I’ve been watching some of the Senate debate this morning on the DREAM Act (HR 5281) and on ending “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” So far, a clear pattern is emerging: Democrats almost unanimously are speaking out against discrimination, bigotry and intolerance; Republicans almost unanimously are either in favor of discrimination, or certainly not for ending it anytime soon. John McCain is typical of this attitude, claiming that ending the discriminatory, flawed, broken, counterproductive policy known as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” would somehow harm unit cohesion and our military’s war-fighting ability. In addition, McCain claims that we shouldn’t change this policy during wartime, conveniently ignoring the fact that we are likely to be at war against “terrorism” indefinitely, most likely for decades to come. Which, of course, means that we would never repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, at least for many years to come. See how that works?
As for the DREAM Act, there are so many lies being spread by its opponents – mostly Republicans – that it’s hard to know where to start. Fortunately, the Center for American Progress has done our work for us, demolishing the myths (aka, “lies”) put out by Republicans on this bill. In addition, I’d just point out that it’s incredibly foolish, politically speaking, for Republicans to alienate the fastest-growing voting bloc in America – Latinos. If the former “Party of Lincoln” really wants to turn itself into the party of intolerance, that’s their choice, but it’s an incredibly bad one.
In the end, both of these pieces of legislation are, in their own way, about the American dream – to go to college, to serve in the military, to work hard and make a great life in America, to pursue happiness, to be true to one’s core nature. The question today is simple: who is for the American Dream, and who is against it? Stay tuned for the voting, and don’t forget how each member answered that simple but crucial question.
UPDATE: Jim Webb and Mark Warner both voted “aye” on the DREAM Act, as did the vast majority of Democrats (Max Baucus, Kay Hagan, Jon Tester, Mark Pryor, and Ben Nelson voted no; we will not forget this!). However, with the vast majority of Republicans voting no (exceptions: Richard Lugar, Lisa Murkowski, Robert Bennett), the bill dies (55-41 to invoke cloture). A pathetic day for our country, and particularly for the Republican Party. Oh, and so much for Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and Scott Brown being “moderates.”
UPDATE #2: Now, on to the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” cloture vote. Warner and Webb both voted “aye” – I’m proud of our two U.S. Senators today, thank you! The vote is 63-33, and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” will shortly be toast!
UPDATE #3: In sum, we got one piece of terrible news today (failed cloture vote on the DREAM Act), one piece of great news (sayonara DADT!). With a few exceptions, Republicans have shown themselves to be the party of bigotry and intolerance. Also, with a few exceptions, Democrats have shown themselves to be the opposite. Do not forget this day come 2012!