Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No Man's Land

To be a man in the modern age of humanity is to be subject to the same impulses, desires, and limitations as even our distant ancestors, save with one clear difference: we have the power to override the vagaries of our hormones and are encouraged to do so. Encouraged, but at the end of the day, sadly lacking in motivation or courage. It takes conviction to decide that the old patriarchal norms are no longer of substantive value, and that we must place our mantle of societal leadership upon the ground and allow all to have the opportunity to partake of it. We act as if it diminishes us somehow, instead of what it actually does, which is marking us as advanced and enlightened beings. To loose our grip on power that has been ours for so long is not a renunciation of all that we have accomplished, but only a broadening of the scope of possibilities that will make humanity stronger.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Who Will Stand With Me?

I return to you once more, Good Reader, and ask if you will do the courtesy of standing with me to a purpose: the end of the intolerable and inexcusable policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which denies our gay brothers and sisters their just due in defending a nation that they love, but does not seem to love them. The current session of Congress could be far from "lame," if it were to address the end of a piece of Clinton-era legislation that is a larger stain on his Presidency than that of a blue dress of some note.

While the court system grinds away at an inevitable overturn of DADT on the premise of its un-Constitutional nature, Congress can do away with it far more efficiently and effectively. It has been President Obama's fervent hope for a while now that Congress would act; Congress has responded by dithering and delaying, especially the Senate, where the inordinate power of Senator John McCain seems to hold sway over the process. What must happen now, is that pressure must be applied to where it will do the most good. It is not enough to enjoin those who would repeal it to do so, for that is preaching to the choir. Instead, we must raise our voices outside the windows of those who oppose repeal, and make them see that they do the nation a dishonor and disservice by continuing to back this shameful policy.

So, I ask you once again, friends and countrymen, to take pen in hand, or keyboard beneath finger tips, or grasp the nearest phone, and make your voice heard. Specifically, I want us to concentrate on the two greatest roadblocks to success: Senator John McCain, and his cohort Senator Lindsey Graham. These men could, with but a word, end the deadlock and allow DADT repeal legislation to pass in the Senate. They must, however, be shown that the majority of Americans want this integration of the military to take place.

Here are links to the contact form for each Senator:

Lindsey Graham, R-SC: http://lgraham.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.EmailSenatorGraham

John McCain, R-AZ: http://mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm

Please, write them or call them or use whatever medium you find easiest to use, and let them know that America will no longer stand for a military that is not reflective of its people, and that we demand LGBT individuals be given the same courtesy of being allowed to defend their country as any other citizen of our glorious nation.

Monday, November 22, 2010


What could possess a couple to decide that the decision to continue a pregnancy or not was best left in the hands of millions of people on the Internet? Whatever the reason, the decision reeks of moral turpitude; one would have to examine their competence to have and care for children in the first place, given this turn of events. It would seem however, when we would look past the first blush, that there is more to this than meets the eye. Pete Arnold – with or without the tacit consent of his wife Alisha – seems to be playing a trick on the world. His explanations are hollow, filled with bullet points that sound vaguely contrived, as if handed to them from somewhere else. The whole episode smacks of a desperate attempt to put the abortion debate back in the spotlight after a contentious election season.

Any political playing aside, what would possess anyone to do it, for any reason?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Must Come Next

It would be very easy to see the current conditions in Washington, D.C. as symptomatic of a general combativeness between Americans of different political persuasions. If you walk down any street, however, you would generally be hard-pressed to look at any number of people and determine that they are in conflict. People walk together, commute together, work together, recreate together, and in almost all cases, whatever political leanings they have are their business and no one else's, and besides the occasional T-shirt or bumper sticker or yard sign, we do not know where any American we choose stands on the issues of the day. We have various levels in every dimension imaginable, and it is hard to pigeon-hole an individual person as “that.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What We Do Now

To the victors, the spoils, and it is the victorious who write the history in the short term. In the long term, from the perspective of clear hindsight and a dash of imagination, the true story only reveals itself in fragments. The issues of the last decade in America -- and their repercussions -- are still as fresh as newly fallen snow; until the thaw comes, the truth of what happened and why will always be just a few irregular objects poking up through the snow. Eventually the reality will be exposed, bare soil and sere landscape etched with the tracks of a society struggling to find its way.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Do Ask, Do Tell

It is not often this commentator ask his audience to do more than read his words and perhaps take some meaning from them for yourselves, but at this time and place, I am imploring as many of you as read this to take an action, stand up for something which is right and proper, and perhaps change the course of history.
I speak of the execrable law known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," a Bill Clinton-era travesty that should never have been passed, or have been hammered down after it was first enacted, but instead was allowed to flourish, thereby depraving brave men and women of the armed forces, who happened to be gay, of their right as American citizens to defend their nation.

The Congress, specifically the Senate, has spent the better part of a year stalling action on the repeal, even after affirmations from the President, Secretary of Defense Gates, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Mullen. Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has consistently used his power and influence to derail all attempts at a fair hearing for the repeal of this unfathomable desecration of law. So, I am asking you, the people of America, to help him see the light, and push forward legislation to end this unwarranted and unnecessary law. You can use the following link to reach him: http://mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm. I urge you to take action, write Senator McCain, and tell him that he needs to end his pointless opposition to the repeal of this un-Constitutional law.

