I can't seem to find it.
I've looked through all the major news sites this morning, but I can't find it.
Hell, I even visited his website.
You'd think it would be there.
But it’s not.
It was a huge deal, right?
I mean it was going to destroy America. You’d think that the fact that it didn’t would at least rate a footnote somewhere.
It was going to usher in the End Times and socialism – which according to the bible-wavers is apparently the same thing. It was going to be THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT! Dogs and cats living together! Anarchy! The coming of the Anti-Christ. Zombies! Velociraptors! Robot cannibal armies! Alternate Universe Kirk and his Evil Goatee of Evil!
And, of course, Nazis.
They’ve had a whole year, you’d think you’d see something by now.
So what happened?
Looks to me like America is still intact. The world is still here. We’re still lumbering along, same as always. The Internet is full of fat puppies and laughing kittens and conspiracy nuts. There’s an awesome new iPhone out that’s even more iPhoney than the last iPhone. Babies are being born. You can still buy thirty different flavors of coffee pretty much twenty-four hours a day and get it served in a chocolate waffle cone by a topless runway model if you really want it bad enough. The terrifying addition of not one, but two babies to the cast of Bones didn’t cause the show to explode in an orgy of suckastic cuteness and diaper jokes.
The world seems pretty much the same as always to me.
It’s been a year today.
Satan’s had a whole year, and what? He was on sabbatical? Too busy in Afghanistan and Libya and Texas? What? I thought the world was on the brink, the Bilderbergs or the Illuminati or FEMA were all ready to go with the dismantling of America.
I would think we’d at least see some Nazis, but nope, not even one lousy storm trooper.
So what the hell happened?
Nothing, that’s what happened.
Nothing, not a goddamned thing. Nothing. Big whooptidoo.
It’s been a year today since gay people could begin serving openly in the US military.
And what about all those dire warnings? There's been no, repeat no, negative impact to military readiness. None. Zippo. Nada. Nothing. Turns out nobody other than a predictable handful of haters gives a fig. Imagine that. Turns out morale has improved and costs have come down now that we don’t have to hunt our fellows and watch them drummed out of the service for being who they are.
After all the screaming and shouting, the tears and the rage and the Jesus-flinging, after the protests and the congressional hearings, the testimony, the fact finding, the endless TV special reports, the interviews with Admirals and Generals and the “average” grunt in the trenches, turns out everybody in America forgot all about it as soon as the decision was made.
Nothing, that’s what.
Looking at the war effort, looking at morale, at recruitment, retention, or any other metric you care to measure, there’s just no impact. And that includes those “medical” issues the homophobes were so, so very worried about.
The world didn't end.
Pictures of gay military folks kissing upon return from deployment and generally displaying unbridled life, liberty, and whatever happiness they can scrounge up in the middle of a warzone appeared momentarily on the front pages of newspapers around the country. Nobody cared. Not really.
Angry Homo-Hatin’ Jesus staying up there in the heavens and pouted.
The mountains didn’t fall.
The sky didn’t turn into sparkly gay rainbows.
The seas didn't rise – well, no more than predicted by the changing climate anyway, and despite the fact that certain gay people are some major league flaming, you really can’t blame global warming on them.
Hell, even military uniforms are still the same old unimaginative drab utilities they’ve always been, there’s been no fashion revolution and soldiers haven’t become suddenly fabulous.
As a retired military guy and now a military consultant, I spend five days a week on one of America’s largest military installations, I’m surrounded by military folks day in and day out. Army and Air Force, a handful of Navy and Marines, Coast Guard and all the Alaskan National Guardsmen you can shake an MRE oatmeal bar at. Today I see, what? Business as usual. Gayness doesn’t seem to keep the jets from flying or the ships from deploying or the tanks from rumbling along same as they ever did. Military folks in smartly pressed uniforms stride purposefully past my office on their way to war, none swish, none sashay – well, except for one rather odd Major, but he was like that before the repeal.
And despite repeal of that idiotic law, they don’t ask and they don’t tell because they just don’t care.
Today it’s been a year since the repeal of DADT.
Nobody is talking about it because whether or not the guy next to them is gay is just about the furthest thing from their minds.
There’s still things to be done, of course, even now a year later. Gay people still can’t get the same benefits as their straight comrades in uniform, but it’s only a matter of time. It’s galling, I’m sure, to be told that they still have to wait, that they might die in this lousy goddamned war before they’re accorded full citizenship in America, but still it’s coming and nobody can stop it now.
And out there? Out in the bigger world?
Oh, out there it’s business as usual.
Plenty of military folks are still dying because they don’t have the tools and support necessary to do their jobs, because they’re given idiotic or impossible orders to do idiotic or impossible things in idiotic and impossible places.
More are wounded or damaged or fighting for their lives in the dark and dangerous corners of the world.
Many more have come home and are now fighting a different battle against a different enemy. They struggle to get the medical care and benefits they were solemnly promised by a terrified nation a generation ago, back when we declared war on the rest of the world.
And even more are out on the streets of America right now looking for work and a way to feed their families, and they will be out there looking for the foreseeable future – because yesterday the US Senate deliberately skull-fucked every veteran in America. Every single one. Right in the eye socket.
