Saturday, December 18, 2010

Some welcome good news.

For lefties like me, the last few months have been pretty demoralizing. From the debut of our new Citizens' United-enabled right wing majority in the People's House of Congress, and the startling speed with which monstrous, corporate-backed interest groups were able to officially purchase our election process with obvious results on November 6th; to the politically inept and dangerous precedent set by the President's total capitulation to the GOoPers' insane, budget-busting obsession with tax cuts for millionaires, it's been a tough haul.

That's why news like this is a very welcome relief for progressives*, an overdue but welcome victory.
Senate votes to repeal ban on gays openly serving in military

"Washington (CNN) -- The military's prohibition of openly gay people serving within its ranks is one step closer to ending, after the Senate voted Saturday to repeal the armed forces' "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Eight Republicans and independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut joined the chamber's Democrats to back the legislation, which passed around 3 p.m. by a 65-31 margin. The bill needed a simple majority -- meaning support from 51 of the Senate's 100 members -- to pass. . . .

"Gay and lesbian service members -- brave Americans who enable our freedoms -- will no longer have to hide who they are," [President]Obama said in an e-mailed statement to supporters. "The fight for civil rights, a struggle that continues, will no longer include this one."

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, in a statement, that he'll "approach this process deliberately, (making changes) only after careful consultation with the military service chiefs and our combatant commanders."

Clifford Stanley, a retired Marine and the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, will "immediately proceed" to execute the Pentagon's plan, Gates said."

The end of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" puts a final nail into the coffin of the idea that one's sexual preference affects one's ability to not just serve the country, but to do any job, really. This is good news not just for boys who like boys and girls who like girls, but to anyone who has ever been discriminated against, for any reason. Although the media response to this Friday-evening news dump story (so far) hasn't fully picked up steam, I'm guessing that it'll be fun watching the response of the reactionaries wigging out, the self-righteous pricks. No doubt the heads of right-wingers will be exploding all across the airwaves on Monday. And that's always a fun thing.

For a fascinating look at the history of the movement that finally achieved this victory you can go here. I never thought I'd be thanking Senator Joseph "Sanctimonious Prick" Lieberman for anything ever again. But I will say that on this one, along with Former Rep. Ellen Tauscher, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reed, and President Obama, Lieberman was among the main backers of the repeal effort, so give credit where credit is due.

After all the disappointment of the last couple of months, this is something about which to genuinely cheer: a legitimate, and long-overdue victory for civil rights.

* You know, the compassion-for-fellow-your-fellow-human-beings people.

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