Tuesday, October 19, 2010

pitfalls of democracy, part one

A federal judge has struck down the stupid "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the military, so for a potentially brief moment gays can serve openly in the Armed Forces. Unfortunately, though, the Obama Administration will probably appeal the ruling, the reason being that they would rather that "don't ask, don't tell" be eliminated by Congress and not by a judge: in other words, that the "people" (theoretically represented by Congress) make the decision and not the judicial system. And any gays that "came out" in the interim will be discharged.

There are several problems with the Administration's thinking. First, the "people" have not voted up to now to overturn the policy, and it's been in place for 17 years. Second, whether a group of people should have rights is not something to be decided by a majority and therefore subject to its prejudices -- this is why we HAVE a judicial system. Third, President Obama (whom I still support, of course) should stop trying to cater to the conservatives who will never vote for him anyway and consider his political base instead.

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