Sunday, October 19, 2008

What Will Powell's Endorsement Mean for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and Military Families?

General Colin Powell, once considered a prime GOP candidate for the presidency, has endorsed Democratic Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 race for the White House. Saying that he felt his party had moved too far to the right, and citing the appointment of far right Supreme Court justices as a concern, Powell took what can only be described as a bold step in saying he will vote for the other side of the ballot on November 4.

In his interview with NBC's Tom Brokaw, however, Powell did not broach one subject where he could have a very significant impact: The repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members.

One year ago this month, Powell told a reporter that, "'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is still a discriminatory policy; it is prejudicial." And went on to say that, "It's now fourteen years later, the country has changed, and the day may well come when it will not be a problem any longer."

And when asked by reporter Walter Isaacson "do you think that day will come?," Powell responded that "I think sooner or later it will come," saying that military leaders are "not just a bunch of old generals who cannot see the future."

Now, General Powell has endorsed a candidate that has consistently said he favors repealing the law. And that begs the question: Is he now ready to say the day has arrived when lifting the ban makes good sense?

His answer to that question could have a far-reaching impact for military families, and for the Republican party, as well as the Democratic ticket.

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