Why Obama Must Ignore The DADT Survey And Follow Truman’s Example Of Integrating Despite Objections
John Aravosis showed us all how flawed the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell survey was by accessing it as a non servicemember not once, not twice but three times, and now thanks to Think Progress and Rachel Maddow, the complete and utter ridiculousness has been exposed, and it’s all thanks to the body who has commissioned it, the Pentagon revealing to the Advocate that the reality is this survey of the troops on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal isn’t the first of it’s kind as so many of us thought. The exact same thing happened before the racial segregation of the military occurred.
Makes things a bit different now doesn’t it. I mean if they’ve done it before then the only reason they’d be doing it again was because it acted to be a useful exercise that really acted to shape Truman’s 1948 ruling to end segregation in the army right?
Well actually not so much. Truman did make the decision to desegregate the army in 1948, something that Rachel points out was “a very big deal” as it occurred 15 years before Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech and 16 years before the Civil Rights act was passed, but the findings of the survey would have done nothing to convince him that was the right move.
Why? Because as Think Progress discovered this survey (available below) overwhelming found that the white service members were not in anyway in favour or the policy. In November 1942 when the air force was asked if they wanted to be working and training alongside black service members they couldn’t have said more clearly that they didn’t. When asked in 1947 what they thought about the statement “There is nothing good about Jews” 86% of them agreed, and when asked again about eating and sleeping alongside black service members four out of five were certain they didn’t want to.
In other words what the majority in the military felt was in complete opposition to what Truman did. So why did he? Because as Maddow highlights the need to end segregation in the army was down to one thing only – the rights that every American has thanks to the Constitution. Rights that trump emotions, feelings, ignorance and survey results. The rights that should never be the subject of discussion and the rights that shouldn’t ever be put up to the vote.
And it’s exactly the same with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and gay marriage for that matter. The LGBT community don’t only deserve be treated as equals, it is our right to be, and that right should see Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repealed despite what anyone else thinks. As Maddow says every time you put the rights of a minority up for the vote they will be rejected. The results of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell survey are most likely going to have people in 30 years time horrified by just how homophobic the answers are. They’re also hopefully going to be raising the very same question that we are right now – why bother in the first place.
Truman, back in 1948, ruled that the army must be desegregated against the views of his service members despite what those in the military wanted. He came to the point when he knew rights trumped wants and the survey findings meant nothing. There are two lessons to be learnt from that. Obama has already failed on one by allowing a pointless survey costing millions of dollars to go ahead. To fail once is embarrassing, to fail twice is not something that Obama can afford to do.
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