Today, in an unusual Saturday session, the U.S. Senate abolished legally-sanctioned discrimination by the United States Armed Forces. Since the House has also voted to end it, the foolish “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is assigned to the dustbin of history, along with the racially segregated Armed Forces, the belief that black men would be cowardly and unfit soldiers and the insistence that women could not fly combat aircraft.
The overwhelming vote, 65-31, came despite the statements of Marine Commandant James Amos, who insisted that a non-discriminatory Marine Corps will mean more dead U.S. Marines on the battlefield. That’s sheer and utter nonsense, more a testiment to his prejudices than to any evidence that gay Marines do not serve with courage and honor.
One of the more interesting and intellectually honest arguments that separates conservatives and liberals is over whether love of country must be unconditional. Many conservatives tend to argue that those of us who are constantly agitating to change the nation — to improve its policies, to perfect its justice, to broaden its opportunity — aren’t real patriots.
I could not disagree more. I love my country so much that I’ll do what I can to ensure that it lives up to its ideals. Today, the U.S. Senate brought it one step closer to those ideals.