View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Nathan Imhoff: Obama should make decisions proudly, not politically

Posted: January 18, 2010 5:26 p.m.
Updated: January 19, 2010 4:55 a.m.
"A majority ... united by a common interest or a passion cannot be constrained from oppressing the minority, what remedy can be found?"
- James Madison

Let me begin by stating I am a firm supporter of equality for the gay, lesbian and transgender community. I am not homophobic and I voted "no" on Proposition 8.

Out of principle and love of liberty, I vote "no" on anything that starts with the phrase, "initiative to eliminate the right of..." I believe gay and transgender people have the same unalienable rights endowed by their Creator to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as heterosexuals, as well as the freedom to "sin" in the eyes of their fellow Americans.

I believe the passing of Proposition 8 was a prime example of what James Madison referred to in the Federalist Papers as the "tyranny of the majority."

Historically, when have Americans voted on whether a certain segment of the population should receive equal recognition? What if a populous vote was held to end slavery? Or segregation? Or women's equality? I dare say they wouldn't have passed.

These freedoms only exist today because principle-centered American leaders took a hard stand for our Constitution.

The Obama administration has taken criticism from all sides. One side claims he has a radical agenda. The other side claims he isn't implementing the changes he promised.

The gay community has been one of these voices of criticism, publicly stating its anger over President Barack Obama's delay on his campaign pledge to end the "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning openly gay people from serving in our military.

According to a 2007 New York Times article, the United States has dismissed 58 much-needed Arabic linguists and 11,000 regular service members since 1998. It is estimated the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" would add an additional 41,000 soldiers to our fighting force.

According to a 2005 report by the Government Accountability Office, it costs our military about $20,000 a head to discharge one gay individual. The report concluded the military spent about $190.5 million from 1994 to 2004 due to this policy.

With the military experiencing difficulty recruiting, it's opting to extend 12-month deployments to 15 months, extending the age limit to 42 and even enlisting felons. It just seems foolish to delay nullifying this policy much longer.

All that said, I must bring criticism to the Obama administration for its appointments of Kevin Jennings - the founder of Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) - to safe-school czar and, more recently, Amanda Simpson - a transgender individual and board member on the National Center for Transgender Equality - who appears to have been appointed as the senior technical adviser of the Department of Commerce.

I find nothing inherently wrong with a gay or transgender presidential appointee. I do, however, have some problems with Jennings and his group's involvement in what is commonly known as "fistgate" - the scandal involving a Massachusetts Department of Education employee at a GLSEN sex-education event explaining what the extreme act of "fisting" is and how it gets a bad rap.

This event was attended by approximately 200 teens, some as young as 12 to 14. I can think of no context where this subject matter is appropriate to talk to teenagers about.

I respect GLSEN's stated purpose and goals; I just question its methods. Just because a person is born gay does not mean his or her identity and self-esteem should be grounded in sexuality.

I believe GLSEN is over-emphasizing sex to young children, recommending sexually explicit books to kids as young as kindergarten age. This shows poor judgment on the part of Jennings as a leader in education who should know better.

The appointment of Jennings also makes me question the Obama administration's motives behind the appointment of Simpson.

Was Simpson the best person for this job, or was this another attempt to appease the gay, lesbian and transgender community?

Is the president just trying to put a transgender in his cabinet while passing up more-qualified heterosexual candidates? The Obama administration seemed to have quietly appointed Simpson to this position.

If President Obama is going to take a principled stand by putting the best-possible candidate in this position, who just happens to be transgender, then by all means do it proudly and don't play politics.

Thomas Paine said: "Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm and whose conscience approves his conduct will pursue his principles unto death."

Nathan Imhoff is a Newhall resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...