Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Observations from the Window 12.28

Last Thursday marked the 1 year anniversary of President Obama's signing of the bill ending “Don't ask, don't tell” (DADT) and was also the 3 month anniversary of its official end. The end of DADT didn't bring the collapse of the military or the end of society as predicted. All it seems to have done is make many people extremely happy and freed gay members of the military and their straight friends from the constant fear of discovery or accusation. All this at virtually no cost to anybody and actually saving hundreds of millions of dollars that had been wasted on investigations and prosecutions, waisted on spying on our own troops. The only question remaining is does it even matter anymore? The Rick Perrys of the world be damned, there is no going back to what was in essence legalized prejudice.

As it did with the equal rights for black Americans the military might possibly lead the way for the rest of society. We were told that the open serving of gays would weaken the military, lead to a mass exodus of others, and destroy western civilization. Now the same arguments are used to oppose equal rights for all gays and the lesson learned from the military can't be overlooked. Still if you think the fight will be easier now think of General Colin Powell who was an outspoken opponent to DADT's repeal even though he directly benefited from the courage of earlier leaders.

Between the end of DADT and the legalization of gay marriage in the state of New York 2011 was a historic year. With the coming Presidential election one can argue about what President Obama promised to do and what he has done. That argument should always be made in the context of the Congress he was forced to deal with. Even though there is so much yet to do what has been accomplished shouldn't be forgotten.

If you look through history you will see that generational shifts are rarely easy and this one has just begun. Still, for me, the photo at the beginning of this post says it all. That photo of Petty Officers Gaeta and Snell's kiss was the most popular one online for days after its release with hardly a bad comment to be heard. How could there be?

As Dan Savage remarked, "Wow, just wow. I love me some smart, articulate, photogenic lesbian sailors!"

Don't we all?

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