Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Washington Nunn Sense and Workers' (Un)common Sense

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Washington Nunn Sense and Workers' (Un)common Sense

Article excerpt

There was something seamy, if not downright prurient, about Sen. Sam Nunn's Armed Services Committee prowling an attack submarine and baiting sailors about how they would feel taking showers with a homosexual. What is going on?

Gays in the military is an issue sensible nations came to terms with decades ago. Most European armies have an open policy and it has not affected their military effectiveness in the least. Look at the Israeli army, one of the most efficient fighting forces in the world, if you need a cogent example.

This should have been one of the easiest campaign promises for Bill Clinton to fulfill. It should have gone almost without saying and been behind us months ago, so we could get on to some of the issues, such as a crippled economy, that really do threaten the well-being of the nation.

There was talk last week of a "don't ask, don't tell" compromise, but that is the most rinky-dink nonsolution imaginable. It is time to get real, admit to what is and always has been, and move on.

So why is Nunn, a Georgia Democrat, belaboring the issue beyond belief? No doubt he has some personal motives, but envy, spite and political ambition are mean excuses for thwarting a president and fellow Democrat struggling to find his feet. It is enough to make a Republican filibuster against Clinton's much needed jobs package look almost noble.

Clinton was elected on a swell of hope. Now no one wants to pay the piper. His own tactical errors aside, Clinton is horn-to-horn with a system so bloated with special interests and so politically implacable that it will not move. …

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