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A New Era in the US Military

Most of this summer I didn’t get to post too much because I had been quite busy preparing for another deployment. It’s from that forward location that I’m able to post for you today, this historic moment.

And it’s appropriate, I think.

I joined the military after Bill Clinton had signed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, so I never lived in a military where simply being homosexual was grounds for discharge. I lived my entire military career, up until today, as a closeted gay man in uniform. I followed the rules, kept it to myself (save a few other gay servicemembers and a handful over the years of closely trusted colleagues), and never ran afoul of the rules. I did my job, and I did it well.

I continue to do so, and I am not alone.

So it’s fitting, then, that I should spend this day—when gay “rights” groups back home will celebrate some sort of liberation of mine—simply doing what I’ve been doing for about 20 years: my job. While politically-minded activists will be slapping themselves on the back and praising the newly-granted privileges I and my fellow gay servicemembers now enjoy, we and tens of thousands of other deployed troops will spend today doing what we do: Our job.

While I appreciate your gladness on my behalf, please do take a moment today and keep in mind that there were some of us who were serving under DADT without regard for it.

While I am grateful that the era of homosexuality being the military’s business has ended, I am grateful more so for those who, like me, joined the military knowing the score and choosing this rewarding life anyway.

While I welcome those young men and women into the ranks of our military who heretofore had waited the policy out, I am much more proud of those who didn’t require their own terms be met in order to answer the call to serve in the first place.

It’s already Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 where I am, so I’m one of the first gay servicemembers in history who can legally come out. I won’t of course, but from now on, I’ll belay the gender-nonspecific pronouns and no longer demure when the stories turn to family. I just Skyped with my boyfriend back in the States and we talked about this whole thing. He’s proud of me, but I’m also proud of him (as all my colleagues are of their families back home). I’m in love with him, we’re quite a pair. And if I wanted to, I could take a picture of us into my office today and put it right on my desk.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from A Forward Operating Location)

Is Obama’s push to “pass this bill” pure political theater?

Was thinking in recent days about the president’s latest jobs bill and wondering if he really believes, given the current make-up of Congress, it is possible to “pass this bill.”

Seems he knows the Republican House will reject that big-spending bill, so he’s just promoting the legislation as means to demagogue this issue.  In today’s CampaignSpot, Jim Geraghty provides some evidence to buttress this theory:

White House press secretary Jay Carney declared, “The president is campaigning for jobs.” But instead of heading to states where there are persuadable senators, he’s heading to 2012 swing states.

As NBC News correspondent Norah O’Donnell noticed, Obama somehow feels the need to hold events to promote this legislation — again, the legislation, not his reelection bid — only in states that are considered in play in the 2012 presidential election.

NB: Tweaked the title.

UPDATE (from Eric): According to Illinois Senator Dick (US troops are Pol Pot, and others) Durbin, the Democrats will get to this incredibly important, “Pass This Jobs Bill Now” bill sometime next month:

But Obama did want to show how really urgent he said the situation was, even though it had taken him 961 days as president to say them. And even though from Day #1 of the brief Obama Era polls had shown jobs and the economy were the No. 1 priority among voters but he pursued healthcare and financial reforms first. And even though unemployment had been at or above 9% for 26 of the last 28 months.

So, given the president’s professed urgency, the next day, Sept. 9, everyone asked where was his jobs legislation?

And, well, it seems the urgent jobs bill hadn’t actually been written yet but should be ready in a week or two. When the laughter died, the White House said on second thought the legislation would be ready for a photo op the next Monday.

Well, here we are on the next Monday after that next Monday and we’ve just learned from the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin, that actually it seems that body won’t really be seriously getting into the legislation for a while yet. The Senate has some other more important business to handle. And then there’s this month’s congressional vacation, which in Washington is called “a recess,” like elementary school.

Here’s the revealing exchange with a persistent host Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union:”

CROWLEY: When is the bill going to get on the floor?

DURBIN: The bill is on the calendar. Majority leader Reid moved it to the calendar. It is ready and poised. There are a couple other items we may get into this week not on the bill and some related issues that may create jobs. But we’re going to move forward on the president’s bill. There will be a healthy debate. I hope the Republicans will come to…

CROWLEY: After the recess, so next month? Or when will it actually begin to act on?

DURBIN: I think that’s more realistic it would be next month.

So, as of right now, “right now” uttered on Sept. 8 really means sometime at least one month later.

Good thing the president’s own Democratic party controls the Senate. Because, otherwise, there might be some kind of silly, unnecessary delays in deliberating Obama’s urgent jobs bill that he says will surely help the nation’s unemployed millions if only those Republicans don’t connive to slow things down.

As an Illinois constituent of Senator Durbin’s, I called his DC office and asked just when this “Pass This Jobs Bill Now” jobs bill would, indeed, be passed. A very nice young man named “Anthony” informed me that it would be passed just as soon as it was introduced. When asked when that might be, he confirmed the Senator’s estimation of, “sometime next month.”

This has gone beyond the realm of political theater, and has become “cirque du freak.”

h/t: Ace@AoSHQ