On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh accused anyone who celebrated the repeal of DADT of hating the military. Limbaugh asked, “By the way, isn’t it revealing my friends, the same people who have only shown hatred and contempt for the US military are the ones celebrating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as a great historic accomplishment?”
Here is the audio from Media Matters:
Limbaugh said, “By the way, isn’t it revealing my friends, the same people who have only shown hatred and contempt for the US military are the ones celebrating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as a great historic accomplishment? So much irony in all of this, if we’re not going to call it the Pfc. Bradley Manning Act, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. What are we going to call it, gays in the military, show and tell?”
Here is a video portrait by Jo Ann Santangelo of gay and lesbian soldiers who were kicked out of the military under DADT. As you watch this, keep in mind that these are some of the people who are celebrating the repeal of the policy. These are also the faces of the people who Rush Limbaugh claimed hate the military.
The people in the video above hate the military so much that they are willing to do something that Rush Limbaugh isn’t. They were willing to risk their lives for their country. Gay and lesbian soldiers and the supporters of the repeal of DADT should never be compared to Bradley Manning, the solider currently facing charges in relation to the leaking of government secrets to Wikileaks. Rush Limbaugh is the betrayer of the freedoms that this country stands for, not the men and women who are willing to die for them.
Limbaugh’s comments are important because they highlight the fact that although DADT has been repealed, the forces of bigotry and hate remain strong. Limbaugh also gave us a preview of how socially conservative Republicans plan to use this issue in 2012. To the social and religious conservative, the repeal of DADT is an opportunity to revive the culture wars, and you can bet your bottom dollar that they will try to use gays in the military as both a wedge issue and a call of repeal of the repeal to activate their base and get them to the polls.
What Rush Limbaugh’s remarks also highlight is the generational divide on this issue. Limbaugh and his audience are old white America. These are the same people who blocked the repeal of DADT for almost two decades. They don’t understand that the world around them has changed. The attitude of the younger generation about homosexuality is different. To the vast majority of Americans, DADT didn’t make sense. To them, there is nothing dangerous or treasonous about allowing gay soldiers to serve.
People like Limbaugh and Sen. John McCain don’t hate America. They hate that America is changing. They think that they are fighting against gays in the military, but in reality they are engaged in a losing battle against change. Resistance to change has long been a tent pole of conservative thought. This is why Tea Partiers wanted “their country back,” and it is why Sarah Palin talks about the mythic “real America.”
The truth that these people refuse to accept is that “their country” is gone, and “Real America” never existed. Those buzzwords are a mere expression of the conservative desire to return to the past, but America has moved forward, and no amount of hate and intolerance discussed faux patriotism from the voice of Rush Limbaugh can defeat the inertia of progress.