You must, of course, imagine the music. Perhaps ruffles and flourishes to precede the actors: the statesmen, or “the lovers, liars and clowns!” as the opening chorus from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum put it.
Indeed, hand-wringing, wrist-to-forehead angst over gays in the military has been one of the longest running shows in Washington—a tragicomedy of epic proportions—ever since Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) was passed seventeen years ago. Ultimately, the stars in the cast most recently are the Republican senators who crossed party lines to do the right thing—for a change, literally. Senators Collins, Murkowski, Kirk, Brown, Snowe, Voinovich, and reluctantly Ensign and Burr are the glitterati of the moment.
Obama has proven to be a disappointment in the role of President. Unlike Truman, who integrated the military by Executive Order 9981 in 1948, thus summarily ending decades of racial segregation and second-class soldiering by African Americans, Obama chose to push for congressional repeal to end decades of anti-gay discrimination that stretch back in time long before Congress enshrined it in law with DADT. But, then, Obama’s been playing Stepin Fetchit to the Republicans for two years, a bit part when he should have been playing the lead.
The real stars of DADT haven't seen much limelight. They are the men and women who “told” and so got quietly robbed of their service careers, and the nation has been the poorer for the all-too-easy dismissal of their talents and dedication for nearly two decades.
Finale: Ta-da! Like magicians collectively whipping open the cabinet (or closet) door, Congress—applause, cheers, whistles!—at last has decided to allow gay men and lesbians to serve their country—as they always have, often with honor and distinction—now openly, without congressionally mandated lying about who they are and who they might or might not love or at least have sex with.
You have to admit that this show has had something for everyone: something familiar, something peculiar; something appealing, something appalling! Certainly appalling.