Below, is what I wrote to him:

Senator McCain: 
With all due respect to your years of service to this country, first in the armed forces and now with the Federal government, I am appalled at your stance of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." When all signs point to a nation and a military ready to move forward, as they did with allowing blacks, then women, to enter military service, you stand there with the unmitigated gall to block American citizens from their Constitutionally appointed right to defend the liberty of their country. I don't pretend to understand your motivation, though I suspect politics and self-interest play more of a role than I thought they would for a man of your stature. 
While I am not an Arizonan, I am an American, and while you do not represent me directly, you do represent the government of my nation, and while I cannot vouch for the veracity of the citizens of Arizona, I can say that for me, the idea that a decorated war veteran and legislator such as yourself cannot see the implications of his position, is audacity incarnate. You would strip rights from American citizens without so much as another thought, due to some unknown defect of thought which keeps you from seeing the clear light of day. Members of the LGBT community are people first, American citizens second, and anything else third. If they choose to serve their country and are prepared to sacrifice their lives for the freedom of those who would denigrate and repudiate them and their orientation, then I consider that the highest form of moral conduct, and that, more than anything, is what our country needs right now. 
I implore you -- bring legislation to the floor, attached to nothing, calling for the repeal of this barbarous and execrable act called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Do it for the good of the country, do it for the good of the armed services, but also do it because it is the right and decent thing to do.
Please, let us do what we must to right an injustice: write Senator McCain.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day Is For The Living

Many are wont to ask why there should be two national holidays celebrating the military: Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. Of course, this question is asked by those whose interest in either holiday is blasé at best, and are more than willing to accept a day off to shop.

Veteran's Day, formerly Armistice Day, celebrating the end of World War I, is a day when we remember those living veterans who embody the meaning in words such as duty, honor, loyalty, bravery, and sacrifice. These are the people who have fought the wars we read about in history books and see on the television and read about in newspapers. They are the ones who hold the line against those who would see our freedom diminished or our nation tarnished. They are the ones who defend those who cannot defend themselves, both in our country, and in countries around the world.

Agree or not with their mission, support or deny our nation's foreign policy, but do not ever consider that the brave men and women of our armed forces do not deserve our support and thanks. They are asked to do the toughest jobs known to our kind, and do them with the idea at the back of their minds that they might not live to see tomorrow. We must do all we can to support them, and to honor them, for their sacrifice is never a vain or empty one, given our continued freedom and liberty.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wayward Ones

Perhaps it is the thrill of power, the sense of control, that propels a bully toward wanton acts of violence and cruelty towards those who can not easily defend themselves. It is no doubt a reaction to a life at home where the rules and the constant nagging of parents about things a child deems “stupid” or “idiotic,” causes the child to feel powerless themselves. Maybe it is being exposed to unseen or untold brands of violence, unexplained and unmitigated, that make a child feel the need to duplicate what they have seen. You could ask, but very few bullies will ever come clean honestly about what drives them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The American Agenda

The most recent mid-term election leaves many of us bitter, our hearts filled with a rancor not easily assuaged. Not necessarily at the outcome, for the electorate -- or that part of it that chose to participate – spoke, and told the Democrats that their short reign was now over and gave the Republicans another chance to acquit themselves honorably. No, the outcome was not really in doubt; what remains in doubt, as it was before these events, is the sincerity of those elected, Republican and Democrat alike. For, far from being a repudiation of the Democratic agenda in Congress, it was mainly a repudiation of the political circus that was Washington, D.C. The voters had, at a stroke, forced both parties into a position where only compromise and cooperation was the key to further success. A divided Congress leaves no doubt – to get anything done will require talking.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Electoral Follies

One begins to wonder if anyone will ever understand politics, and by that, I don't mean the give and take of governance, the “you scratch my back I'll scratch yours” complexity, or the general desire to work toward a common goal through earnest debate and compromise. No, I speak of the knock-down, drag-out, mudslinging, partisan divide that has usurped useful politics, relegating it to dim memory and dusty textbook. We are not in the age of statesmen and diplomats; we instead see self-aggrandizers, boot-lickers, sycophants, and power-grabbers grappling for control of a nation, heedless of the cost to personal virtue, comportment, or American society. They are more eager to draw battle lines and unflattering comparisons than they are to take stock of America's situation and take the appropriate steps to keep the ship of state afloat. They are the crew of a sinking cruise ship arguing over who should get credit for saving the passengers, even though the lifeboats are all in place and a panicked mob stands around them, awaiting action.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What You Can Do For Your Country

When we think of service to the United States of America, we are perhaps lead to a vision of our citizen soldiers,defending our freedom here and overseas, or perhaps members of the Peace Corps, trying to spread knowledge and form relationships all over the world, or maybe even those who work for our government, monitoring land, sea, and sky, trying to predict the things that will affect and influence us for years to come. Invariably, though, we forget about the group that does this country its greatest service, or, in some cases, disservice.

I speak of We, the People.