Monday, October 12, 2009

When Obama Comes To Town

President Obama is scheduled to visit New Orleans this Thursday and he will be holding a town hall style meeting at the University of New Orleans. Attendees will be selected by the White House via lottery. I've already put in my request via the online request form. I'll know probably by tomorrow afternoon if my name is picked. If I get picked, I will most definitely attend and I will prepare only one question to ask of Obama. That question will not be about New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina, or Gulf Coast Recovery efforts. Instead, I would like to ask Obama the following question:

If you assumed the role of Commander-in-Chief of a military governed by a policy that excluded soldiers solely because they were black, would you wait for Congress to change the legislation governing this policy before addressing this discrimination? Or would you, as a matter of justice and basic human rights, and in your capacity as Commander-in-Chief, immediately end this discriminatory policy using whatever legal means at your disposal? If so, and if you believe that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a civil rights issue and is as indefensible and as reprehensible as discrimination on the basis of race, why would you not act immediately on this matter as well? I would like to know if you will call on Congress to put a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on your desk by the end of this year; and, if Congress fails to deliver on this mandate by year's end, whether you, as Commander-in-Chief and as a matter of justice, will exercise your authority through an executive order to end this discriminatory policy?
That's a pretty long interrelated series of questions. So, I'd probably boil it down specifically to the last one and leave it at that. This is one issue I see as an egregious violation of civil rights and one on which I am the most disappointed in Obama. I simply cannot understand his inaction on the subject. He stands to lose nothing and gain so much by such a simple action. As much as I'd want also to ask him something about his commitment to New Orleans's continued recovery, I'd have to pick the question of civil rights over Gulf Coast recovery every time.


vmm said...

I totally hope that you get to go. I also got in my request but not sure if I should go if I make the lottery (and will give you my tix if I do and you don't).

Please send a link to your blog entry to Andrew Sullivan. He's been on Obama's case about this all week and should be.

Julie P said...

Sigh - oh I so hope you win this lottery and get to ask your question. And it makes me smile to remember how impassioned and principled you are. I consider myself lucky to have had you as my teacher and as a friend.

andrew said...

I hope you win too. Should be great.
I voted for him, and I've been waiting for him to get his but in gear about that and a few other non-health care things.