Tag: DADT

The Other Pete via flickr
The Other Pete via flickr

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.

Today, LGBT advocacy group GetEQUAL organized six former military vets to handcuff themselves to the White House gate. Lieutenant Daniel Choi was present after last month’s event where he and Captain Jim Pietrangelo also handcuffed themselves to the same fence. GetEQUAL was also present at President Obama’s appearance at a fundraiser for Barbara Boxer and several times heckled the president causing him to get pretty angry.
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I mean, they wanted to keep destroying the environment whilst chanting “drill, baby, drill”, give the finger to labor, escalate wars, keep suspects locked away in Guantanamo, stay in Iraq, use government to help business at the expense of its citizens, and enforce discrimination against gays. You have to keep voting for the Democrats to avoid that shit, am I right guys?
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One of the many communities to support candidate Obama only to be left disappointed with their victory is the LGBT community. The community by and large was willing to look aside as he ironically supported the separate but equal notion of “civil unions” over full marriage equality but cheered his declaration that the time was long overdue for a repeal of the discriminatory practice of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military. We’ve seen President Obama largely ignore this pledge only to trot it out conveniently with the caveat that Americans just need to wait a little longer.
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