Beautifully written article by gay American veteran, Jonathan Hopkins, regarding DADT. Jonathan isn’t just any veteran. He graduated fourth in his class at West Point. He earned three Bronze Stars while being deployed three times to Iraq and Afghanistan:
I have always told people when discussing the military that “it makes everyone better, teaching us all important values like teamwork and selflessness.”
But if you are gay, I am no longer sure that is entirely accurate. People in the military are not trained to be liars. Our mission is not subterfuge, but that is what this policy forces those of us who are gay to become party to, and the cognitive dissonance is immense. We are trained to manage the fear that may descend during a firefight, but we do not expect to live under the daily fear that our peers may sense something different about us and report us as being gay.
Jonathan correctly notes that support for overturning the policy is at 79 percent among 18 to 29-year-old Americans, and makes this observation regarding slow walking overturning this egregious policy by waiting for those in the service who don’t like “the gays” to somehow become ready for change:
Using this logic, racial desegregation of the military would have happened in MY lifetime, not my grandfather’s, simply because an outspoken but small minority would remain opposed to it long after 1948. In that case, we made a change simply because it was right — and enforced the standards in a very rule-abiding military — through the virtue of leadership.
Another heart breaking examples of why this policy needs overturning is Hopkin’s recounting how an American soldier confided in an Australian officer about his grief over his boyfriend, and fellow American soldier, dying in a roadside bomb. He was unable to publicly grieve with his fellow unit because of our nation’s backwards, unconstitutional and outrageous policy. Of course, it also expands on the fact we are already behind other western nations in allowing open service. Remember the oft repeated cheer of the Bush Administration, “They hate us for our freedoms!”?
The Obama Administration has woefully underperformed regarding movement on civil rights issues like DADT, ENDA and gay marriage. Passively waiting for tentative civil rights change for our LGBT community is not what we voted for two years ago. Anyone, in the Obama Administration, who thinks we are satisfied with the passive glacial pace and political triangulating is underestimating us. Our capacity to question the validity of claims made by the Obama Administration that they have made progress on specific promises to us proves they have made the miscalculation under performing on our issues will prevent a measurable cost. The strategists in the White House have not taken into consideration many in our community evolved from our LGBT civil rights politics of the past twenty years, as well, and our patience is not limited. It isn’t just about them and what they supposedly learned from the Clinton years. It is absolutely about us, gay American citizens, and whether we are willing to wait another twenty years for those who exaggerated, or outright lied, they were our “Fierce Advocates” to get our vote and support.