I was in the Air Force in the mid-1970s when career fields that previously had been closed to women, became open for them. There was a lot of grumbling from older male enlisted personnel – keep in mind, some of them had served in WWII, Korea and Viet Nam – about women needing to “stay in their place”. On the other hand, most of us younger males (I served from the ages of 17-21) had no problem accepting women in the workplace or in career fields that had been all-male. I say all of this to say that for many, this has been a generational issue and one that as the older personnel transition out of active duty, will become less and less important.

More and more, we are becoming a nation of tolerance. Unfortunately, there are still those who will continue to oppose anyone who is different. They will use several arguments – religion, “being gay isn’t the same as being black”, etc – to support their position and that’s their right. But, as I see it, civil rights are not exclusively about race and color; they’re about human rights for all of us. How can we as a nation who supposedly stands for justice, equality and freedom for all, discriminate against ANYONE because they don’t look, believe or act the same way we do?

As a disabled person who has walked with a cane for the last 6 & 1/2 years, I’ve felt the sting of insensitive people who look down on me for whatever reason. I’ve also been blessed to meet people who are compassionate, giving and respectful of my situation and for that, I am thankful.

I am proud of President Barack Obama. He has worked hard to keep his campaign promises and one by one, he is checking them off his list of “Things To Do”. I applaud and commend him for doing so and look forward to voting for him again in 2012.


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