Saturday, June 2, 2012

A friend posted this quote on my Facebook News Feed.  It's a good reminder for me, the imperfect soul. 

People ask me why I do the things I do. I've learned it's best for one's soul to reconcile with its imperfect situations. Speaking up is one way, a big step forward in a spirit's quest for truth. I embrace my liberty, my Constitution; my human & civil rights. It can be a very lonely path sometimes.

FOR The People: One Step At A Time

While my blog, Jose Rizal Online, a human rights site, remains in suspense, it's important that I speak on issues that immediately affect my community.

This blog is primarily for The People of the State of Washington. It is a trying time-- regardless of unemployment figures dropping; I understand that government has to put a positive spin on any news-- for me and millions around the world. By starting with my own community, the voice of The People will be heard here first. Social media can help send our message to The People's elected leaders in the state as well as the federal government.

The People Of WA will offer new perspectives to decades' long ineptitude in the ability of elected leaders to represent the needs of their constituents. We will end the proliferation of the status quo. "Just another day" of unproductive leaders in Olympia, in county and city agencies spells doom for the rapidly evaporating (through deceitful business practices of Big Banks/Wall Street-- with the federal government's complicity) middle class of America.

The People Of WA have had enough. We will lead the nation in making practical, achievable change to improve the lives of ALL, not just some, of The People. This can be done now. The People have run out of options.

We live in America. I study the United States Constitution and the actions of our elected leadership and their twin, Big Banks/Wall Street, clearly violate the rights of The People.

Fortunately for The People, technological enhancements have given way to The Age Of Transparency. This is no longer a time of J. Edgar Hooverian strong-arm deceptions, subterfuges and authoritarian rule.

This time is for The People.

The People of WA: The Road To True Equality for ALL Of The People

Originally published on Memorial Day, Monday, MAY 28, 2012

America's greatness came through the might and blood of its armed forces-- the men & women whose job is to protect liberty & freedom for ALL of The People. 

In 1970, I traveled across the Pacific Ocean and landed in San Francisco. Times have changed and yet the status quo remains entrenched in all levels of taxpayer funded agencies. Old solutions from last century no longer hold relevance in the Age of Transparency, The Digital Age, The Age of Information. 

Yet the leadership of many agencies and corporations remain bogged down in the destructive vestiges of 1950's, good ole boys-slash-Confederacy style prejudice that prevents itself from being on the same page as the rest of The People. 

The time has come to end the status quo. 

The road to equality is complex; I am fortunate to be part of a civil rights movement that really began when the Europeans came across the Atlantic Ocean seeking a better life. In order to unshackle the chains tied to its wrists & ankles by kings & queens, our Founding Fathers' vision led to the destruction of the existing Native American cultures. The new rulers of North America forged a government OF The People, FROM The People, FOR ALL OF THE PEOPLE. 

But not ALL of The People benefited from the new prosperity. SOME of The People would be excluded for almost 500 years.

Subjugation of The People continued through the years of slavery until the brave soul.of Abraham Lincoln moved society forward by emancipating the slaves whose sweat & blood supported the livelihood of the slave owners. The United States Constitution had failed SOME of The People and it took a great man to right this cultural poison. 

It is noteworthy that Americans of German or Italian descent were not suspected as collaborators during WWII-- yet countless Japanese-Americans were forced to abandon their livelihoods by our government. I recall a story about the Navajo language being instrumental in relaying critical messages that the enemy could not decipher. 

When I arrived on American soil, I knew not of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Civil Rights Movement nor the bloody and often-deadly struggles of The People whose skin was a different coulour than that of the American rulers. It was an America of self-hate, of J. Edgar Hooverian control & corruption. I had no idea that blacks or Asians lived in the U.S. As a boy in Manila, none of the American television shows gave an accurate depiction of the diversity I discovered within minutes of landing in the SF Bay Area. 

I was in shock. Who were all these people? I thought America was all-white, just like the TV shows. I was too young, naive, brainwashed by 1950's-&-1960's television to understand the status quo of prejudice and discrimination, its divisive destructiveness and its mockery of what our Founding Fathers envisioned for a just & equal society. 

I did not know MLK, Jr., had been assassinated. I quickly became a reflection of the society I entered. Racist & other xenophobic jokes rampantly filled my impressionable thinking. Soon, I told Asian jokes, laughed at others like me in order to fit in, be part of the white crowd. Soon, I became the status quo.

But, for some reason, my heart remained uncomfortable... for the next three decades. My music was R&B-- what was Stevie Wonder talkin' about in "Livin' For The City?" My family didn't have much. As with most teens, music, reading, sports, dancing became my escapes. I learned about Jim Thorpe, Jesse Owens in Berlin, Chief Joseph. I loved Dolores Tucker, Ann Calvello of the Bay Area Bombers roller derby team. Dr. J was unreal. I had to have that Afro. I read "Rolling Stone" magazine-- which seemed to have a slant against R&B musicians.... while praising all Rock-n-Roll (white) music. 

We have come a long way as a culture, a nation and a civilization. Our military has fought long battles to ensure that the ideals of equality are upheld in our country. This is not something I take for granted. I appreciate what has been left at my doorstep and join the military in its quest for justice & equality. 

But the work is not complete. 

