So, on Thursday, breaking news was cybered to me and, most probably, to many of you. Chuck Wolfe, President and CEO of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund wrote that Barack Obama will honor Harvey Milk with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, celebrating Milk’s “incredible power of being out, speaking out and demanding the equality we all deserve.” Milk was a man who “gained real power and used it to expand freedom and equality.”
Barack Obama, at one time, spoke out on behalf of gays. When he was transformational.
Remember that Barack Obama–the senator on the path to the presidency who was committed to ending discrimination of gays in the military? He was searing in his criticism of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), describing it as:
…a policy that is antithetical to the values of honor and integrity that our military holds most dear. Patriotic gay and lesbian Americans are now told that they may serve their country only if they hide their true identities. They are forced to live a lie as the price of risking their lives for their country.
Candidate Obama pledged to fully repeal DADT by developing procedures–a broad plan of action:
[This] will require the implementation of anti-harassment policies and protocols for dealing with abusive or discriminatory behavior as we transition our armed forces away from a policy of discrimination. The military must be our active partners in developing those policies and protocols. That work should have started long ago. It will start when I take office.
But it hasn’t.
Yet, it would be so easy. In less time than it takes Barack Obama to toss back a Budweiser–really, DADT could be history. By simply picking up a pen and signing an executive order, Obama could make it irrelevant.
But he hasn’t. And it isn’t.
Unlike Harvey Milk, Barack Obama is a man who gained real power and is using it, not to expand freedom and equality, but to continue the oppressive policies of the Bush/Cheney demolition.
The nation’s highest civilian honor, also, will be awarded to tennis luminary Billie Jean King who is openly gay and a tireless civil rights activist. Fourteen other “agents of change” will receive the medal from the president who was supposed to be an agent of change.
I can’t help wondering if Harvey Milk would want to be a member of the club that includes these George Bush war criminals: General Tommy (We Don’t Do Body Counts) Franks, George (Slam Dunk) Tenet, Paul Bremer, and Tony Blair.
Seems the gold medal that hangs from a blue velvet ribbon has been sullied.
Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com