The MOVE act, which requires absentee ballots be mailed to military stationed or deployed overseas 45 days before the election, doesn’t seem to apply anymore. Seven states missed their deadline, and although New York was granted a 15 day extension, they are over a week late even to meet that deadline. Unless the ballots are mailed in time to be counted less than 13 days after Election Day, 50,000 troops from New York alone will be denied the opportunity to vote in arguably the most important election of their lifetimes.
The problem is so serious that the Department of Justice is considering a lawsuit against the New York Board of Elections. Yes, that same Department of Justice that admittedly only wants to prosecute “traditional” voter intimidation cases that involve minorities.
I suspect that our gay and lesbian servicemen overseas are likely far more concerned with whether they’ll get to choose their elected officials than whether they can openly choose a partner.
Somehow I doubt that this would happen if military tended to vote Democrat. Maybe if veteran advocacy groups pledged their undying love to the Democrats like gay rights groups do, we’d give them protected victim status, too.
Except that as of late, veterans groups have been showing the Democrats a lot of love. The VFW PAC (that’s “Veterans of Foreign Wars Political Action Committee” to civilians) has oddly endorsed Rep. Ron Klein over America’s favorite veteran: Lt. Col. Allen West. Klein votes with his liberal colleagues over 97% of the time—including votes denying troops the resources they need to win the war. He was endorsed over a man who in his own words, “would walk through Hell with a gas can in his hand” for his fellow soldiers.
Veterans choosing not to endorse a man like Lt. Col. Allen West—especially to endorse a far-left Democrat with no respect for the Constitution that our troops have sworn to uphold—is like if the NAACP had chosen to endorse Robert Byrd.
Klein wasn’t the VFW PAC’s only shameful act of self-loathing. They also endorsed Senator Ma’am, Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman, Harry Reid, Sheila Jackson Lee, Patty Murray, and a whole host of other radical, anti-military Democrats. So don’t worry, New York, you’re not the only ones who want to keep your boot on the neck of our troops.
They’re out there offering to die for our freedom in a war that Obama won’t even say exists, and we treat them like a bunch of 21st century sharecroppers. Our military does the dirty work, and yet we ignore the numerous Constitutional amendments designed to protect Americans’ equal right to vote. They’re not even getting 40 acres and a mule as a thank you.
The odd part of DADT receiving a higher priority from the justice system is that it was designed to allow and encourage gays to serve. Gay rights activists like the Log Cabin Republicans act as though enactment of DADT was a blow to their civil rights, but in actuality it was a prime example of Clinton’s ability to make a liberal decision appear to be a moderate compromise.
Prior to DADT, gays and lesbians were expressly forbidden to serve in the military. Clinton introduced Defense Directive 1304.26, which prohibited military recruiters from asking applicants about their sexual orientation (which is where the “Don’t Ask” portion comes from). The directive explicitly stated, “A person’s sexual orientation is considered a personal and private matter, and is not a bar to service entry”. Clinton’s decision gave a best-of-both-worlds option, offering gays a chance to serve their country, while avoiding the numerous logistical problems that could arise if they were openly gay. If anything, DADT was the best thing to ever happen to homosexuals who wanted to serve in the military.
All that the law requires is discretion. Contrary to what Obama said about the law “deny[ing] gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are”, I think the recent rash of suicides by bullied gay teens suggests that discretion works in their best interests.
What isn’t in the best interest of our military—or our country—is denying specific groups their right to vote. Whether the ballots are somehow mailed in time for our troops overseas to have their votes counted is of course immensely important, but even more important is the message that this quandary sends our men and women in uniform. It tells them they only matter when they can be used for hot-button issues, or the occasional “pretty good photo op”.
I guess when it comes to our military’s votes, our policy is “We’re not going to ask, and you won’t get a chance to tell.”