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An Expectation
of Equality

by Denny Meyer

Who does not remember that November night just two years ago, when it became clear that Barack Obama had been elected President?  The live TV images of people weeping tears of joy in Grants Park in Chicago were cathartic with Hope.  And a month and a half later the hope became truth as the nation watched, enthralled, the inauguration night moment when the new President and First Lady danced to Biance singing "At Last."  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-pzlZPRvx8, it still makes me cry like a baby).

What was it all about?  It was a national expectation of equality, at last, for everyone.  How long ago those moments now seem.  But, not everyone was happy.  There were those who seethed with a racial hatred and political anger that has not dimmed one bit since.  Every single effort at establishing equality was fought by them as if they were America's worst enemy.  They proclaimed that America does not want equality in health care, equality in marriage, equality for immigrants brought here as innocent children, equality for women and LGBT Americans, and more.  And to cut past all the bullshit, they didn't want equality for the President, most of all.

What the hell happened? Did we expect too much?  On that long ago night in November 2008, we Americans puffed out our chests in pride, at having done the right thing, finally, at last.  And then it was all snatched away, day by day for two years of disappointment.  And this November 2010 the mid term election seemed to have nailed the coffin shut on our hope.

The American people have misspoken.  The mid term election is over.  A majority voted to get no unemployment help, no benefits, no money to put food on the table for their children, no help preventing the foreclosure of their homes, no health care, all for the privilege of prejudice.  Pandering in panic to the far right failed.  Arkansas Democrat Blanche Lincoln, who was one of only two Democrats to vote with the Senate Republicans against DADT debate in September, lost her bid for reelection in November.  She has one more chance, now in the Lame Duck session, before she gives up her seat.  Perhaps she can now remember that her name once belonged to a president who loved another man.

In the coming weeks, the Senate can either duck or vote for equality for America's patriotic volunteers.  I don't think they have the courage.  I would very much like to hear how wrong I was.

The news analysis on what will happen has been changing every hour for weeks.  As I write this rant in the last days of November, I realize that it might all be irrelevant sometime in December.  First, the White House had dropped DADT repeal as a priority for the Lame Duck session in the Senate; then they said that it IS a priority.

Then the pending Pentagon survey report was leaked with the news that most service members could care less who loves whom and that they had no concern that DADT repeal would result in disruptions to unit cohesion, combat ops, nor family angst.  This news set off the McCain clown-show in which the Senator, who had been eagerly expecting the opposite, claimed that the wrong questions had been asked and that the "military leaders" whose negative opinions he'd awaited had merely given their personal positive opinions rather than official assessments on whether or not DADT repeal would adversely affect unit cohesion and combat readiness.  He then cited the personal negative opinions that had been given by some service chiefs who had insubordinately spoken up against repeal.  He even suggested that service members be asked to vote on ending DADT; imagine!  McCain's public excuses and conflicting commentary became so ridiculous that both The Daily Show and Rachel Maddow ran mocking segments about his self contradictions.  And yet, this single anachronistic senile old bigot can kill gay rights for the next decade to come.

I was raised by refugee parents to believe in and expect equality in America.  But, silence wont work.  There are those who actively want to take America backward.  If you expect equality, call your senators and tell them to vote for DADT repeal because somehow some of them still think that their jobs depend on bigots.

  2010 Gay Military Signal