Of course the thing that initially brought Mr. Hagel to my attention was his views on gay rights. Specifically, when his name was floated as a potential nominee for Defense secretary. Since he had made some anti-gay remarks in 1998, I couldn't help but wonder whether he still carried the same feelings regarding the LGBT community. He has since apologized, according to the Washington Post article, saying:
My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive. They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights. I am fully supportive of open service and committed to LGBT military families.Granted, we can all wonder whether he is sincere, but I see no reason to disbelieve him at this time. One of the things we ask people to do every day is to change their opinion about us. We ask them to see the LGBT community as human beings with the full range of human capabilities and feelings. I have to believe that it is not only possible, but probable that people can and will change their minds about us. If it weren't possible then there wouldn't be more than a handful of people that we could count as our allies outside of the community itself.
As for the other things that Mr. Hagel has done and stood for over his career, I find myself on the opposite side of him on most of them, but his positions are well reasoned enough for me to believe that he is a man capable of fulfilling the role of Defense secretary. Would I vote for him as an elected official? Probably not. We seem to be too far removed on many of his stances but I'm not having to make that decision on whether to vote for him to represent me. All I have do is accept that President Obama thinks he is the right man for the job. And as far as his service record is concerned, he seems to be sufficiently qualified.