The status quo continues to tell us that exclusion of SOME of The People is ordained by the United States' Constitution. Women have always been my best friends and strongest supporters. But women still do not enjoy the equality promised by our Founding Fathers. Trayvon was shot, lynched as if we were still mired in America's Civil War. 

The status quo would have me believe that the military disdains people who are not heterosexual or not the same colour. But this is not the story I hear from military family & friends. This is not what I have experienced. I spent some time in the 1990's at the U.S. Army Ranger camp in Dahlonega, Georgia. I was respected fully as a human being with equal rights. I was a Best Man for an admiral's daughter's wedding to a Mormon friend at Annapolis-- yes the Naval Academy. 

The People have grown into the United States Constitution's promise of equality. The People love and appreciate the differences that make America the exemplary constitutional republic-- sans kings & queens-- that the rest of the world admires. The People want equality. For all colours of skin. For gays in the military. Gays have been open in our military for years without a problem. 

You know what the problem is? It's the dreaded status quo. It's what our military men & women fight against every day. The People know how to fix the economy, the government, the taxpayer funded agencies, rid the country of the corruption and unbelievable waste of taxpayer dollars. It's the status quo that continues to pound on The People's human, civil & constitutional rights. 

The time has come for The People to complete the work of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the countless men, women who lost their lives, their jobs, their property, their livelihood fighting for equality. It is time to honor our military every single day. It is time to support efforts to care for our veterans. 

It is time for The People of Washington to achieve equality, to realize The Dream, so that our government OF The People, FROM The People, FOR ALL OF THE PEOPLE shall never perish from this earth.

Gay students graduate openly at military academies
By BRIAN WITTE, Associated Press – 20 hours ago  
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gay students at America's military service academies are wrapping up the first year when they no longer had to hide their sexual orientation, benefiting from the end of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that used to bar them from seemingly ordinary activities like taking their partners openly to graduation events.
For the first time, gay students at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis were able to take a same-sex date to the academy's Ring Dance for third-year midshipmen. The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., officially recognized a club for gay students this month. And gay cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., are relieved they no longer have to worry about revealing their sexuality.
Several gay students from the nation's major military academies said the September repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," an 18-year-old legal provision under which gays could serve as long as they didn't openly acknowledge their sexual orientation, meant significant change.
"For the most part, it allows us to be a complete person, as opposed to compartmentalizing our lives into different types of boxes," said newly commissioned Air Force 2nd Lt. Dan Dwyer, who graduated from the Air Force Academy on Wednesday. West Point held its graduation Saturday, and the Naval Academy's was set for Tuesday.
Official recognition by the Air Force school in May of the social club Spectrum means gay students there won't have to meet underground anymore.
Students and gay alumni also say the repeal is creating professional benefits by opening doors to mentorship possibilities. Being open about their orientation gives students and experienced military personal one more common experience that can foster a mentoring relationship, they said.
"That's what makes this type of networking a little bit more meaningful in our lives, because they've gone through the same thing and, yeah, it's great to have that family. It's great to have that support," Dwyer said.
Dwyer did not know that a gay alumni group of academy graduates even existed before repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." On Thursday, Trish Heller, executive director of the academy's gay alumni group called The Blue Alliance, swore him in as an Air Force officer.
"That was all based on the networking and mentorship relationship from Blue Alliance and Spectrum that would not have happened before, because we just didn't have that much of a presence and that much of a connection with the cadets," Heller said.
At West Point, the alumni gay advocacy group Knights Out was able to hold the first installment in March of what is intended to be an annual dinner in recognition of gay and lesbian graduates and cadets. Cadet Kaitlyn Kelly was among the dozens of cadets who attended the privately sponsored dinner. The 22-year-old Chicago resident was finally able to openly introduce her civilian girlfriend at an event marking 100 days before graduation.
"It was a remarkable thing for me, because I had taken her to previous things ... but I had to do the ambiguous, 'Oh, she's my best friend,'"
Kelly emphasizes that she had always been respected by her fellow cadets and officers at West Point and that changes in her day-to-day life have not been dramatic. But both she and fellow graduating cadet Idi Mallari said the repeal lessened their stress.
"My friends and I, we were so relieved that we didn't have to worry about that. Where we might not have necessarily worried about it 100 percent, it was still something in the back of your mind that you kind of always have to watch your step," Kelly said.
Mallari, who was awarded a Purple Heart during his prior service in Iraq as a combat medic, said everyone at the academy has been accepting, with just a couple of exceptions.
"I think it has to do with the fact that we're here at West Point and everybody here is just a little more educated," said Mallari, a 26-year-old Chicago resident.
In Annapolis, a gay couple attending the U.S. Naval Academy and their classmates posed for a photo in front of the academy's Bancroft Hall with a dozen heterosexual couples for the Ring Dance, when students in their third year receive their class rings.
Midshipmen Andrew Atwill, of Fulton, Ky., and Nick Bonsall, of Middletown, Del., said they received many compliments for bravely standing out in a way students had not before, and they did not receive any negative feedback from attending together.
"Because they made us feel so comfortable for going to the dance with each other, we didn't have to worry about any negative consequences," Atwill said.
Associated Press Writer Michael Hill in Albany, N.Y., contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.