Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Repeal Day, Now We Just Need to Repeal a Couple More Things

Happy Repeal Day!  12:01 a.m. today, a few hours ago, the right of all citizens to serve serve in the military and defend the Constitution and the people of United States has been restored. Don't Ask Don't Tell finally goes away.  A person's sexual orientation is no one's business, and yet for the last 18 years any non-heterosexually oriented person had to hide their sexual orientation or risk expulsion from the military,  punishment, and loss of benefits.  Obama has kept another campaign promise. 

Right now the military is doing better at promoting and protecting constitutional basics than the society at large.  Just look at the recent Top Air Force Official Issues Religious Neutrality Policy in Wake of Truthout's "Jesus Loves Nukes" Exposé that caused the Air Force to pull all ethics training in order to scour the use of biblical justifications from ROTC pilot training in the use of nuclear weapons.  When this came to light, "Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz said, "Leaders ... must balance Constitutional protections for an individual's free exercise of religion or other personal beliefs and its prohibition against governmental establishment of religion.""

Now perhaps we can get down to the real sex problem in the military of rape and sexual assault.  An amazing woman I have occasionally had the honor to work with in the peace movement over the last few years is Retired Colonel Ann Wright, one of three diplomats,who resigned  from the diplomatic corps in March 2003 when we invaded Iraq, has written on and spoken about this topic extensively. I recommend starting your read on this topic with her on the site, U.S. Military Violence Against Women. The site is an essential reference in any discussion of sexual violence in the military including the use of rape as a weapon.  

We still have a long way to go.  We as a country are still allowing the execution of people, a barbaric medieval practice, even in cases where there is significant doubt that the murder conviction would not stand in a fair trial.  Troy Davis is the current news making death row inmate with no appeals or recourse remaining who is most probably innocent.  WTF. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I once had a little white on black button from the Holocaust Museum in D.C. that simply said, "remember."  My husband borrowed it, and I never saw it again.  Somehow that is fitting.  Things don't last.  Things vanish.  But memories are different.  We keep them and review them in grief, and for comfort, until they are worn smooth into polished icons of remembrance. 

We got the call from my step-daughter early that day; we didn't have hours, days or weeks of worry.  She was a lovely and quite intelligent young woman, only 25, who worked in lower Manhattan, not all that far from the WTC,  and lived in Brooklyn.  She was okay.  Her building had been evacuated and she was going to have to walk back to Brooklyn that day.  Our younger daughter was in 6th grade and the school called because they were concerned about her.  She seemed to grasp the enormity of the attacks and was emotionally devastated and raw unlike many of her peers who just did not quite get it.  She'd been to the WTC the previous month, August 2001, with her dad, my husband, when he stopped in to see a broker. We didn't know it then but she would spend 7th grade in Arlington, VA with classmates who lost parents in the attack on the Pentagon.   I spent years disseminating real information about the Iraq War that most folks now grudgingly recognize as truth, and during those years many despised me, called me a traitor, and threatened me and my family.  It has been a hard 10 years. 

I wrote, globally, about the initial thoughts I had on the blog/site I ran at the time called Late Boomers.  The three articles I wrote that were "about" the attacks on the U.S. can be read, in the same format in which they appeared then, at:

Boomers Unique Take on Patriotism and Military Service

A Lifetime of Violence: Terrorism, Rates of Information Flow and Baby Boomers

Art, Angst, and Zeitgeist

And I expressed myself through poetry, bad though it was, which was accepted for the Poets Against the War Website .

There was this site, and before that another site, where I chronicled and pondered the journey from 9/11 onward. 

And of course there was a wrap up (for me anyway) of the impact 9/11 had on my life that I posted to BlogHer.com after bin Laden was killed this past Spring: On Realizing I Was Impacted by Terrorism.

I have been feeling numb this past week.  Perhaps because of the approaching anniversary.  Anniversaries of sad events always get to me even if I don't consciously remember them.  This year I have had to add another sad connection to 9/11.  This year, on January 8th, Tucson lost a little girl whose 10th Birthday anniversary is tomorrow. 

Please, let's try to build peace, kindness, and a loving human family.