U.S. Sen. John McCain today kept an unfortunate promise to stand against equality and in favor of discrimination, proving he is devoted to the past and not a future where "squared away" gay and lesbian troops don't have to lie about themselves to carry out their work vital to our national security.
Despite declaring that he would follow the advice of senior military leaders when it came to repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," McCain threw a tantrum when Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen testified that it was time to let gay and lesbian soldiers serve openly.
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a serious national security issue. On Sept. 11, 2001, our country was hit by 19 Arabic-speaking terrorists. Since 1994, 59 Gay and Lesbian Arabic linguists have been dismissed from the armed services. Yet Arabic linguists with skills deemed "mission critical" have chronically been in short supply in the military, as well as in the intelligence services and the diplomatic corps.
McCain's bizarre reversal on this issue stands in stark contrast to public opinion, which shows more than 70 percent of Americans want to see the ban lifted. Clearly, the 28-year Beltway insider is living in a bygone era of bigotry and ignorance, before America began working to end discrimination. It is outrageous for McCain to impose his outdated views on a military mostly composed of soldiers, sailors and marines two generations younger than himself.
McCain's U.S. Senate challenger Rodney Glassman noted that pop star Lady Gaga is more in touch with the American people than the man who was the Republican candidate for president just two years ago.
"Lady Gaga may challenge convention in any number of ways, but she is closer to mainstream American values on this issue than John McCain and the woman he would have put a heartbeat from the presidency, Sarah Palin," Glassman said. "John McCain is a prejudiced relic of the past who is blatantly pandering to his conservative base. He would put his own views and his own career ahead of basic civil rights as enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. I will always stand for equality and opportunity, regardless of the shifting political winds."