It's been a long time coming, but that disgrace of a law known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell that has served as a cover for unfair discrimination against gays serving in the US military is finally repealed today. Looking back on it I am intrigued... The USA started out blazing the way toward valuation of fair play for all against the then prevalence of religious dictatorships (along with dictatorships that were using religions as cover for their oppression). Nowadays we are lagging behind other developed countries who are too busy fixing real pressing problems to indulge in nosing into and passing judgment on what some of their soldiers (and citizens in general) do in their private romantic lives.
There remain some who still endorse this anti-gay policy, indeed, claiming that allowing gay soldiers to not have to hide who they are (and giving free pass for anti-gays snitching to uproot career of good gay soldiers who aren't that interested in showing off their gayhood to begin with) will "destroy unit cohesion". To which I say, 'O ye of little faith. Just because you lots can't handle your own sexual bias doesn't mean that the rest of us can't! I have a lot more faith in the sensibility of the average American soldiers than you do. They have slept beside their gay brothers in arm under the pings of enemy bullets for years. I bet most of them even know which brothers and sisters are gay and which aren't and don't need additional drama some misguided overly religious folks insist on throwing their way'.
So here a little celebratory number for the now much more wholesome US armed force... Did you know this thing is taken from an opera?
"Well, now, my bumblebee, go on a spree,
catch up with the ship on the sea,
go down secretly,
get deep into a crack.
Good luck, Gvidon, fly,
only do not stay long!"
- from Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov's Legend of Tsar Saltan.
Translation taken from wikipedia.
Prince Gvidon was sent into exile by a trick, but thanks to the Swan Bird (who sings this tune), he is temporarily transformed into a bumblebee so that he could go back home and visit his father, the Tsar Saltan, albeit incognito.
And giving credits where they are due... I must admit that like many others, I've thought Barack Obama a lot less principled and a lot more political than he apparently is. What can I say? The man is smarter than I am and even more patient. And I have undoubtedly suffered a bit from the prevalent American disease of 'I want this and this, and I want them NOW because I don't want to wait for them to be done properly syndrome'. It is a really nasty mental condition since it serves up unrealistic expectations while tending to gloss over the difficulties involved in the process of getting all those stuff done. With the feverishly partisan news reporting of recent years, it is easy to lose perspectives and forget to check for real status on things.
When Obama took office in January 2009 folks left, right, and middle agreed that our economy was heading for a catastrophic collapse on the scale of the 1929 - 1939 Great Depression. Republicans and Democrats alike predicted that the economy wouldn't even begin to recover for many years, and there wasn't much of an end in sight for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan... and anyone who actually thought that healthcare reform could actually happen was likely way overly optimistic near the point of being delusional. Nearly two years later, much of those were done, and the much maligned stimulus (started under George W Bush and continued under Obama) has actually saved the economy (it didn't collapse. We still have a banking system, the auto-manufacturing industry, and the economy is actually on the upward slope again. Not as steep a slope as we'd wish for, but it is pointing up instead of down the way EVERYONE predicted it to still be doing by the end of 2010) and TARP, the 'bank bailout' is even projected to turn profit for the taxpayers!
Sure, things could be better, but they could also be a lot worse. And the truth of the matter is, they are verifiably a lot better than they were projected to be two years ago. Sometimes it pays to make sure that one's expectation doesn't keep upgrading itself to the point where no good deed can go unpunished...