Over the last week or so, there has been much discussion about the wisdom of appointing former Republican Senator Chuck as the new Secretary of Defense. Some of the discussions has been reasonable and thoughtful and some of the questions needed to be asked about his personal beliefs and positions.
In the LGBT community there has been much hand wringing and angst about his possible appointment. The Senator used horrible rhetoric around the appointment of James Hormel to be Ambassador to Luxembourg. In addition, he campaigned for election supporting DADT and DOMA. The Hormel situation was well over a decade and even some Democrats had problems with the appointment. Hagel has apologized and made clear he understood the harm of his remarks.
First of all, almost everybody was bad at some point or another on our issues including some of our openly LGBT representatives. Remember DADT was proposed by President Clinton and supported by Congressman Barney Frank back in 1993. Only 32 Senators in 1993 supported Senator Boxer's effort to remove the amendment from National Defense Authorization Approbation (NDAA). Only fourteen Senators supported stopping the entire NDAA to stop DADT.
Among those who voted for the final bill including DADT were Democrats including Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Tom Daschle, Senator Harry Reid, Senator Jay Rockefeller, Senator Herb Kohl, Senator Leahy, Senator Moynihan and many others. Haven't seen our community ask these Democrats to beat themselves with whips to prove their penitence. Of course not, they have changed and become our champions as we have convinced them of the righteousness of our cause..
Yes Hagel was wrong on DADT and DOMA but so was President Clinton and Ms. Clinton. His choice of language with Hormel was horrible. It is over a decade later. As Secretary of Defense his job will be to carry out the President's policies.
The purpose of a movement is to allow people to change their minds, apologize and join our ranks. It is not to stop them from office forever, punish them and not forgive. The fact of the matter is that we have embraced and forgiven people who did far worst things to the LGBT community then Hagel.
While personally I am not sure he would be my first choice for the position of Secretary of Defense, he isn't going to advise and serve me. President Obama believes he needs his talents, skills and wisdom to effectively govern. It could be a battle for his nomination and the President has supported us and he needs our support now.
Finally, with all the battles we have before us for marriage equality, ENDA and court cases. Do we really want to use our political power fighting this nomination? Really, isn't there a much better use of our time and resources then fighting a man who did what most Democrats did back then?