It being Memorial Day, with the recent activity in Congress to finally do the right thing in this regard, and MOST importantly for the gay soldiers who have served in our military and died for our freedom, I submit the following, which I originally published in January 2009.
I abhor discrimination in any form. It is insidious – the social and economic costs are enormous. The lives that are diminished because of it reflect the real loss that our society endures. It is just plain common sense that we all lose out when we deny opportunity to those willing to take it.
Gay people cannot serve in America’s military. I’ve never understood the argument that someone’s sexual orientation affects their ability to do a job. I do understand that homophobic attitudes certainly impair the ability of gays to function in any capacity.
Under President Clinton, in order to compromise the rules regarding gays, the policy for all sides of the issue became, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This is patently unfair. A person’s sexual orientation should not be a matter that needs to be revealed or hidden.
Yet, somehow this is still an issue. We need to get past it.
As a veteran of the US Air Force, I can say this… I was always proud to serve beside anyone else (gay or straight, black or white, believer or non-believer, etc.) who took the oath of serving in the military as seriously as I did. Can’t think of anyone I served with who didn’t feel the same general way.
And for those of you still clinging to the foolish concept that being gay is a choice, then I pose the following: If you believe being gay is choice, then you, yourself, should have the ability to choose to feel the same way emotionally and sexually to members of your own gender as you do about the other gender. If you cannot honestly do this, then you are on the road of awareness headed towards reality. On the other hand, if you can honestly do this, you probably have a suspicion that you may have been programmed bi-sexual.
However, the foregoing test is irrelevant when it comes to anyone’s rights as an American. It is important for all of us that gay people have the same rights as straight people because, ponder this, when anyone’s rights are infringed, everyone’s rights are infringed.
To the Gay Community, my apologies as you continue to face this discrimination, along with the other needless indignities you still endure. May it end soon.
I’ve decided upon my life’s goal:
I want to be as good as my dog thinks I am
Emma, our resident feline (aka Mrs. Peal) is really a pain to winter with. She loves being outdoors, but does not like to go out in the snow. A few years ago, we decided, before the complete winter lock down, that we would get a kitten to occupy our soon to be cabin fevered cat.
As is typical of most of our planning and execution, we came home instead with a dog…a male Chihuahua puppy to be more precise.
Thus, for better or worse, Martini (Tini) Oliver joined our clan.
We’ve not had much dog experience, and what we have had has not been all that good. So it was with certain trepidation that we began our life together.
The Early Days
He beached himself on a step as a puppy. That was it for stairs. We put in a small ramp in the foyer so he could get around the first floor of the house, as he firmly decided he wasn’t going up or down steps.
He flat out refused to wear a collar. In fact, he became a lawn ornament when a collar was placed on him.
He loved to go for walks, as long as I carried him…
…and that became harder and harder as he seemed to continually put on weight.
He became a 14 pound pork roast with stick legs. Tini moved up to the heavyweight division.
I began referring to him as “My Last Meal.”
His Owner Gets Smarter
Tini now will go up a few steps, but still refuses to go down.
He will now wear a collar. He ultimately fell for the line “only the best dogs get pretty necklaces.” Turns out dogs are as gullible as men!
We go for walks where Tini actually walks…
And we are seriously working on the weight thing.
The Big Picture
By Canine standards, he’s not much of a dog, but he’s my dog.
Animal Planet did a show on the 10 breeds of dogs most removed from the wolf – of course, the Chihuahua (pronounced ”che-hoo-a-hoo-a” by my Vet & his staff when they think I can’t hear) came in first place – the dog furthest from the wolf. No mystery where that was going…
Tini is an excellent early warning system. For whatever value a security system has, Tini maximizes it. And very economical – low input, low output.
His teeth are small – I refer to them as “The Tiny Daggers of Death.”
If holding on to something in his mouth meant anything, he would rule the world. In human terms, he could only hope to get to a capillary – veins and arteries are out of the question.
Tini’s Got Shotgun
He loves car rides. I mean he really, really loves to ride in the car. In dog terms, an hour in the car for Tini could be the equivalent of a day at the amusement park.
That he likes car rides suits me just fine, as driving continues to be one of my personal pleasures.
And This All Leads To…
When I come home (or often, even upon entering the room), Tini reacts like it is the best thing that ever happened. Circles and wiggles all over the place!
So, yes, I aspire to be as good as Tini (as psychotic as he is) thinks I am. I’d sure hate to let the little guy down.
Recently a death row inmate requested the firing squad as a final parting gift from the State of Utah.
I find it odd how odd America can be. In terms of a massive, centrally organized national government, we are gaga to emulate the experience of the far older Europeans, but unlike them we continue to have some serious interest in executing criminals…perhaps we just cannot let go of our puritanical past…
…and Frankly Francis, as usual, against the grain, is right where he is accustomed to finding himself: in favor of very limited national government and opposed to the death penalty. (Note to Self: if all else fails establish the single resident country of FranLand, name myself Ambassador to the U.S. and get full diplomatic immunity – yeah, that should work just fine.)
But if I am murdered, God forbid, please do not execute my killer. Mind you, I am not saying that I’d be in favor of letting that person walk the streets again. In that circumstance, I’d like to figure a way for that person to work for the benefit of my heirs…but I digress.
Murder – To kill (a person) unlawfully and with malice
Capital Punishment – Penalty of death for a crime
Throughout recorded history, governments and religions have freely dispensed the death penalty. Things, in their often circuitous way, move forward. In recent times, most of the generally considered civilized world has abolished capital punishment.
Old Testament Religion: The Principle of “An Eye For An Eye”
Pretty simple. You kill someone; the state kills you in return. Fair is Fair. You get what you give. There is ample religious support for this practice and it is very literally still used in parts of the world.
It should be noted that this also requires “stoning” to death your neighbor for adultery or homosexuality, amongst other things.
New Testament Religion: The Principle of “Turn the Other Cheek”
In spite of its idealism, we haven’t gotten there yet. I’m not thinking that we will be incorporating this into our jurisprudence any time soon.
But considering that in America, we have gotten the church out of the execution business, it leaves the job to the government.
Some Other Factors Against Capital Punishment
The government does, unwittingly or intentionally on occasion wrongfully accuse a citizen of something that they did not do. No one should die because of that.
When someone is executed, if it turns out that the individual was innocent, there is no redress – the wrong cannot be made right.
The death penalty has been shown to be used disproportionately against the poor and minorities in its application. If we are to keep it, then it needs to be applied equally.
It can be argued that life in prison, without parole, is a worse fate.
Killing someone is still (perhaps fortunately) not a “neat” process. Many executions are messy and are seen as cruel and unusual punishment by a significant number of Americans.
There are conflicting studies on whether capital punishment reduces serious crime, but the conflicting results should cause us to further study the issue.
When Something Is So Wrong It Can’t Be Right
I think that taking someone’s life is about as wrong as wrong can be…so wrong that it can never be right. We really need to get past killing each other and well, violence of any sort. We are a long ways from there, and we may never get there, but taking capital punishment out the hands of the government would be a very big step forward.
There really does not appear to be a definitive answer regarding the use of or the abolishment of the death penalty. Both sides make compelling arguments.
While always open to better understanding the opposing point of view, I remain against capital punishment and hope that Americans will join the many other people on this planet that have come to the same conclusion.