AirForceWife brought up a name that I’d read about recently and had to pull up again during a conversation about DADT. The chat was about milbloggers and the questions about DADT posed to Gen. Oates; more recently, another Army General has gotten himself in hot water over his staunch defense of the policy. Gen. Mixon wrote in Stars & Stripes that a majority of the military supported DADT and if they wanted it to remain in place everybody needed to write to their Congressmen to let them know how they felt (the supposed deluge of calls and letters never materialized). Gen. Oates has stated that surveys of in-theatre troops show that the vast majority just don’t care about sexual orientation the way they did in 1993.
Then she brought up Danny Choi. I had to think and search a bit, but eventually remembered that just three days ago, Lt. Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and fluent Arabic linguist, was arrested.
He and previously-discharged Captain Jim Pietrangelo handcuffed themselves to the White House fence – in uniform.
This is after Choi announced on the Rachel Maddow show that he was gay. Under the DADT policy, the Army had no alternative but to recommend firing him despite both the troops serving under him and his superiors defending him as an asset to their unit. What I’m failing to understand is how a commissioned officer arrived at the decision to pull such a stunt, in uniform, in front of the White House, before he’s fired. He was drilling with his unit just prior to the protest. What’s more, huge steps have been taken in recent months to begin the end of DADT.
This act set the gay community back light years.
Troops are forbidden from participating in protests while in uniform. Any employer retains the right to keep such a policy in place. For me, I could lose my job; for a soldier, it’s wanton disrespect to show up at the home of the Commander-in-Chief in uniform and handcuff yourself to the fence in protest of a policy that the C in C is trying to end. I don’t think Choi had in mind what kind of example he was setting for his troops. I think this was a purely political stunt. It’s one that’s going to cost us.
It wasn’t the first time he’s taken part in a protest while in uniform. He was also a highly-hailed speaker at the Equality March this past October – in his class alpha uniform. Then, as currently, he is still a commissioned officer in the Army National Guard.
It’s one thing to take a stand. It’s another to take that stand too far. I agree that Obama doesn’t have any sense of priority when it comes to this policy, but there are less disrespectful ways of rallying people to a cause. If you’re trying to win hearts and minds, you don’t act with the express intent of shocking those you are trying to convince. Those who might have been accepting of our cause have been very off-put by Choi’s actions.
Just when we’d taken a step forward, this protest took us two steps back. Now where do we go?