Celebration Day

Today is a celebration day.  Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is officially over as a policy of the US Military.  In place since 1993, this discriminatory policy has caused untold havoc on soldiers and their families.  It has placed a horrible burden on our gay and lesbian soldiers.  The burden of silence and lies.  It has been an instrument of terror and dehumanization causing fear and fueling hatred that somehow gay people are less than non-gay people.

Good riddance to this antiquated bigoted policy.  The army of today is professional.  There are all kinds of people in the military. Let good people do their jobs.  When we are still fighting on so many fronts, Iraq, Afghanistan and even six months of NATO operations in Libya, this is not a time to reduce our ranks.  Instead we need all the able bodied and willing who can serve.

It is a noble thing to serve our country.  It is noble to protect and defend our Constitution and our freedoms around the world.

One shouldn’t have had to lie to serve.

And now with the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, our soldiers can speak the truth of who they are and get the much needed support of their families.  No more hiding.

Indeed a celebration Day

 

What can you do with 200 million dollars?

Read this report. The GAO reported that more the 193 million (yes MILLION) dollars to discharge over 3000 gays and lesbian from the military.  Can you believe it?  Qualified men and women dumped. Our armed services depleted in a time of war and almost 200 million dollars spent enforcing a terrible policy in a time of economic recession.   How many people could that much money feed?  How many homeless off the streets of America?  How many small business loans could have been made to help the economy?

Our priorities aren’t right.

So what would you do with 200 million dollars?

Training day

Even in the light of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell anti-gay videos shown aboard the USS Enterprise continue the culture of homophobia.   A Navy commander was featured in an anti-gay video shown to hundreds of sailors on board.

Changing culture will take more than signing legislation.

I hope Admiral Mullens understands that.  There needs to be real work to engage the senior leadership and officer command of the military in anti-harassment policies.  We know the military has had a horrible record dealing with women.  Let’s not make the same mistake around gays and lesbians.  From the top brass down if the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell is going to really take place then there must be professional protocols in dealing with women and with gays and lesbians in the military in an appropriate manner.  Corporations do this every day.

Let’s get with it in our military.Time for training.

Incompetence

Incompetence. There I said it.  The Democratic Senate leadership under Harry Reid is simply incompetent. And I am afraid President Obama’s staff and his inexperience continue to show.  The fiasco surrounding the squashing of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy is embarrassing.  For the first time in more than 50 years the Pentagon’s defense Authorization Bill won’t see the light of day.  And DADT is dead.  Especially as the Republicans take over the leadership of the House.

Their incompetence will cause more pain and suffering by forcing lgbt military personnel deeper into the closet.  Their incompetence lets homophobia reign.  As a rabbi my tradition teaches that all were created in the Divine Image, including gay men and lesbians.  And in this time of war many wish to serve their country without hiding who they are, or their family.

DADT is nothing but an antiquated vehicle for homo-hatred.

This is what we waste our time on instead of creating more jobs, more opportunity the Senate takes away jobs and opportunity.  The repeal of DADT would mean that more people could enlist and serve our nation.

Shame on you Senate.  Shame on you Sen. Reid. Shame on you President Obama.  Get some back bone.  And sign an executive order to repeal DADT.

As Capt. Picard of the United StarShip Enterprise would say: “Make it so”

Get it done-Repeal DADT

So time is running out.  The Senate is delaying the passage of the military authorization bill that contains the provision for repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  There are enough votes to repeal it. Including Republicans like Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts. But the Senate has really arcane rules that empower a single Senator to hold up vital legislation.

In our case of DADT it is Sen John McCain.  Curmudgeonly McCain.  Sore loser to President Obama and flip-flopper of giant proportions.  Even his wife is for gay marriage.  And took a NoH8 picture!  Sen Susan Collins of Maine will vote for it but is being made the one to try and negotiate a deal on behalf of Republicans.  Shame on you Susan. Do the right thing.

Sen. McCain take your homophobia back.   Be the maverick that you claim you are not a Negative NayBob!.  Lead don’t obfuscate.  Sen. McCain has evidently has little else to hold on to but his homophobia. His position isn’t rational.  Because he keeps trying to move the deadline, change the criteria needed for repeal.  McCain is holding our armed forces hostage to his homophobia.

