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Repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell"

Posted by Kathie_L on 2010/5/28 15:30:00 (1428 reads)

I was in Washington DC last March for a conference. I arrived a day early to see the sights. As I was walking from Congress to the White House I came across a rally headed by Kathy Griffin and Lt Dan Choi (who ousted himself on the Rachael Maddow show and was also on 60 Minutes talking about it) regarding "don't ask don't tell." I was able to get on the left side of the stage and watch as soldier after soldier still proudly wearing their uniforms (even after being ousted because someone was vindictive enough to "tell" on them for being gay) told their stories. The very 1st soldier injured in combat in the Iraq conflict is gay. His leg was blown off and his arm shattered. He wears a "ski" prosthetic where his leg used to be. He was ousted when someone "told" on him and lost all of his benefits even though he fought for our country like every other soldier.

Each story made me angrier and more ashamed that a country like ours that stands for freedom and justice denies that very thing to people who voluntarily stepped up to help keep our country safe. That is the mantra of the soldier and these soldiers are no different. These guys were NOT bitter (amazing me) and only wanted this law repealed so others did not have to go through what they did.

The rally turned into a protest march with all soldiers marching that were present and Lt Dan Choi leading the way. I tried to stay as close behind Lt Dan Choi as I could to take pictures both in front and in back of me. The crowd was near five hundred strong and included gay, lesbian, transgender and straight people. There were a LOT of straight people in support of repealing "don't ask don't tell" marching proudly with me being one of them (this law is obscene in my opinion).

Once we got to the White House north side, Lt Dan Choi and another soldier handcuffed themselves to the White House gate (something I didn't expect). Police cars surrounded the protesters and the main organizer was arrested. The protesters in front were literally shoved backwards off the sidewalk...I was one of them. This was a big deal and there was a lot of media outlets there.

The next morning as I searched through the Washington Post thinking surely there would be some coverage there I found one small "half" paragraph in an obscure place on an inner page stating that 2 gay men were arrested for handcuffing themselves to the White House gate. I can't remember if they even mentioned Choi's name. They sure didn't mention the size of the crowd or what it was all about. There was no television coverage on any of the networks and it didn't even cross Fox News Station.

I really had to ask myself some hard questions about this administration's reasoning and why when finally addressed he gave this issue until Dec 1 to be decided even though most of the big military guys want it repealed (oh yeah and Obama was in the White House at that time since the Health Care Reform passage was on the line, so he may have heard the chants and most certainly was made aware of what was going on). In the meantime there are soldiers out there not getting what they need medically or psychologically and being ousted viciously on a daily basis.

Those on the right (and some on the left) should take notice that their grandstanding on this issue to obstruct its repeal only hurts the very people they send to fight in their dirty war games. It hurts ALL of the soldiers because it pits them against each other in some cases and in most cases it doesn't matter at all to those who fight side by side. You politicians should quit playing politics with our soldiers. YOU PUT THEM THERE. Take care of them when they come home in ALL cases and quit adding stress to an already unholy stress they endure every day they are in combat. REPEAL "DON'T ASK DON'T TELL" without hesitation.

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