January 11, 2013

Hagel Nomination: Much Ado About Nothing

Photo of Senator Chuck Hagel, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator John McCain and Log Cabin Republicans Logo


The LGBT community should accept and forgive the anti-gay rhetoric of the Chuck Hagel’s of the world, just as we’d do for a friend or a member of our family. That’s what fuels, and gives legs, to the LGBT equality  movement.

This week President Obama nominated former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican, to be the next Secretary of Defense. Hagel’s name was leaked to the press in December, and his former GOP colleagues in the US Senate, immediately went on the attack.

Right-wing extremist neo-con Senator Lindsey Graham said Hagel was “a controversial pick,” but failed to articulate an intelligible explanation to support his claim.

Senator John McCain campaigned for Hagel, and the Nebraska Senator endorsed McCain for President in 2000 (George W. Bush won the nomination),  and the two Vietnam war heroes were good friends. McCain stated that he has “serious concerns about positions Senator Hagel has taken on a range of critical national security issues in recent years.”

Even the LGBT Republican fringe group, the pesky Log Cabin Republicans (LCR),  got in on the “criticize Hagel” act, and took out a full page Washington Post newspaper ad opposing the nomination.

In 1998, Hagel made incendiary anti-gay remarks about the nomination of openly gay Ambassador James Hormel, to be the country’s top diplomat in Luxembourg. In a newspaper interview, the Senator said "they are representing our lifestyle, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be gay - openly, aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel - to do an effective job." Hagel also supported Don’t Ask - Don’t Tell, and the Defense of Marriage Act.

LCR endorsed the anti-gay Willard Mitt Romney for President, and the current leader of their sorority, Gregory T. Angelo, was a Newt Gingrich supporter. I don’t know how they can keep a straight face (no pun intended) when they voice their objections to the Hagel nomination. They continually support GOP candidates who promote bigotry, and make anti-gay remarks. How can anyone take LCR seriously? Or McCain and Graham? I think they’re all buffoons.

There will be some in the LGBT community who will continue to yell and scream about Hagel from both sides of the aisle. It would be much more constructive to put that energy into calls for LGBT employment discrimination protections, rather than a nomination for Defense Secretary.

The president worked hard to overturn Don’t Ask - Don’t Tell, and wanted legislation passed to ensure that the discriminatory policy was repealed. Whether Hagel likes it or not, he can’t undo the law. He serves the president, and the president wouldn’t appoint anyone who would discriminate or mistreat the large numbers of LGBT individuals serving in the military.

The president has gone to bat for our community many times, and I trust him. He wouldn’t jeopardize his record of accomplishments for LGBT Americans, and I know he doesn't want to alienate a constituency that was vital to his re-election efforts.

Aside from our “sexuality,” and minority status, LGBT people have a few things in common with each other. We have big hearts, we’re patient, and we’re forgiving.

We’ve all seen and heard gay slurs, we’ve been bullied, sometimes harassed, and for the most part we’ve endured it all.  We know people, or have had people in our lives, whose views about LGBT people were not acceptable or politically correct. We’ve seen change happen over time, and watched people close to us evolve.

People change, and we accept that, and we forgive. We need to accept and forgive Senator Hagel. We need to be able to point to the Chuck Hagel’s of the world, and say “see - people evolve and positive outcomes are possible.”

That’s how we build tolerance, encourage acceptance, and forge a community. If we can’t do that now, it negates everything we’re fighting for.   

The protests and verbal outbursts will soon die down, and I’m sure that  Hagel will be confirmed as the next Secretary of Defense, and he certainly has my support. Does he have yours?




straight talk in a queer world.      jiveinthe415.com              
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