My name is Kim Crawley, and my blog features intriguing ideas and interesting information, whenever they occur to me.
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Here's a transcript of Lady Gaga's anti-DADT rally in Portland, Maine today:
4:27 p.m. - Emily Sussman of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network arrives on stage. The Star-Spangled Banner is sung, many in the crowd joining in.
Mayor Nick Mavodones takes the stage and calls the crowd "Little Monsters" in Lady Gaga fashion. 13,500 men and women in the military have been fired "simply because they lived their lives openly," he said.
"I want to thank them for having the courage to speak openly."
4:35 p.m. - Major Alyssa Young is speaking. She's a 1986 graduate of a military academy, Aviation officer for 16 years. Selected for promotion.
"It's not about the individual story ... this is not about rights. Serving our nation is a privilege. That privilege is being screened out for certain demographics. race, class, gender, sexuality - never a predictor of effectiveness in combat. It's character, courage and competence. That's all you need out there."
4:40 p.m. - Helicopter hovering overhead.
Stacey Vasquez, Texan, former paralegal and army recruiter, outed by colleague's wife and lost retirement. "Hello Maine!" she yells, and is responded to with immense applause and cheering. 65,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual currently serve in armed forces, she says.
"I have a graduate degree from a top school and am ready to serve my country. I'm fit, ready, able, why can't I serve still? Some people think the day I was outed was the day I became gay - I hate to tell them I was gay long before that.
"I'm here today to say call your member of Congress. Tomorrow is a key day. Tomorrow could be to see the end of discrimination in our armed services. If you're too young to vote, talk to your parents and tell them what you believe in. Because this generation does not like this law. "Many of you came to see Lady Gaga. I'm glad to say I've gotten to hold hands with her now." (Applause) Chellie Pingree takes stage - says Lady Gaga is not here yet.
4:48 p.m. - Chellie Pingree: "Our military is stretched very thin. The last thing we should be doing is kicking out skilled men and women who have volunteered to fight for their country. Last thing we should be doing, telling troops we've spent hundreds thousands to train, we just don't need you anymore.
" 'Don't ask, don't tell' threatens our national security ... It goes against the values our military embodies.
"I was very proud to cast my vote against this policy."
4:54 p.m. - Mike Alney: "This is democracy in action. I grew up in the military. I always knew I'd grow up and follow in my father's footsteps. I kept my personal life far removed from my professional life.
"Four deployments to the Middle East. While I was deployed in Iraq, I wrote e-mails. Some of those e-mails were to a boy I had dated, another member of the Air Force. Someone stumbled upon those e-mails."
Alney says he was asked if he were gay, but he refused to answer the question. "I was fired there on the spot from my job."
"Let's give it up for repealing 'Don't ask, don't tell.' '
He introduces Army veteran Andrew Campbell.
4:58 p.m. - Andrew Campbell, Army veteran, "Opponents say we can't effectively and safely integrate gays and lesbians into armed services. There was a time when the same was said about African Americans."
Pingree voted against 'Don't ask, don't tell.' Sens. Snowe and Collins need to follow her lead. 'Don't ask, don't tell' needs to stop."
Movement near the entrance is reported and bodyguards attempting to clear a path.
5:04 p.m. - Master Sargent David Hall speaks: "I'm sure you're ready for Lady Gaga, I promise you, she is almost here."
"This is really grassroots activism to its best....when you leave, if you haven't called Senators Snowe and Collins, be sure you pick up the phone and you do it before the end of the day.
"We need 60 votes and we're still short of those 60 votes."
He takes a picture to post on Twitter - huge applause and cheering. Hall urges crowd to start chanting "This law sucks."
Lady Gaga can be heard talking into mic, but hasn't made it to the stage. Crowd on its tiptoes looking for her.
5:09 p.m. - Master Sargent David Hall says the crowd isn't chanting loud enough for Lady Gaga.
Crowd begins chanting "This law sucks" loudly.
A USM student (name unclear) takes the stage - still no sight of Lady Gaga.
"You are standing up and being heard," she says. "Thank you so much for being here."
She jokes about stalling for time, as Lady Gaga is apparently still disembarking the tour bus.
5:10 p.m. - The crowd's cheering is coming to a swell as Lady Gaga makes her way to the stage. Her blonde locks let down for today's event, along with relatively casual attire, especially considering her typically flamboyant clothing. Every arm in the crowd is extended overhead with a cameraphone to capture a photo.
"I spent 48 hours trying to find the perfect thing to say. My address to you today is called the prime rob of America."
"I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will defend the Constitution of the U.S... bear true faith and allegiance...I will obey the order of president of the United States and officers appointed over me... So help me God...Unless there is a gay solider in my unit, sir."
"That is the oath taken every day."
"Equality is the prime rib of America, but because I'm gay I don't get to enjoy the greatest cut of meat my country has to offer."
5:17 p.m. - Lady Gaga notes Matthew Sheppard case, and how the two men who killed him are in prison.
"Doesn't don't ask, don't tell seem to be backwards? Doesn't it seem to you we should send home the prejudice? The straight soldier who hates the gay soldier, whose performance is affected because he is homophobic?
"He holds and harbors hate and he gets to stay and fight for our country. We gay soldiers, who harbor no hate, no phobia, are sent home ... I'd like to propose a new law. a law that sends home the soldier that has the problem. Our new law is called "If you don't like it, go home."
"A law that discharges soldiers with the issue." (Huge applause from the crowd.) '"A law that doesn't persecute the gay soldier that fights for equality with no problem.
"...Send home straight soldiers who fight for some equalities, but not for the equality of the gay.... If you are not committed to perform in excellence because you don't believe in equality - GO home!