Senate Republicans filibustered the bipartisan Veterans Jobs Corps bill yesterday, a bill they helped write, but then decided to torpedo in an act of obscene and disgustingly infantile partisanship. Despite vague protestations that putting vets to work costs too much, an excuse that simply doesn’t hold water in light of the eight trillion dollars they’ve enthusiastically spent waging this idiotic and impossible war on terror, the real reason Republicans sabotaged the bill was that President Obama mentioned it in his DNC speech last week. Senate republicans were outraged, outraged that the Commander in Chief of all US Armed Forces mentioned one of his pet priorities, jobs for veterans, and said that when the bill made it through congress he’d sign it into law. Given their all consuming irrational hatred of Obama and their promise to remove him from office by any means available, not to mention given the pitiful state of their candidate’s imploding campaign, Republicans weren’t about to share credit with the President. And they sure as hell weren’t going to let a filthy liberal appear to be better at supporting the troops than conservatives. They were deathly afraid that Obama might get credit for taking care of veterans as he, and specifically the First Lady, have advocated since he took office. So they fucked us.
I served in uniform for more than two decades. I served under four republican presidents and two democrats. Without exception, when republicans talk about “taking care of our veterans” what they really mean is money for defense contractors and new weapon programs. When democrats talk about “taking care of our veterans” they’re talking about people, about the Veterans Administration and medical coverage and jobs.
Republicans blocked the bill specifically to stick it to Obama at the expense of veterans.
They did it on purpose and with malice aforethought.
They did it because they place allegiance to a political party and a political ideology above their Oath of Office, above the Republic, and above their worthless promise to the veterans they sent into the meat grinder.
They fucked us all against our will, they raped every one of us veterans, and they don’t even have the common decency to be ashamed of themselves today.
So yeah, business as usual.
Exactly as usual.
There are a lot of shitty things happening in the military right now, but nearly every single bit of it can be laid directly at the feet of the selfish rotten sons of bitches on Capitol Hill.
Not one single thing wrong in the military today can be blamed on gay people in uniform. Not one.
To be perfectly blunt about it, or more blunt than I’ve been up to now, I’m one hell of a lot more concerned about getting repeatedly ass raped by this dysfunctional excuse for a Congress than I am about sharing a locker room with a gay guy.
I’ve known a number of gay men and women in uniform, I’d trust them to have my back any day. I have trusted them with my life. Congress on the other hand? I’ll keep those miserable rat bastards where I can see them.
So, anyway, it’s been a year.
I figured it would be on the front page.
Not the front page. Not even buried under the fold on page three. So where is it?
No, I’m not talking about acknowledgement of the repeal’s anniversary. That’s there, not on the front page maybe, but mentioned here and there in a kind of, oh yeah, right, gay people in uniform, whatever, no problems, move along, nothing to see here sort of way.
No, I’m looking for something else.
I’m looking for Senator John McCain’s apology.
I’m looking for Senator John McCain to stand on the Senate floor in the same spot he did a year ago when he warned us all, when he warned President Obama, that the nation was making a huge mistake and it would destroy the US military.
I’m looking for McCain to stand up and admit that he was wrong.
McCain was not just wrong, he was completely wrong, utterly wrong, wrong in every way that it’s possible to be wrong. Wrong in a manner that calls into question his judgment regarding anything. Wrong in a manner that calls into question his mental competence and his fitness to serve in congress in the first place. Wrong in a manner that indicates he gives more credence to his personal hatred and bigotry and bias than to the evidence of his own damned eyes.
Today I looked to see if Captain John McCain USN(ret) would do the right thing, if he would live up to his oath, if he would stand before the world and admit to his fellow comrades in arms, his fellow veterans, gay and straight, that his words and actions were wrong and misguided and ill-informed and not in keeping with the Navy core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment, values that we officers are sworn to uphold with our very lives. Values that Lieutenant John McCain once demonstrated to the fullest measure, but Senator John McCain seems to have forgotten.
I looked to see if, while he couldn’t give veterans jobs, well, maybe Senator John McCain could at least put aside his religion and his politics long enough do something else for them today, even if it was only to make a gesture. Even if it was just that one small miniscule thing.
When John McCain came home from his war, he was broken and shattered and damaged – but he came home to fame and wealth and privilege and the best healthcare money could buy. He never had to beg for respect, for the simple acknowledgement of human dignity denied to his comrades in arms because of their sexual orientation. He never had to crawl on his belly for a job. He never had to wonder how he would feed his children.
Not all of us are so lucky.
Veterans aren’t asking for much – or perhaps we are, but we’re not asking for more than we’ve earned with our blood and the blood of our comrades, we’re not asking for fame and wealth, we’re not asking for privilege.
We only want the things we were promised by Senator John McCain and the hypocritical cowards in congress.
Funny isn’t it? Funny that one of the very few members of government to vote against the war, is the one supporting veterans in the White House today.
Congress stood together when they decided to send us to war, they were able to do it then weren’t they? The lousy sons of bitches. They could stand together then, couldn’t they? It’s ironic – no strike that, it’s not irony, it’s a goddamned disgrace, it’s a fucking travesty, it’s damned near treason, that that they can’t stand together now long enough to do what’s right.
Jobs would be a start.
Respect would be better.
But ultimately what it’s going to take is a change. It’s long past time for these people to be sent looking for new jobs themselves. It’s been a year today. And if there is anything, anything, that tells me we made the right choice four years ago, it’s the fact that today John McCain’s apology is nowhere in evidence. No matter how hard I look.
We made the right choice four years ago.
But that was just a start.
It’s time to finish the job we started.
The election is not won.