After Categorical Victory

We watch a lot of c-Span at our house. Huntington’s Disease means Lynne’s body doesn’t move as fast or as often as her mind, and we were both poli sci majors, so all weekend long, we pretty much flip between BookTV and American History tv (until, of course, Downton Abbey).

So what a treat to wake up this morning and see a panel of GLBC(cross-dressing) active and former military service members discussing life since the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. As befits BookTV these are now journalists, of OutServe Magazine and Josh Seefried, active Air Force, has published a book. How did coming out work for them, and what were they hearing?

It was all good, and as always, that includes the questions. What caught my attention was the clear language of a veteran named Cathy (?), who had graduated with the first class of women at West Point and served the Army 5 1/2 years, surviving one witch hunt and leaving before she faced another. And this wonderful woman used language that showed me how to deal with a quandery I’m facing in anti-racism: How do you talk about the structural inequalities that remain in place after there has been a major shift forward in categorical justice?

She used a key phrase: “benefits justice.” In other words, yes, we can now bring our dates/partners/spouses to social events, but if we die they can’t collect our pensions.

With this phrase, she has solved a dilemma I’ve been pondering in anti-racism: yes, we have our first African American president of the United States, but African Americans who made the middle class during the last two decades of bubble and boom face disproportionate impacts in two specific mechanisms: they are more likely than Caucasian Americans to be steered into devastating rather than partial personal bankruptcies, and they are more likely to lose their homes to foreclosure.

Since it’s Superbowl Sunday, I’ve been using football metaphors all week to recover spiritual clarity as I  watch political developments day after day. Yesterday, I advocated using our wonderful and prophetic GA Resolutions from the first half century of our Association to define the end zones. Now, thanks to this heroic veteran on BookTV, I have language for marking first downs.

Yet another reason to thank a vet. Her service did not end when she resigned. No vet ever really resigns: despite a few bad apples, and many more with tragic and unjust scars, the retain the military training, community and integrity. We are lucky so many of them share this throughout our society.

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