- and overturn this hateful law.