Finally we have another civil rights milestone achieved. The repeal of the demeaning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" requirement was a long time coming, but credit President Barack Obama from using ethics, morality, and wisdom to put to rest this insult to a segment of Americans. It was the right thing to do. The head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, most commanders of the major military branches, former military leaders, and people with a healthy take on civil rights came forward to support this action. The Secretary of Defense also supported the action, and he will take the lead in implementing the change.
A word of caution. There are always people who will resist change. There are always bigots who hold immovable perspectives. There are clergy who will point to Paul's comments on sexual orientation, though in Paul's time there were no civil rights protections and homosexual activities were seen as always beting one person taking physical advantage of others, especially children. There are people who are just downright negative about almost everything. There are those who hold strong feelings against anyone who is not from their clique in life. There are those who look to take advantage of any political possibility. There are those who think that sexual orientation is a "choice" and not something inherent from birth. And there are those who follow bigoted leaders who "instruct" them on how to think.
Therefore, among all those in denial or those ill-informed or those who are outright bigots will be keen lookouts who will look for flaws in the implementation or draw sweeping conclusions from isolated incidents. This is the very nature of bigotry. So we will see wide conclusions drawn from things that happen in rare instances. Negativity and bigotry will always find an audience; it is the very nature of today's squawk and hate radio. And lies and distortions will fly. Expect it, but be wise in evaluating such bigotry.
So, as we are in this special season of love and peace, let us celebrate the long trek toward health care reform that began with President Theodore Roosevelt's plea for it a century ago. Let us herald the START program that the world needs. How fortunate we are to have a President who took on these tasks against tremendous odds.
Let us hope the new year will bring us passage of legislation that will help immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as little children and only know the U.S., to become citizens. Some are serving us now in the military. Some are succeding very much as contributing citizens. No more should we see a young man with excellent college grades, receive a 4-year scholarship to medical school in Boston, and not be able to attend because his parents illegally brought him here when he was 18 months old. Yes, there should be requirements to meet on the road to citizenship, but blocking their road to being contributing citizens is self-defeating. Currently 1/4 of all applicants for the U.S. military fail their exams and cannot serve, yet we punish those who want to serve our country but were brought here as little children and thus we shut the door. Let us hope we see the light in 2011.
Finally, the end of a year is a good time for each of us to re-evaluate our own beliefs. There is far too much hate and bigotry in the world. Consider what Jesus of Nazareth brought to us through His example and His preaching. We never needed it more.