Sunday, December 26, 2010

Random Thoughts As The Year Winds Down

As the year winds down, I realize I've blogged less.  The fact is, while there is plenty out there going on and while I have plenty to say, it's not exactly fresh and thought provoking.  It's more like whining since I don't have any solutions to put forth either.

Christmas was lovely.  We spent the day with friends, ate good food, and shared some nice gifts.

I've been following a lot of political news and my questions for the year are:

  • Why have people come to conflate freedom with lawlessness?  
  • Who is responsible for fundamentalists deciding that Christ was against bettering the lives of those who do without... the poor and disenfranchised?  Who decided that social justice doesn't matter?
  • How to we embrace civility and good manners toward each other in a climate when people are being told by some pundits to get in the faces of people who disagree with them to "shout them down?"  This is a nasty tactic meant to silence discussion and to keep people from finding common ground and common solutions.
  • Do you think we're approaching another civil war in the country?  I'm leaning toward "yes" for my own answer to that.   It worries me.  Its not a fight I want to be in.
I'm pleased that DADT was finally repealed.  Now I've been straight all my life, but gay issues got my attention early on when I served in the Air Force from 1974-1979.  It was an era when we literally had orders to report anyone we suspected or knew was gay to our COs. 

Back then a gay man or woman would either get a bad conduct or dishonorable discharge just because of their sexual orientation.  Because of the life-changing, negative consequences of such discharges, I deliberately chose, while still in basic training, that this was one order I would never obey.  While I served, I met and got to casually know a small handful of gay men & women who did end up being put out of the service and it saddened me.  The truth is that they were a whole lot more competent and talented at their jobs, winning awards & multiple commendations for their skills and service, whereas I was pretty much average in mine, didn't win any awards and only earned one commendation.

With the repeal of DADT, I hope these men and women can get their discharges upgraded to honorable.  They were honorable people then and were gravely misjudged and badly treated by their government and the military.  And I said so.  In the service, I said so even though I had to be discrete about discussing my concerns, keeping the conversation limited to those whom I knew had a progressive/liberal mindset. 

As a civilian, I said so to as many people as I could.   I didn't understand lots about sex preferences and all the things that go into it.  There was still a lot of discoveries waiting to be made in the areas gender and gender identity.  But as a kid who'd been an 'outsider' for very different reasons, I still "got it" that anti-gay bias was wrong and I exploited any opportunity I could to get that message out.  It was important, and it became even more personal when my brother Jay came out to me when he was 15.  A few years later, that message was even more personal when Jay joined the Army.  At least, in the 80s, when they discharged him for being gay, his discharge was a general, under honorable conditions, for the convenience of the service.  But it shouldn't have to have been that way.  Now, there will be a new generation of young men and women for whom it won't be.  I couldn't be more delighted.

So we have 2011 head of us in a few days.  I hope the New Year brings a lot of improvements to our lives since the last few years have been so damn tough.  I plan on doing a major housecleaning and selling off or giving away a lot of things I don't need or don't use anymore.  I want to lighten up that way.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays

Dear Readers,

This has been a hard year for us all to go through.  I suspect next year will also be challenging.

My holiday wishes for you are that you have plenty of love and laughter to comfort you; that you are able to do those extra things that let you take care of hearth and home, friends and family and prosper doing so, without facing any additional hardships.  I wish you good health.  I wish you strength and courage.  I wish you to receive generosity and to be able to give generously.  I wish you safety and peace of mind.

From my heart to yours.

Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year