Call.  Call every day. Put his number on Redial. Call his Arizona offices (602) 952-2410 . Call his Washington Offices  (202)224-2235.  Pummel his phone lines.  And those of the Republican Senatorial Leadership that are supporting this negativity tactic and running down the clock on this term.

Tuesday night Sen. Lieberman on AC 360  said to Anderson Cooper that this Congress should stay in session until just before Christmas and even return after Christmas to get this done.  I say yes!

Sen. Reid, it is time to get DADT repealed. Get it done.

DADT DEAD-Let’s play Taps

Oh my goodness. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the heinous military policy that dehumanized some of our country’s finest soldiers simply because they were gay men or lesbians is DEAD!  The Judge ordered an injunction that would stop the military from enforcing the policy.  This injunction came from Judge Virginia Phillips, the same judge that ruled DADT unconstitutional.  She even ordered in her ruling today that all cases that are in process must cease!.

This case was brought forward by Log Cabin Republicans. Their attorney Dan Woods still warned military members who are gay and lesbian to keep quiet.  It isn’t known if the Administration will appeal.

DADT is unjust, unfair, and UNAMERICAN.

The United States of America is fighting for liberty and justice for all around the world.  How on earth can we discriminate against our own?

Sexual Orientation is not the bar to service.  Our military men and women are professionals and professional behavior is to be demanded.  But that should include gay and lesbian service people. AND THERE IS NO GOOD REASON IT SHOULDN’T.

Brava to Judge Phillips for your courage.  And to our brave military men and women as well!

 

DADT and the Shame Game

Yesterday’s Senate debacle on the Defense Authorization bill was shameful.  The Democratic Leadership starting with Harry Reid and working its way back to President Obama sold out the LGBT community by once again saying they are committed to LGBT rights but not really working fully for LGBT inclusion.  My goodness they couldn’t get the votes.  The vote was 56-43. They needed 60 votes.  It is shameful.  And it is shameful further that the vote on an obscure Senate rule which wasn’t exactly on the bill but to bring the bill to a vote was even more shameful. The cowards way.

The message of the policy makers of this country is shame.  Because that is the message of DADT: That there is something inherently shameful in being gay. That is why you shouldn’t talk about it.  The message of the DADT policy is that being gay is somehow wrong.  And some of the senators spoke exactly to that. Jeff Sessions of Alabama even knowingly misquotes a 3 star general to reinforce his message of bigotry!

While others hid behind all manner of excuses. One of the biggest lies told yesterday in the Senate was that other amendments are never attached to the Defense Authorization Bill that have nothing to do with the military.  There were other amendments including one on immigration called the Dream Act that would try and keep undocumented parents and children born in the U.S.  together.  This was something the military itself favored because it would let the children of undocumented immigrants  born in the U.S. work toward legalizing their status even as they serve in the military.

The Republicans kept repeating that Amendments aren’t attached to Defense bill. This was just an out and out Republican lie.  I watched Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan recount Senate history of various amendments.  My friends the whole debacle was a shameful chapter in American Politics.

John McCain and his ilk will gloat they scored a big victory.  They did win a political battle yesterday. But they did not win the war.  Body bags and drape covered coffins are still coming home from around the world but especially the disaster of wars in Afghanistan and the occupation war of Iraq.  History will call the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy a shameful chapter in American history when the assessments are done.  Sure they are can die for this country as long as they lie about who they are.

But even worse the Republicans and four Democrats in their efforts to block gays and lesbians left the military budgets hanging in the wind.  No money for our troops to try and fight the wars we are in.  This isn’t about the military it is about John McCain’s election battle as it is for Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas, a Democratic  Senator in trouble at home and about to lose her seat.  Shame on both of them.

And the Democratic Leadership starting with the President are not leading.  It makes me sad when I know that soldiers like my friend, Lt. Dan Choi want to serve our country but this heinous policy has removed him and others from service.  Yesterday’s vote was a blow for the civil rights of gay and lesbian American citizens.  But it was a shameful blow to America and the ideals we stand for.   There is no shame in being gay or lesbian.  But today America is weaker in the world because of the vote in the Senate.