Friday, September 23, 2011

Repeal of Don't Ask/Dont' Tell

The weather turned back to high humidity and frequent showers these last few days.  Back to shorts while delivering my route.  Today was the last of the three week sample program which required me to deliver an additional 75 papers each morning to selected homes.  As a result I was rising at 2:27 AM rather than 2:57 AM.  It was certainly extra work but the additional income has come in handy also.  Unfortunately, a memo received this week from the ownership will result in less pay to deliver papers going forward.  As is true for so many Americans, it will result in an evaluation of the job in terms of pay to work, but will probably lead to the conclusion that a reduced income is better than none.  And so the race to the bottom (for middle class working Americans) continues.

A more important event of this past week was the official change to the military's policy of don't ask - don't tell (DADT) in reference to gender preference.  Congratulations to the president for leading this change, and for military leadership for realizing that it was time to join the rest of society in its regard to employing people with same sex gender preferences.  To be fair, I actually give our military leaders some credit in seeing this change through as there was/is enough resistance from various circles that would have given them an out to making the change. 

I may be wrong on this account, but I imagine that many of the current crop of Republican presidential candidates would not have endorsed this change.  Certainly the tea party/Christian right candidates such as Michelle Bachmann, Ron Santorum and Rick Perry would not be in favor of this change.  I am not sure about Mitt Romney; probably he would be against it during the current presidential nomination campaign and for it if he became the nominee.   I would like to think that the Libertarian candidate, Ron Paul, would come out (did I say that) for the change.  This is one of the areas where his candidacy makes for curious theatre when those in the tea party who endorse him begin to understand the full ramifications of what it means to be libertarian, what it means to say that one is for individual liberty.  As I have said before, the tea party seems much to focused on their rights to say and do anything they please, while providing a litany of actions and beliefs that others must not do or believe if seriously searching for a tea party endorsement. 

As an aside to this thought, I recently read that a local Catholic college, retracted its invitation for a speaking engagement after pressure was brought to bear by a strong (but I hope small faction) that was unhappy with the speaker's views on abortion.  I guess they are so insecure of their faith, and especially of those who attend their college, that they do not think it wise for someone with a different perspective to speak.   Too bad for everyone.

But to return to DADT.  It is also important to acknowledge the thousands of American soldiers who bravely defended the constitution while serving their country (and dying, in some cases) despite the fact that they were not being accorded the same protections under the constitution as those who promoted the discrimination against them.  I can't imagine a more frightful and revealing scene than those misguided church goers who protested last year with ugly hate signs at the funeral of an openly gay soldier.  A group clearly more interested in their own freedoms, a group allowed to exercise their freedoms in a way that completely disrespected the rights of someone who willingly gave his life to defend those freedoms.  Those brave men and women who served under the yoke of pretending to be something they were not are the best example of what America and the American experiment of individual freedom is about.

Finally, and even more importantly, we need to recognize the incredible strength and fortitude of those individuals who chose to serve and proclaim their sexual preference.  Those men and women who understood the real meaning of the Constitution, and whose love for their country and respect for that great document drove them to fight against the unfairness of DADT.  Just imagine, please, the difficulty one must face when his/her patriotism, nay, their very right to live free in America, is questioned based on an activity that, if denied anyone practicing the heterosexual version, would generate immediate outcries among all factions of society.  (Should I mention here the fact that anal sex is practiced by upwards of 20% of heterosexual couples?)  No, perhaps it best I don't mention that. 

We rightfully admire the civil rights activists who helped push America into a more racially neutral nation.  We recently unveiled a monument in Washington honoring the recognized leader of that movement.  In this case, there will probably not be a monument to any one particular person who embodied the drive to repeal DADT.  Perhaps it is better that way, but only if we come to realize that the individuals behind this change are our neighbors, nephews, and nieces.  People we know, and people we know of but haven't allowed ourselves to know. 

Congratulations to all those on the front lines of this change, and to the countless men and women who have made this change happen precisely because of their anonymity.  


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