Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
has officially been is as good as repealed (once Obama signs it!) and the ban on LGB people openly serving in the military is over… yet I can’t bring myself to feel to happy about this.
What does it say about our country when we are more comfortable giving people the right to kill others than we are with giving them the right to marry the person they love?
What does it say about our country when the same people who are now protected from losing their job in the military, can still be fired from a civilian job in many states just for being who they are?
What does it say about our country when the same people who are not free to defend our country, are not being defended from bulling in schools?
What does it say about our country when those same people who we’ve just granted the right to fight and die in our military, could be shipped off to countries where queer people are executed just for being who they are? What does it say that the UN doesn’t seem to care about these killings? (Warning – this link contains an image depicting two Iranian teenagers moments before being hanged for suspicions that they were gay.)
Because they don’t, at least not anymore… sexual orientation used to be considered a protected class under a resolution that affirms UN’s duty to protect the right to life of all people, putting emphasis on investigating killings based on discriminatory grounds. Not anymore though, because just last month the West African nation of Benin proposed an amendment that would strike sexual minorities from this resolution, and the amendment passed with 79 votes (70 against, 17 abstentions, and 26 absent).
None of this sends a good message about America, or the rest of the world… I can tell you that much. In fact, most of this just makes me want to throw up or cry on a night that most of my friends are celebrating. The demise of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was an amazing step, don’t get me wrong, but the fact that this step is what came first breaks my heart just a little bit. Let’s prove that America values love and life more than we value death by fighting even harder for equal marriage
Not to mention, in another blow to Social Justice… The DREAM Act, which was passed by the House last week, came up five votes short of the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation in the Senate today. The DREAM Act would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants brought to the US as children, so long as they attend college or serve in the military for at least two years. This act would have provided hope to so many people though a path to citizenship, and a legitimate shot at the “American dream” but the Senate decided today that the dreams of these children, apparently, don’t deserve to be realized.
What kills me is that just after reading about the DREAM Act, I happened to spot a clip from this interview with John Boehner, on a rerun of the Soup of all places. During this interview he tears up while trying to explain why he can’t go to schools anymore. In his own words…
Boehner: I was talking, trying to talk about the fact that I’ve been chasing the American Dream my whole career. There’s some things that are very difficult to talk about. Family. Kids. I can’t go to a school anymore. I used to go to a lot of schools. And you see all these little kids running around. Can’t talk about it.
Boehner: Making sure that these kids have a shot at the American Dream, like I did. It’s important.
[You can watch this in the video here, skip to about 5:40 for this specific part.]
As you would expect, given this heartfelt performance, Bohner voted Nay on the DREAM Act. This all meshes together perfectly because clearly, only perfect little American-born children deserve this dream… wait, what? Seriously, how is it possible for some people to be so oblivious to their own hypocrisy? How can a man who is moved to tears by the thought of children being denied their shot at the “American Dream” not care at all about the children whose dreams he crushed with this vote? This man is going to be our Speaker of the House in January. He is going to be representing our country in a MAJOR capacity and yet, he can’t even stay true to his own “passionate” beliefs… how can we let assholes (there, I said it) like this speak for us?
I for one, refuse to let this go on.
So let’s celebrate the death of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but let’s keep this victory firmly in perspective. Let’s remember the many deaths that come out of our military and the continuation of these wars. Lets remember the many people who die daily in a different kind of war, the wars that are fought on our streets, in our homes, in our schools, in our offices; wars for survival, for acceptance, for hope. Lets stop the killing and the dying by pushing ourselves and those those around us to continue fighting, tooth and nail, for love, respect, and opportunity for all people because this one little step is honestly not good enough at all.