Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wise words from former Senator Edward Brooke

Former Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke was the first popularly elected African American to make it to the US Senate.  Here's an excerpt from his editorial in today's Boston Globe.

Regardless of its target, prejudice is always the same. It finds novel expressions and capitalizes on new fears. But prejudice is never new and never right. One thing binds all prejudices together: irrational fear. Decades ago, black service members were the objects of this fear. Many thought that integrating black and white soldiers would harm the military and society. Today, we see that segregation itself was the threat to our values. We know that laws that elevate one class of people over another run counter to America’s ideals. Yet due to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’’ the very people who sacrifice the most to defend our values are subject to such a law. We owe them far more.

I am not persuaded by the argument that service members are not “ready’’ for repeal of the policy. Not unlike racial segregation of the armed forces, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’’ lends unwarranted deference to prejudice. Now, as then, we should confront and eliminate discrimination rather than preserve a law that fosters it.

The Senate is expected to take up repeal of the law in July. If I were still in the Senate, I would vote to show my respect for the sacrifices of all soldiers — gay and straight. Congress should repeal this legislation and score another victory of progress over prejudice.

The Republican Party to which he belonged when he was elected is unrecognizable now.  It's too bad his fellow Republicans-- including Scott Brown, who has announced he will vote against the DADT repeal -- won't listen to him.

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