For the first eighteen months of my dissertation research, I focused on the broad topic of my paper, the Olympian Athene and her role in men’s lives. Yet, I barely wrote a word of the project’s text. Not until I realized that I was “missing” a chapter in my initial outline did I find my focus.
As soon as I did the research for that chapter, I found myself writing it. It dawned on me that I needed to treat the endeavor not as one long paper, but as a series of shorter ones. In the subsequent six months, I have written four such papers, about 60% of the project’s text and in the next ten days expect to add another 15-20% to that tally.
The lesson was simple: divide up the project, focus on one piece at a time.
And that is how I would go about the various items on the agenda of the gay organizations, take an issue-by-issue approach, starting with the proverbial “low-hanging fruit,” those bills most easily enacted. The next item, as I’ve been arguing for at least six months, would thus be legislation repealing Don’t Act/Don’t Tell (DADT). We should pressing for repeal no matter what the Administrations says.
Unlike the Democrats’ health care overhaul, the more time the American people have to consider repeal of DADT, the more they move in the direction of the Administration’s position, or, perhaps, given Mr. Gibbs’ comments yesterday, I should say, the Administration’s ostensible position. With even a majority of conservatives favoring repeal, pushing repeal would seem to be a no-brainer.
As we consider Gibbs’ comments, let us ask if, in the wake of Obama’s election, the national gay organizations ever met as a group and/or with representatives of the then-incoming Administration to plot strategy, setting down issue priorities and time lines. From where I stand, it seems that given “Gay Inc’s” enthusiasm for the Democratic Party, the heads of those organizations just assumed that now the Republicans were out of power, the new powers that be would move swiftly on gay priorities. Guess they based that assumption on the Clinton Administration’s record of accomplishment.
Now, given the disastrous manner with which that Democratic Administration handled the issue of gays in the military, it made sense not to push repeal of the ban in the first months of Obama’s term. Yet, now they seem to keep pushing it back. And back. And back. And then further back.
In the wake of Gibbs’ statement yesterday, it’s time once again to test the mettle of the national gay organizations. Given all the money they have raised and all the cover they have provided for the Democratic Party, they should have some influence with its congressional leadership. They need to press them to move forward on DADT despite the White House’s recent indifference.
NB: I cleaned up some of the language in a few paragraphs where my meaning wasn’t clear — or clumsily expressed.