Tag: Joe Lieberman

The Other Pete via flickr
The Other Pete via flickr

For what I can only guess could be a lack of corporate interests offering to pay him to obstruct, Senator Lieberman did something admirable for once in his life by leading an effort to repeal DADT. The military’s bigoted practice of banning openly gay members from serving seems to finally be at an end. Sure, I’ve written here before about our need to end such a practice, but what does it mean to us as anti-war leftists? Doesn’t this just mean that the military now can draw from a larger pool of cannon fodder?

I don’t think so. Or at least I see it with a more nuanced point of view. I see it as part of the war for the minds of Americans. As leftists, we have an obligation to fight inequality wherever we find it, even in institutions whose very existence we find disgusting. The more Americans can see their fellow sisters and brothers as equals, the more we can recognize the crimes propagated against us by the owning & ruling classes. We will be better equipped to fight for a more equal world now and after the status quo finally implodes, when we can look at the LGBT community and see our fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers instead of the crippling “other” that we are continually shown as a means to divide us amongst ourselves and obfuscate the crimes we are victims of.

Now gays find themselves (or will soon) in a position where they can be true to who they are while they serve in the military. The next step is to realize that this country doesn’t serve the interests of equality and fighting for its ideals only strengthens the practices of bigotry. Without the great protests and actions by groups like GetEQUAL; practices like DADT would still be strongly in place, no matter how many pretty speeches Obama decided to give denouncing it. The next step is to know that those you fight in Iraq and Afghanistan are not enemies but another face of that ugly “other” Americans are told to fear. The next step is to not fight.

If Obama had his way, this issue would have never been resolved as it served as a great carrot to hang over the heads of the LGBT community and ensure their continuing Democratic-stamped ballots. Obama, as Commander in Chief of our military, could have ended this policy the day he was sworn in with a flick of his pen – but he opted to let years pass while he waited for others to do his work for him. That is important to remember: Obama did not give this to you, but he will use it as a victory of his, not yours. It was the community that pushed this and continued to make it an issue, not the establishment.

So while I applaud your victory, I encourage you to recognize your interests lay not with those who would place you in shackles.

As someone who spends a good deal of both my working and recreational hours on the internet, I’ve grown quite fond of it. It has been the greatest communications device ever created, the ability for humanity to share information on such a scale helps to make the world much smaller for important ideas to travel. However, this freedom is at odds with the society the modern world finds itself in. Free speech, information, and ideas are not congruent to the ever-strengthening police state of Empire. Were people able to freely exchange these things we might actually have an emancipatory world where defenders of the status quo would be unable to continuously divide us amongst ourselves or retain their power. Should it be any surprise that congress is considering a bill to insert a “kill switch”, controlled by the president, to our access of the internet?
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Yesterday, despite multiple campaigns to have actual public opinion legislated with regards to healthcare, Washington ultimately decided that our country needs to reward to the private insurance industry that has so ruthlessly broken our health system with a mandate for all Americans to purchase insurance. Uninsured Americans will be criminalized with punitive fines of about 2% of their wages and we will have to start paying for a product that many of us will not be able to afford to use. Let’s be honest about this, this is a tax paid to private corporations who only received this prize because of how badly they have handled their position this far.
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One of the many communities to support candidate Obama only to be left disappointed with their victory is the LGBT community. The community by and large was willing to look aside as he ironically supported the separate but equal notion of “civil unions” over full marriage equality but cheered his declaration that the time was long overdue for a repeal of the discriminatory practice of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military. We’ve seen President Obama largely ignore this pledge only to trot it out conveniently with the caveat that Americans just need to wait a little longer.
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As the Obama agenda slowly crash lands, many in the liberal community are seeing their hopes go along with it – causing them to strike out in, what I think, several wrong directions.Liberal blogs flash headlines across their sites identifying the latest turncoat Democrats: enemies of the state; traitors to Obama’s administration. I too have been guilty of this, even starting this blog with a letter to Senator Lieberman attacking him for his destruction of the Senate’s healthcare reform bill. But I’d like to take a nuanced opinion of this in the future as more and more becomes obvious to me about the status quo of our country and how fiercely it is protected. It’s true, Senators like Lieberman, Nelson, Landrieu, and Lincoln should have the full force of the Left’s anger and those aforementioned liberal blogs are right in attacking them. However, it’s the angle of attack and source of the anger that I’ve decided needs to change.
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