As you may have heard by now, Dan Choi made a bold gesture over the weekend to make sure that repealing DADT was on everyone’s minds at Netroots Nation. Refusing to sit back and let the repeal progress (or not) in the Department of Defense’s hands, Choi has written a letter to Senator Harry Reid and had it delivered to him along with his West Point ring in order to remind Reid of his commitment to ending DADT. At Netroots Nation in front of a liberal crowd of humans, Reid told Choi he’s gonna give the back to him when DADT is repealed. Which he’s gonna do, really soon.
Oh, gays. We’re always just trying to get our rings back and have them mean something.
July 24, 2010
The Honorable Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader:
My West Point ring has always symbolized an irrevocable promise: my commitment to serving America and my duty to defend freedom and justice. Today, with my discharge from the army for telling the truth, the ring takes on a new meaning, serving as a symbol for the enduring pain of broken promises.
America was founded on the principles of inalienable rights, equality, and the promise of justice for all. But today, Americans remain segregated from that promise. Fired from our jobs, discriminated in the military, denied equal access to our own integrity and acknowledgement of our families, we cannot conclude that our country has manifested its own promise, over 230 years later.
You have also made personal promises to me that the senate would repeal military discrimination before the end of 2009. Indeed, you sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary Gates, claiming that was the most you could do to save my career. You promised to lead on repeal of discrimination. I believed your promise because you are the most powerful senator in America. Truly, no one can do more. The false hope of your promise has been made real to me today with another letter: the letter terminating my military service.
But I present this ring to you, symbolizing my promise as a fellow citizen: my service continues.
I promise I will hold you accountable to your obligations to lead in the effort to end discrimination, both in the workplace and in the military. My promise is not merely written on a piece of paper or words alone, but in the hearts of every lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender American fired from their jobs because of broken promises from those who purport to be our friends. History will judge us and conclude that the greatest obstacles to justice were not the loud rants of bigots, but the quiet fears of those unwilling to stand firm in the fulfillment of their commitments. I refuse to allow my friends register themselves in history as obstacles to justice.
I commit to you my renewed pledge and continued service. To you and all those “friends” who manipulate, deceive and exploit our community, I will serve as a reminder of the consequences we all pay when allegiance to political careers takes higher priority than allegiance to America’s promise.
Lt. Dan Choi
US Army, Discharged under DADT
The letter that Harry Reid has addressed to President Obama can be read over at Pam’s House Blend, along with Dan Choi’s discharge paper. His letter coincides with the recent action by GetEqual calling on Harry Reid to use his power in the Senate to push for a repeal of DADT, video of which is available courtesy of Feministing:
It’s unclear as to how or how much this will influence Reid and other decisionmakers on the issue, but it’s certainly a strong statement and an inspiring action on Choi’s part.
Dan Choi has made some media visits since his discharge last week, also appearing on The Rachel Maddow Show, where this whole she-bang got started:
Kathy Griffin spoke about the issue on The Joy Behar Show but mostly just talked about herself: