Baby Steps on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell


Jason Bellini at The Daily Beast reports that for the first time since the early ’90s, the Senate will hold formal hearings on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. After failing to secure 60 votes (remember: we live in a democracy) to filibuster-proof her bill to end DADT, Kirsten Gillibrand lobbied the Senate armed services committee, which agreed to hold hearings in the fall.

I see this as a baby step, albeit one in proper direction. I know the House fight to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, led by Pennsylvania’s Patrick Murphy, has momentum: It’s picking up about two sponsors a week, but still needs 54 representatives to sign on to ensure passage.

In other words, this looks like it will shape up to be a long slog. The slow pace isn’t frustrating per se; some issues require considerable thought and debate. But you would think in the United States our representatives would not have to think twice about purging blatant discrimination from the United States Code.

That’s the reason I find myself so frustrated with the speed at which Congress is tackling this issue. (Obviously this is tempered by the fact that we arguably have more important issues on the table—two wars going on during the worst recession in more than 50 years.) But I see it as a civil rights violation that no reasonable person could support. Why so many of our representatives can bloviate about the importance of a strong military while supporting a policy that summarily fires more than 800 able service men and women every year is even further beyond me—and reason.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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