Saturday, December 18, 2010

DADT repeal and the DREAM Act: .500 batting average is great in baseball...

...but it sucks in real life...

John McCain and Jon Kyl, Arizona's Senators, joined the Three Amigos (Congresscritters Flake, Franks, and Shadegg) on the "Lump of coal in their Christmas stockings" list today...not that they weren't already charter members of that not-so-distinguished group. :)

First, the good news: the Senate passed cloture on repeal of the military "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy toward gay and lesbian members of the U.S. armed forces.  The vote there was 63 in favor, 33 opposed.  The move basically sets an end to Senate debate on the measure and allows it to be brought up for a final vote (likely later today).  Passing cloture makes it seem likely that the measure will gain full approval because that will only require a simple majority (51 votes) not the 3/5 support (60 votes) that cloture requires.

Now, the bad news:  by a vote of 55- 41 (60 votes needed to pass), the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the DREAM Act, effectively killing the measure.  If passed, it would have created a path to "legal" immigrant status and possible citizenship for children brought to the U.S. by undocumented immigrants.  That path wouldn't have been an easy one, requiring many things, including attending college here or serving in the U.S. armed forces.  The nativist Rs, aided and abetted by five Democrats (Nelson of NE, Pryor of AR, Tester and Baucus of MT, and Hagan of NC) held sway today, however, turning their backs on the many hard-working and high-achieving residents of the U.S. who were brought to the United States through no choice of their own.

Three Rs did show some character, voting for decency over demagoguery.   Deepest thanks go out to Bennett of UT, Murkowski of AK, and Lugar of IN for their support.

Kyl and McCain showed a remarkable consistency - they were against both measures, voting to undercut members of the military who are honorably serving their country *and* to snub many of their own constituents who have done nothing but help make Arizona's (and America's) society more robust.

In baseball, consistency is good.  A batter who hits .290 every season has the same lifetime average as one who hits .240 and .340 in alternate years, yet the consistent player it considered the better player, one desired by almost every team.

In real life however, as written by Emerson in his essay Self Reliance, "consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

Emerson may have been writing nearly a century before McCain or Kyl was born, but it's almost as if he was watching them in action when he wrote his essay.

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