May 26, 2010
When I drew this cartoon last Sunday, my chief reservation was that its point really isn't whether U.S. Servicemen and women are free to attend gay pride events. (That service men and women are fighting in wars halfway around the world is a much more significant issue.) I used a gay pride event in the cartoon because they happen annually and would thus point out the passage of time during the Obama administration during which no perceptible movement has been made to end a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy requiring gays and lesbians in the military to lie about themselves or risk discharge from the service.
Drawing a cartoon lamenting political inaction on Sunday when no reader will see it until at least Thursday risks the possibility that there will be political action in the meantime. That may be the case here. On Monday, House Speaker Pelosi's office announced that a deal had been struck on a bill to remove the current legal requirements that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" continue. In Wednesday, President Obama answered a heckler by reiterating his commitment to ending the policy.
The legislation wouldn't actually put an end to the policy, but it would clear the way for the President and the Pentagon to do so if and when they see fit. We know that there is still resistance to change in the policy among Pentagon brass, however -- and, for that matter, on both sides of the aisle in Congress. The legislation is not a sure thing, and its effectiveness if passed could still be a long way off.
From that standpoint, the cartoon remains a propos: Maybe Next Year.
Meanwhile, if you do happen to see any active duty personnel enjoying your local gay pride festival, please thank them for their service to this country. And don't post their pictures on Facebook.