Bill Clinton Interrupted at Netroots Nation
Lane Hudson felt justified in interupting former President Bill Clinton’s remarks at Netroots Nation to scream questions about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and Defense of Marriage Act on the grounds that there was no Q&A session scheduled and he was therefore “being held as a captive audience.”
Julian Sanchez, also in attendance and quite sympathetic to Hudson’s views on both DADT and DOMA, demurs:
No, you spectacular dick, you were not being “held as a captive audience”; you were voluntarily attending a talk where the speaker had declined to allot time for questions. Believe it or not, there were probably one or two other people there with strong feelings about any number of other matters. Being what we call “grown ups,” however, they were not so convinced of their righteous specialness that they imagined themselves entitled to set the speaker’s agenda like some jackass fratboy screaming “Freebird” at the band. I realize it seems shocking that some of your fellow audience members were more concerned about norms of civility than your most-important-issue-evar, but the fact that everyone has one of those is why we have norms of civility. The only reason it was possible for you to be rewarded for your boorishness by getting your question addressed is that you had the good fortune to be surrounded by people who were housebroken.
Clinton does quite well handling the interruption and defending his position. And he’s right: In 1993, I was firmly against changing the policy on gays in the military and thought DADT was an outrageous concession to political correctness; now, I think it’s time to let gays serve openly. Ditto, gay marriage.
While my political philosophy has no doubt evolved over the past sixteen years, it’s mostly a matter of the culture having changed through learning. For Americans outside a handful of urban communities, gays were a theoretical construct or the object of jokes on television. Now, they’re a small but visible part of the culture and, aside from a fringe Queer Pride element that enjoys the attention that provocativeness brings, pretty damned normal.
Soldiers are drawn from the society-at-large if not quite a microcosm of it. The military culture naturally lags the broader culture because it’s self-selected and more traditional in its values. If the military leadership isn’t quite ready to end DADT, they soon will be.
And gay marriage will become normal, too, now that it’s taking place in several states. The idea that gays marrying each other is somehow a threat to the marriages of heterosexuals already seems silly. The resistance of the religious community will take longer to break down but it’ll happen. Probably in less time than the sixteen years since DADT threatened to end the Clinton administration before it got started.