Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Don't Ask Don't Tell, The DREAM Act, The Defense Bill, and how we all got screwed

I'm fairly annoyed with the coverage of yesterday's Senate vote and so I decided to bullet point why I'm as annoyed as I am because I sincerely can't get over how bad the reporting around it is. I will state facts and then opinions because they are two very different things.

1) This was not the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" bill
Facts: The bill was a defense bill. It asked the country to spend $740 billion on the defense of our country. Now whether or not you agree with that money being spent on armed forces is a a whole other issue. Two things were tagged onto the bill last minute (this particular bill has been in the pipe for awhile).

Opinion: It is journalistic malpractice that this is not a part of the conversation. These two amendments were incredibly important and emotionally difficult to see voted down and they were not built into the original form of this bill. I find it absolute hypocrisy that military strength can be such a tenet of the Republican party and a bill meant to spend a large sum of money on that defense won't even be put to a vote. Not voting on this in war time is a dereliction of duty. I also find it hypocrisy that two weeks before a major bill these two very emotionally charged issues are tacked on to a bill. To be clear, I do believe they are a part of our defense. But they knew they didn't have the votes to pass these issues in one bundle and they were put up anyway. They put the hopes of a lot of people that they knew would ultimately be heartbroken. I'm not saying they aren't important issues to put up anyway, I do however think if there is a genuine interest in them, they aren't an after thought but a part of how a bill was crafted and these individual issues can also be put up for a vote. But you know, morale for voting is low and if you're looking to get the base out to vote for the 2010 election, this just may be a way to do it. Make of the choice what you will, but the opportunity to push these individual measures through has been there, and it has not been a priority.

2) The DREAM Act was a part of this bill... lest we forget
Facts: The majority of stories filed today are tagged as "Senate votes against DADT", which really neglects the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act was a measure that was previously sponsored by 11 Republican Senators. It says that kids brought here outside of their own will by their parents, can earn a path to residency by going to college and/or going to the military.

Opinion: If you have a group of kids that want to be educated and serve their country, turning them away because your constituency is voting on you in November and is out for blood, is nothing short of cruel. You have 11 senators that thought this was a good idea before. 11 people have not changed their minds, 11 people have abdicated their duty because they are afraid of losing their jobs.

3) The Senate did not vote down the bill. They didn't even let it come up for a vote.
Fact: The vote yesterday was not to pass or not pass the bill. The vote was to send it to the floor for debate and an official vote in front of the American people.

Opinion: They won't even TALK about it. Are you kidding me? It is one thing to say no. I don't agree with it, but I can't fault you. But to not allow for the measure to even come to a vote is cowardice. It is trying to circumvent the responsibilities you were put in the seats to do. And it allows you to hide.

That is all for now. Just wanted to make sure we had some context for it all. It's a lot juicier for juicier for journalist to keep mentioning Lady Gaga rather than actually talk about what we need to know to be an informed republic. On every side of the aisle, there are not a lot of people doing their jobs. And yet we wake up in the freest country in the entire world another day, with the opportunity to change our world to be that much freer. For that, I'll forever be grateful.