For what I can only guess could be a lack of corporate interests offering to pay him to obstruct, Senator Lieberman did something admirable for once in his life by leading an effort to repeal DADT. The military’s bigoted practice of banning openly gay members from serving seems to finally be at an end. Sure, I’ve written here before about our need to end such a practice, but what does it mean to us as anti-war leftists? Doesn’t this just mean that the military now can draw from a larger pool of cannon fodder?
I don’t think so. Or at least I see it with a more nuanced point of view. I see it as part of the war for the minds of Americans. As leftists, we have an obligation to fight inequality wherever we find it, even in institutions whose very existence we find disgusting. The more Americans can see their fellow sisters and brothers as equals, the more we can recognize the crimes propagated against us by the owning & ruling classes. We will be better equipped to fight for a more equal world now and after the status quo finally implodes, when we can look at the LGBT community and see our fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers instead of the crippling “other” that we are continually shown as a means to divide us amongst ourselves and obfuscate the crimes we are victims of.
Now gays find themselves (or will soon) in a position where they can be true to who they are while they serve in the military. The next step is to realize that this country doesn’t serve the interests of equality and fighting for its ideals only strengthens the practices of bigotry. Without the great protests and actions by groups like GetEQUAL; practices like DADT would still be strongly in place, no matter how many pretty speeches Obama decided to give denouncing it. The next step is to know that those you fight in Iraq and Afghanistan are not enemies but another face of that ugly “other” Americans are told to fear. The next step is to not fight.
If Obama had his way, this issue would have never been resolved as it served as a great carrot to hang over the heads of the LGBT community and ensure their continuing Democratic-stamped ballots. Obama, as Commander in Chief of our military, could have ended this policy the day he was sworn in with a flick of his pen – but he opted to let years pass while he waited for others to do his work for him. That is important to remember: Obama did not give this to you, but he will use it as a victory of his, not yours. It was the community that pushed this and continued to make it an issue, not the establishment.
So while I applaud your victory, I encourage you to recognize your interests lay not with those who would place you in shackles.