Sunday, December 25, 2011

And Good Will to All

Merry Christmas, everybody, and happy New Year. One year ago this week the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was enacted, allowing gay and lesbian troops to serve in the US military without lying about who they are. The DADT compromise had been enacted in 1993 under Bill Clinton's presidency as an awkward way to allow service, and as social mores evolved it became a highly salient symbol of a kind of prejudice against gay people that our society has increasingly moved away from. More than thirteen thousand individuals were removed from service over the years simply because of their sexual orientation, and one year ago the Pentagon stopped firing them.

The effect has been ... absolutely nothing. Nothing has changed, except that gay and lesbian members of the military can stop pretending they are something they are not. No one is leering or groping in the showers, military recruiting has not suffered, no increase in hazing or bullying has been reported, no one has dropped out of the military because they were uncomfortable around gays. Nothing at all has happened.

NBC News had a report this week, transcribed on NewsBusters.

JIM MACEDA: Task Force Bulldog, on patrol in eastern Afghanistan. It's the kind of combat unit that would implode, critics warned, if Don't Ask, Don't tell were repealed. But the chaos they predicted if openly gay and lesbian soldiers served in close quarters during combat never happened.

STAFF SERGEANT CHRIS BOSTICK, U.S. ARMY: I don't think anything's really changed at all.

MACEDA: Staff Sergeant Chris BostiCk is on his third combat tour, a squad leader.

BOSTICK: Every single one of my soldiers knows that I'm gay, and they know who I am and what I stand for.

MACEDA: And how do his straight buddies see it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SOLDIER: If you want to fight for our country, I don't care what you do, you know, that's how it should be.

MACEDA: The repeal divided the military when a year ago President Obama lifted the ban on gays, lesbians and bisexuals serving openly. But now, soldiers from grunts to top brass - even U.S. Marines - have actively embraced the law. And so far, no reports of any incidents like hazing or gay bashing. Behind front lines at large bases like Bagram Airfield, groups of gays and lesbians now meet publically. A coffee hour unheard of only months ago.

Does it become easier to be a soldier?

SPECIALIST SPENCER ROUGIER, MILITARY POLICE: Definitely. Just knowing that you're not gonna be kicked out or have difficulties because of what you say.

MACEDA: 13,000 gays were discharged during Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and the old stigma runs deep. Half of this group of gays asked to conceal their identity, worried about reaction among peers. But hundreds, perhaps thousands of gay soldiers have recently posted their own coming out videos on YouTube, often to their own families.


MACEDA: This phone call home by airman Randy Phillips based in Germany to tell his parents he's gay went viral - more than five million hits. Erin Jones, a Navy Petty Officer, now tells anyone who asks that she's lesbian.

PETTY OFFICER ERIN JONES, U.S. NAVY: I always felt like a part of me died every time I had to say, like, oh, my boyfriend, oh, this guy I've been talking to when I didn't mean that.

MACEDA: Even commanders like Marine General James Amos, once against lifting the ban during wartime, now support it.

BOSTICK: I do find that I'm a little more proud of my unit and my country for taking this kind of a step.

MACEDA: Allowing soldiers - straight or gay - to excel as they always have in war, but now to do it freely. Jim Maceda, NBC News, Logar, Afghanistan.

ABC and NBC Celebrate Anniversary of Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal

And that's all there is to it. If you end discrimination against LGBT people, the result is simply increased equality and fairness, there is nothing more to it. None of the horrible things that the Family Blah Blah groups predicted have come to be, there is no "gay agenda" and no threat to straights when gay and lesbian people are open about who they are.

It is time to remove discrimination from our legal system at every level, local, state, federal. The federal government needs to move forward to repeal the absurd "Defense of Marriage Act," the state of Maryland needs to support marriage equality and pass a bill stopping discrimination against transgender people. The repeal of DADT shows what the consequences will be, the consequences will only be increased fair treatment of everyone. And that, to me, seems like an appropriate goal to wish for on Christmas day, a goal that moves us one step in the direction of peace on earth and good will toward all.


Anonymous Robert said...

Hooray for the U.S. military!

December 26, 2011 2:59 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

I concur, hooray for the U.S. military! Kudos to President Obama for seeing the repeal of DADT through.

And Robert, I offer you a small token of my appreciation for your decision to become a teacher. This is for you and all the teachers out there. Thank you for realizing the value of What Teachers Make

Merry Christmas!

December 27, 2011 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

The part about the little boy who told the bully to "leave the kid alone, I cry sometimes too" brought tears. Thanks Christine.

