In two separate senate votes, homosexuals appear to be on the verge of serving "openly" in the armed forces and the children of illegal aliens will not get their "pathway to citizenship".
At the end of the day, conservatives won one and lost one. And in the loss, I am not sure it will be all that much of a loss in the end.
Let's start with the ending of the compromise policy of "Don't ask, don't tell" regarding homosexuals serving in the United States armed forces.
The whole reportage on this is wrong, wrong, wrong.
The policy was never ratified by a sitting congress. It was a compromise when then President Clinton could not get a similar Democrat congressional makeup to make it a law that gays and lesbians could serve without being discharged for being homosexuals.
The Clinton administration and the Joint Chiefs of Staff came up with a way that gays and lesbians could serve, not be discharged over being such as long as they did not openly admit to being such.
It was a convoluted compromise that, as I noted, never faced an up or down vote in congress. Nor a presidential signature. The ultimate compromise and no elected official got their hands dirty.
So, this vote does not repeal the policy. But makes it law that homosexuals can serve in the armed forces and they do not have to lie about it. They can be openly gay and or lesbian.
In and of itself, I am ambivalent about whether it is a good, bad or non-consequential change.
I admire any one that wants to serve in the armed forces. They are protecting us from harm and defending our republican form of government.
But, will it lead to sexual tension in a foxhole as opponents fear? Possibly. But that road has already happened with the increasing role of women in the armed forces.
And, in reality I would rather have a gay man serve in combat over a woman.
Go ahead, call me a sexist or whatever ad hominen attack you wish. But that is how I feel.
At the end of the day, I do not think that this will weaken the armed forces. What will weaken the armed forces is political correctness in fighting wars. And that is the fault of elected officials and weak military leadership.
So, I think we can and should have an open mind about this law taking effect.
But, one last thing.
This is but a sop to the left-wing gay and lesbian activist groups. They latched on to this issue and I believe that the numbers of active homosexuals serving will not be large numbers. In the linked article, about 13,500 personnel have been dismissed from the armed forces since the 1993 compromise. That is less than 10% of armed forces personnel in any given year. And if the stats are to be believed, about 10% of the population is homosexual. So, I guess I am willing to see if this really is something we should be worked up about as conservatives.
But the second vote I believe is consequential for more Americans as the nightmare of the so-called DREAM act.
The so-called DREAM act was a backdoor attempt to grant amnesty to potentially millions of young people that are in the United States illegally.
The so-called DREAM act, full title Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, would create a mechanism for the children of illegal aliens a way to become citizens if they meet a certain slew of requirements.
In a nutshell, this is what the act would have done, per the Wikipedia entry:
This bill would provide certain illegal and deportable alien students who graduate from US high schools, who are of good moral character, arrived in the U.S. illegally as minors, and have been in the country continuously and illegally for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment, the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency if they complete two years in the military or two years at a four year institution of higher learning. The students would obtain temporary residency for a six year period. Within the six year period, a qualified student must have "acquired a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or [have] completed at least 2 years, in good standing, in a program for a bachelor's degree or higher degree in the United States," or have "served in the uniformed services for at least 2 years and, if discharged, [have] received an honorable discharge." Military enlistment contracts require an eight year commitment, with active duty commitments typically between four and six years, but as low as two years. "Any alien whose permanent resident status is terminated [according to the terms of the Act] shall return to the immigration status the alien had immediately prior to receiving conditional permanent resident status under this Act." 
If you look at this, while it sounds good, it is eerily similar to the so-called "comprehensive immigration reform" that was touted in the last congress while former President George W. Bush was in office.
The reality is that this is a test to see how the American public would react to having the children of illegal aliens getting a "pathway to citizenship" and expand it to all illegal aliens.
Well, if California is an example, it would lead to disaster.
For instance, these students can get in state tuition at California colleges and universities. Yet they are not even citizens. They get a higher education at a discount in comparison to American students from other states. Those students have to pay higher tuition because they are not citizens of the state of California. Yet, unlike the illegal alien students, they were born in the United States. They have to pay more to subsidize those that are here illegally and essentially taking advantage of the left-wing dominated California legislature, always looking for votes wherever they can.
Is it harsh to point out the reality of these students that, through no fault of their own, were brought to the United States illegally by their parents? Is it harsh to ask that these non-citizens leave the Untied States and go through becoming a citizen under the current laws?
Well, the senate correctly did not vote for this backdoor amnesty. It was an attempt to play on the sense of fairness and compassion of the American people. And it failed.
Real comprehensive immigration reform must take into account the time that illegal aliens are in the United States. If one has been here five years or less, they must leave and never have the chance to enter the United States. Period. If one has been here five to 10 years, they should at the very least be able to be guest workers. And then while being guest workers they should be able to try to become citizens. If one has been here 10 years plus, I do believe that they should be given an opportunity to become citizens of the United States. It would be a safe assumption that they are much more American any way than where ever they came from. And, to make that a reality, English must become the official language of the United States. Good immigration policy starts with the immigrants being able to speak one language. And that is English.
Backdoor amnesties and letting all illegal aliens stay in the United States will not work and does not take in to account those that came to this nation through proper channels.
So, overall in two consequential senate votes, conservatives defeated a really bad one, the so-called DREAM act, and lost, maybe, on homosexuals serving openly in the armed forces. Not bad for a Democrat-dominated lame-duck congress that thought they were going to ram through a lot of lousy legislation.
Now on to January.