Tag Archives: courage

It is not the wind

It is not the wind.

The house shudders. A cold front is moving across the Midwest. Tiny snow crystals blown by high winds have returned. I hear a wail as it comes down the street, the cold drafts seeping through the walls.

But it is not the wind that I hear and it is not the cold that chills me and frightens me.

It is not the wind that woke me. What I hear is the wail of a thousand children, a thousand thousand children and their parents for whom the safety net has just been removed, from whom hope has just been stolen

I am up in the middle of the night, shaking and in tears at what I fear is the end of the most promising presidency since my childhood. How sad that it seems that it was only our projection on the blank slate of Barack Obama – large shadows of finger puppets projected by a flashlight on a back yard sheet

The President has written himself into a straight jacket from which, I fear he will not be able to get free. His is not Houdini. How can he start a desperately needed jobs program and cut domestic spending? How can he pass the most needed health care reform without initial increases in costs even if they might ultimately result in savings? How can the economy be restored without stimulating small business and entrepreneurs? How can families survive without extensions of unemployment insurance, and food stamps and job training and . . . and . . .

We have waited a year for bold action. We should have known better. Bold action is more than rhetoric.

When I saw the headline in my email Monday night, “President Obama Rather Be Really Good One Term President – ABC News,” I knew another shoe would drop. It reminded me of all the Presidents who have boasted of doing the hard thing when it would have been easier to do what was popular – In each case they were doing what they thought would be popular instead of the right thing.

I pray that I am wrong, that it was only a nightmare and in the morning I will find I imagined it all or that somehow I am missing something and that Wednesday night he will make sense of it all and soar again.

But I fear it is not just the wind that keeps me awake tonight.

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Tiptoing around the edges of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is not humane

Tiptoing around the edges and tinkering with the details just won’t cut it any more. Yesterday Defense Secretary Robert Gates is reported to have said, the military might not have to expel someone whose sexual orientation was revealed by a third party out of vindictiveness or suspect motives. As an example he suggested that someone who was “jilted” by the gay service member might not be discharged.

“That’s the kind of thing we’re looking at to see if there’s at least a more humane way to apply the law until the law gets changed,” Gates said, according to a transcript released by the Pentagon.

Nonsense… Can you imagine the hearing? What would the evidence be? How is this human?. What difference does it make how the information is revealed?

The time has come to permit our military to be open about who they are. “Don’t ask” is a good idea – the answer is TMI. But not asking has to be coupled with a No Consequences policy no matter the source of the disclosure. Anything less is inhumane and continues the second class citizenship of gays in the military.

ROLL OF HONOR

Only 15 U.S. Senators had the courage to make a last ditch effort to hold up the FISA legislation. The list of those who voted against cloture included:

  • Joseph Biden, DE
  • Barbara Boxer, CA
  • Sherrod Brown, OH
  • Maria Cantwell, WA
  • Chris Dodd, CT
  • Dick Durbin, IL
  • Russ Feingold, WI
  • Tom Harkin, IA
  • John Kerry, MA
  • Frank Lautenberg, NJ
  • Patrick Leahy, VT
  • Robert Menendez, NJ
  • Bernie Sanders, VT
  • Chuck Schumer, NY
  • Ron Wyden, OR
  • Thank you, all.