John McCain ‘n Me

Okay, well, to be accurate, John McCain’s staffer ‘n me. I was sitting around feeling disappointed that the Senate failed to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” wondering why we can’t manage to dump such a useless, discriminatory, un-American policy. So I picked up the phone and called John McCain.

That is, I called his Washington office. Whereupon I had a good five minute convo with a staffer. I explained that I’m not a constituent, but I’m a citizen and I’d like to know the reason Senator McCain is against repeal of DADT. At first the fellow said the Senator hasn’t taken a position for or against repeal. To which I said something like, “You’re telling me he hasn’t stated his opposition? Come on! Everybody knows he wants to keep the policy in place. And we all know, and he knows, that military leaders and the majority of American citizens, including military service personnel, favor repeal. So I don’t understand. Why is he against repeal?”

The staffer said something about how McCain had been waiting for reports from various quarters, and how he’d listened to those offered the other night by representatives from various branches of the military and, yes, more of them did favor repeal, but right now the Senator is going with the recommendation of the other guys. To which I said something like, “But why? What’s the problem? I’m not trying to give you a hard time,” I said. “I’m honestly asking what his reason is. I really want to know.”

The only answer was something along the lines of, “at this time, the Senator feels it’s not the right time.” Well, I could only say “but why?” so many times, so I asked the young man to give the Senator a message. (I think I heard a sigh of relief on the other end of the line, but I’m not sure.) Please tell the Senator, I said, that a citizen called and said that as long as he continues to stand against repeal, knowing the policy is discriminatory, and knowing how the majority of citizens feel about it, he should give us an honest, from-the-heart explanation; we deserve to have a clear public statement about the reason for his position on the issue.

There’s one more thing I want to say about this, and it’s the reason some of us get so furious when our elected leaders act like idiots. It’s because this is a country where an ordinary person has the right and the ability to call up an elected official and say, “Why are you doing what you’re doing? It makes no sense, and you owe the People an explanation.” That’s how it’s supposed to work. Those of us who live in countries where such rights exist are fortunate indeed. With that good fortune comes a responsibility. To speak up. To make noise. To demand transparency from our leaders. To urge them, always, to do better.

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6 Responses to John McCain ‘n Me

  1. Annie says:

    Andrea,
    You rock! Thank you for the reminder that Senators are People, too and that People can call their Senators! McCain sure is digging in his heels on this. Kind of like all that fiddle music while Rome was burning…

  2. EDS says:

    Well done!

  3. Helen Thomas-Williams says:

    BRAVO, Andrea!!!

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