This is last night's closing segment -- full transcript posted here shortly. --RM
On the show tonight, we heard from three people whose American military careers are being ended because of Don't Ask, Don't Tell: U.S. Army Captain Jonathan Hopkins, U.S. Military Academy Cadet. Sgt. Katherine Miller and U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach. All of whom are having their careers ended, right now.
The $25 million that you and I, the taxpayers, have spent on Victor Fehrenbach's training as an F-15 fighter pilot is down the tubes.
The decade of investment that you and I paid for that built Jonathan J. Hopkins into a striker brigade combat team commander -- that's down the tubes. That's over.
The $350,000 investment that you and I made in building Cadet-Sergeant Katie Miller into a top-10-at-West-Point, Yale-caliber scholar who could also bench press you, if need be - that's down the tubes. All of that is over.
None of those three men and woman wants it to be over. They want to serve. But as we take our time winding down this policy that everyone says will be ending... as we shamble toward justice (maybe), we as a country are continuing to put the lives of these individuals through the meat grinder, every day.
Col. Fehrenbach has filed his lawsuit today because his legal team thinks his discharge orders are due at any minute. Capt. Hopkins was discharged this week. Cadet-Sergeant Miller's resignation was processed this week on the sole basis of the continued enforcement of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- the policy that everyone says it is going to end when they get around to it ...maybe early next year. Hey, what's the rush?
Why are we still kicking people out now, in the meantime, while we are waiting for the views of the Commander-in-Chief and the Defense Secretary and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff to be implemented?
If you are changing the policy soon, why not hold off the ruination of lives under the policy now, in the meantime? Why not do that? I'll tell you why. Because that would take some political capital. That would take some guts.
And liberals, according to this White House, ought to be drug tested if we're expecting to see that from this White House right now. Stop complaining and be happy for what you have.
Lieutenant Dan Choi, Colonel Fehrenbach and Captain Hopkins and Cadet Sergeant Miller are all expendable, because doing what it would take to save them would be hard for the White House. So go ahead and watch their careers destroyed, but stop complaining about it.
I talked at the top of the show tonight with Gail Collins about how one way to motivate your natural base for an election is to make your base afraid of what the other side has to offer. And that is true. That works. That works on both sides. It works for conservatives about liberals and it works for liberals about conservatives.
But one less soul-sucking way to motivate your base and to win an election and to keep winning elections and to, frankly, have history look kindly upon you, is to get your base to cheer for you -- not just to cheer against someone else, but to see you standing up, not just to bad guys with worse ideas than you, but to see you standing up for what is right because you know it is right, because we know you know it's right, even though you also know standing up for it is hard.
That is how you regain the enthusiasm of your base. That is how you win the respect of your base. That is how you win the respect of the country. And admit it: that is how you win your own self-respect, too.
If Don't Ask, Don't Tell is going to end, the president could stop enforcement of the policy pending that change. Why isn't he?