While I would never presume that you will actually ever read this, I am going to write it anyway. The Supreme Court today, rejected, some yadda-yadda thing about DADT (I’m not trying to make light, I just really don’t know the details and for now, am too tired to study up on it. I do, however, know the gist.). A couple of weeks ago, the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, preventing gay couples from marrying in the State of California. It wasn’t that long ago that the same conversation took place about people of color in the military, women in the military, interracial marriage. It seems that gay is the new black.
You may wonder where a letter like this fits in a blog about being a parent. This is exactly the place it belongs. It belongs here on behalf of my children for whom I wish a world in which equal rights are a given, and on behalf of the children who have had to lose their jobs because of their sexual orientation. I write it on behalf of all children who would be safer because of having certain individuals back in the military protecting us rather than back here fighting for the very rights the rest us take for granted.
When you were running for president, you stated explicitly, that while you were not personally in favor of gay marriage, you were in favor of equal rights and that you would very quickly into your presidency, overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Now, I understand that you are a very busy man, running a country that was previously run into the ground, dealing with a war started by criminals, trying to rescue a sinking economy that was set afloat and then popped by your predecessor, etc, etc. You are busy, as am I. I don’t run a country, but I do run a household, and I can tell you that it is no easy task either. All in one week, washing machines break, brakes on 2 year old cars go, toilets back up, lamps short out, televisions flash their dying whatever it is they flash, children get sick, dinners need to get made, etc, etc. (BTW, I have been in chronic pain for the last 2 1/2 years as well and I am here to tell you that that in and of itself, is a bitch.) Like you, I have almost no time off, no time to myself, and people who rely on me for their every little (and big) thing.
O.K., to get to the point. We all have tasks that we put off, even willing to take on harder, more grandiose tasks, to avoid doing-tasks that (and here is the important part) when all is said and done, we imagine to be much harder, much more onerous, much more difficult than they really are. In our imaginations, we make the task bigger than it is and in doing so, we give the task power over us. (For an example, see my post from last week called “A Daunting Task.”)
You can, with the stroke of your pen, overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. There is a bill in the House called HR 1283, which, when it passes, will do just that. But meanwhile, you hold the power in your hand. You know the facts-since DADT became policy, 13,000 service men and women were released from their duties-men and women who actually want to be in the military, all the while extending tours of personnel who want to come home. There is no evidence that keeping gays and lesbians out of the military is of any benefit to our country and could, in fact, be a major detriment. The public, overwhelmingly (yes, church going Republicans, even), are in favor of ending DADT. It is time. It is a task, that I can only imagine, seems worse to you than it could ever actually be. Once DADT is repealed, the conversation around it will disappear, the people who support you will continue to support you, those who don’t will continue to not, and those that are now sitting on the fence, those GLBT folks who supported you in a big way and are having doubts, will have faith that they will see equal rights in their own lifetimes. We will have access to thousands more troops who can live their lives openly, willing to fight for and die for our country just like any other poor soul. (I can’t believe I actually just typed those words, considering what a pacifist I am.)
Let those in the military closet come out. Let those that have served long past their commitments come home. Reinstate those that were discharged and give them back their dignity and honor. You are a smart man, and the writing is on the wall. DADT will end. Let it be part of your legacy to end it sooner rather than later. I assure you, once you do it, you will realize that it is not nearly as big a deal as I am imagining you are imagining it. You face big, complicated, scary issues. This one is easy.
I’ll make you a deal. You overturn DADT (by weeks end, let’s say) and I will tackle those EOB’s and medical bills in the corner of my office. What do ya say?
Then I’ll give you an earful on healthcare…
Yes, You Can!
With the utmost respect and admiration,