Merry Christmas

December 27, 2011 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hooray for the U.S. military!"

this now represents most of Robert's comments

Hooray for (fill-in-blank)

very insightful comment

"I concur, hooray for the U.S. military! Kudos to President Obama for seeing the repeal of DADT through."

that reminds me

we're getting a new President next year

"And Robert, I offer you a small token of my appreciation for your decision to become a teacher."

oh, we so dearly thank you

there are so few gay teachers to make sure they are sponsors gay groups in high schools, thanks for making a difference

"This is for you and all the teachers out there. Thank you for realizing the value of What Teachers Make"

when you factor in the exorbinant benefits and long vacation, teachers are waaaay overpaid and have used PR hype to convince the public otherwise

gig's up

in the next election, there will be extensive discussion about how this inequity is bankrupting our finest public educational institutions, like those in Berkeley, Ann Arbor and Charlottesville and exacerbating class inequity by closing down a door of opportunity to climb the ladder in America

"Merry Christmas!"

it is if you belong to NEA

"The part about the little boy who told the bully to "leave the kid alone, I cry sometimes too" brought tears."

oh brother

the biggest bullies in public schools are the teachers

fatcats who push their agenda on kids and don't tolerate dissent

they are unaccountable and unquestioned and that needs to change

December 27, 2011 1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What Teachers Make,
or Objection Overruled,
or If things don't work out, you can always go to law school

By Taylor Mali

He says the problem with teachers is, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"

He reminds the other dinner guests that it's true what they say about teachers: Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.

I decide to bite my tongue instead of his and resist the temptation to remind the other dinner guests that it's also true what they say about lawyers. Because we're eating, after all, and this is polite company.

"I mean, you┬╣re a teacher, Taylor," he says.
"Be honest. What do you make?"

And I wish he hadn't done that (asked me to be honest) because, you see, I have a policy about honesty and ass-kicking: if you ask for it, I have to let you have it.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor and an A- feel like a slap in the face. How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall in absolute silence.
No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won't I let you get a drink of water? Because you're not thirsty, you're bored, that's why.

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home: I hope I haven't called at a bad time, I just wanted to talk to you about something Billy said today. Billy said, "Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don't you?" And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are and what they can be.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful over and over and over again until they will never misspell either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math.
And hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you got this (brains) then you follow this (heart) and if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you give them this (the finger).

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true: I make a goddamn difference! What about you?"

December 27, 2011 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Boo for anonymous!


December 27, 2011 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert, your intelligent and imaginative streak of comments continue

boy, your students really hit the jackpot, didn't they

as for the "teacher" with the self-aggrandizing sense of importance above, you may have deluded yourself into thinking you're making a difference but most teachers show favoritism to a few favorites and limit the dreams of the rest, making it worse with their anti-parent attitudes, hindering those who have actually have an individual interest in them

the truth is you can never have that same level of commitment, nor is it appropriate

did you know that, in virtually any field, you look at the most successful individuals and they will virtually either be alumni of private schools, where the teachers make 75% what public school teachers do, or homeschooled by mothers who actually cared about them

public school teachers, along with other public employees, have brought our country to a disastrous financial state by unfair involvement in the political process for their own difference

yeah, you make a difference

you're screwing this country up and your time is growing short

we're on to you

December 27, 2011 9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How are those anonymous threatening sounding comments working for you?

RCP shows Obama's approval rating continues to grow as does his lead over every GOP candidate.

Sorry, Charlie, Obama's going to win, gays are still going to be allowed in the military and in our society whether you like it or not.

Your fear and hatred for people who are not the same as you are yours alone.

December 28, 2011 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half of the value of our 401Ks, took trillions in taxpayer funded bail outs, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes?

Yeah, me neither....but for some stupid reason, Anon does.

Pass it on.

December 28, 2011 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS crashed the stock market,"

this is very interesting

we were discussing how public employee unions have bankrupted America and no TTF has pulled in public broadcasting and a pro-murder group

should we assume then that public broadcasting and public education support the advance of abortion?

"wiped out half of the value of our 401Ks,"

well, that was their friend, Barney Frank, is leaving the sinking Democratic ship next year

but the deficits caused by excessive public employee unions has been a major contributing factor to our economic troubles and we won't recover unless they are defeated

"took trillions in taxpayer funded bail outs,"

at least the bailouts that Obama awarded Wall Street were one-time events

public employee unions will be robbing us into perpetuity

"spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico,"

last I heard, the Gulf was doing fine

"gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes?"

public employee unions love taxes

that means everyone gives up their hard-earned wages and sends it to, well, members of public employee unions

they generally make 25% more than comparable private sector employees

what a bonus!

what a racket!

"Yeah, me neither....but for some stupid reason, Anon does."

now you can't say that anymore

"Pass it on."

I will

it only takes a spark to get a fire going

December 30, 2011 7:12 AM  

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