We've Got Issues
When the United States entered a new century, it simultaneously began a new era of politics. The last decade of the previous century witnessed a broadening of our culture through a socio-political movement. Yet as we began the new millennium, the United States once again became vastly more conservative. Throughout our nation's history there have been periods of growth and rapid change, followed by a period of conservatism – a means of cultural assimilation of the previous change in order to reduce the change's all encompassing effects; this is the natural order and balance of the United Sates socio-political realm.
One of the major changes that occurred during the last political shift was the widespread growth and understanding of the American gay community. Though there have always been troubled spots, homosexuality has become a much more acceptable norm within our general society.
There are many reasons for this, and as the gay community made strides, it continued to reach for some of its long-sought after goals as both gay & American citizens. Collectively and respectively, homosexuals and the advocate groups that support them set a focused agenda on gay rights, and center that debates on same sex marriage, and now, an outdated military policy.
Progressive Californians shocked many last year in the 2008 elections when they voted for Proposition 8 which denied the rights of millions in the state. Although President Obama has said openly on MTV before that he believes, "marriage is between a man and a woman," and that he is, "not in favor of gay marriage," he has also expressed his opposition to Proposition 8, the California ballot measure which eliminated a right to same-sex marriage that the state's Supreme Court recognized before Proposition 8 was voted for.
Obama has also said that he wants to end the "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy in the U.S. military, a policy which refuses to allow homosexuals in the military, forcing any homosexual patriot to hide his or her sexuality so that they might continue serving their country.
Unfortunately, for many homosexuals in the military concealing their identity, Obama's promise to end the policy has been short-lived, or prolonged. However, one might choose to look at the situation, what has been promised has not occurred yet, and many are becoming restless. On October 10, President Obama made a speech covering the status of his promise and the Huffington Post was able to relay such information to the public.
"I will end ‘don't ask-don't tell,'" Obama said to a standing ovation from the crowd of about 3,000 at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay civil rights advocacy group. "I appreciate that many of you don't believe progress has come fast enough. Do not doubt the direction we are heading and the destination we will reach."
Cleve Jones, a pioneer activist and creator of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, gave the Huffington post an exclusive interview after the annual dinner, and said that Obama delivered a brilliant speech, but added "it lacked the answer to our most pressing question, which is when."
This seems to be the dilemma for many. When will Obama follow through on his word? The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law was passed by Congress in 1993 and signed by President Bill Clinton, who had also promised to repeal the ban on homosexuals in the military but was halted by opposition in the military and Congress.
At the same dinner, Obama said it was no secret "our progress may be taking longer than we like." He followed in asking supporters to trust his administration's course. These instructions cam hard to follow after promises to close Guantanamo Bay were broken, and of course, the war in Iraq, which Obama had promised in his platform to end, was extended an extra 36 months with no actual end in sight.
Obama is spreading himself thin with promises of change when no actual change is in sight. He asks us to have hope, but hope requires trust. When we, as a collective nation, are lied to, the trust fades slowly, eroding such hope. His plans for Iraq, Afghanistan, socialized medicine, Guantanamo Bay, and now the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy all seem to be temporarily ‘paused'.
In fact, it seems to the ‘learned hand' of the Corsair, that his stance on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a last futile attempt to get something, anything done that he said he would do. His ideas, and respectively, his promises, were all so convincing during his campaign. President Obama, Sir, the people are waiting for your so-called solutions. Can we just have one?