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.
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.