The Associated Press reports that “Pentagon starts clock on lifting gay ban“. If I were offering advice to one of my writing students on this phrase, I’d say cut out the extra verbs here. How about revising the headline to read Pentagon “lifts” ban?
Of course, this is wishful thinking. The word choice by AP editors is deliberate and intended to indicate only the Pentagon’s plans for changing its policy on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Several years? How long does it take to repeal a ban on lesbians and gays serving in the military (particularly since lesbians and gays already rank among the military’s personnel)? Do we need years to figure out what’s already been proven by research–for example, that 73 percent of military personnel are comfortable with lesbians and gays?
President Obama offered a promise to repeal the government’s discriminatory practice in his State of the Union address. Rather than concrete details, however, Obama only included this passing reference:
We must continually renew this promise. My administration has a Civil Rights Division that is once again prosecuting civil rights violations and employment discrimination. (Applause.) We finally strengthened our laws to protect against crimes driven by hate. (Applause.) This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. (Applause.) It’s the right thing to do. (Applause.)
Again, gay and lesbian citizens must ask: When does our great champion of gay rights put some muscle behind his rhetoric? Is the issuing of an Executive Order to immediately stop the dismissal of gay and lesbian soldiers too much to ask? Should President Obama receive more than a C+ for his performance on gay issues?