I have been trying desperately to condense the numbers of boxes of my old “stuff” into a tolerable amount. This has been no easy task, but it has been a trip down memory lane. One of the items I stumbled upon was a letter I received in August of 1993 from then President Bill Clinton.
I wish that President Clinton’s signature had been more than a nice looking signature stamp, but that’s what it was. President Clinton was responding to a letter I sent to him that expressed my outrage over his Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy regarding gays and lesbians serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. I voted for him, so I felt betrayed when he backed down on his original stance which had been that gays would be allowed to serve openly in the military. I stood up to say that treating a significant segment of the U.S. population like second class citizens was not ok, particularly when these were Americans who only wanted to serve their country honorably.
I still feel that way today, and though DADT looks to be fading into the sunset, it is no thanks to yet another President (Obama) who promised to allow gay military members to serve their country openly.
Now back to my 1993 letter from President Clinton. I thought I would share it so that you can read the logic President Clinton used in defense of DADT. He now says DADT was a mistake and that it should be changed to allow gays and lesbians in the military to be treated as equals. What a concept.
President Clinton’s Letter was dated August 19, 1993 and was typed on the White House Woven Linen stationary. Here is what the letter said:
“Dear Sherri, I appreciate hearing your views on my recent decision regarding homosexuals who wish to serve in the Armed Forces. Few issues in recent times have spurred the kind of debate that has occurred since the time I pledged to change our nation’s policy towards homosexuals in the military. I know that this is both a sensitive and emotional issue for many people.”
“I believe that those who want to serve their country, including men and women who are homosexuals, should be allowed to do so, providing they adhere to the high standards of conduct that are expected of military personnel. This policy strikes a sensible balance between the rights of individuals and the needs of our military to remain the world’s number one fighting force.”
“As President of all the American people, I am pledged to protect and to promote individual rights. As Commander in Chief, I am pledged to protect and advance our security. In adopting this new policy, I have done my best to meet both objectives.
Sincerely, Bill Clinton”
I believe that President Clinton’s heart was in the right place, and that he was under tremendous pressure at the time, but as he admits now, DADT was a mistake.
Source: Author’s opinion, letter from President Clinton