Monday, April 6, 2009

1000 Reasons

On November 30, 2007, when 28 flag officers (generals and admirals) publicly announced their support for repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ at a press conference we put on as part of SU’s ’12,000 Flags for 12,000 Patriots’ event on the National Mall, I knew it was only a matter of time before the One-Woman Side Show of Livonia (aka The “Center” for “Military” “Readiness,” aka Elaine Donnelly) rolled out her own list of 28 flag officers who preferred a return to the stone age… but that list never appeared. Then, when it was announced by the Associated Press some time later that this list of flag officers supporting repeal of DADT was up to over 100, I thought surely this would get Ms. Donnelly all up in a tizzy and prompt her to roll out her own list of 25-100 matching voices… but it didn’t happen then either.

I have to admit that I’ve been quite perplexed for some time about why our one-woman opposition hasn’t come forward with such an obvious and simple response to this remarkable statement in our favor by this list of distinguished, high-ranking military officers. I thought, surely with all of the homophobes and reactionaries out there she could at least get a few dozen to sign a statement supporting her and her “Center’s” (i.e., upstairs spare room’s) positions. Her positions, after all, do seem to be quite common amongst the reactionary, ultra-conservative crowd that would probably prefer a less effective military if it meant we could keep out the women and the racial minorities and the gays and take this hallowed $500 billion per year institution back to being an extension of a 1930s Alabama Moose Lodge. But, such a response never materialized… until now.

Alas, Ms. Donnelly has finally dropped her own bombshell, far out-doing our side for once. Last week, she released the list she’s been building up over the past year and a half – a list of flag officers signing onto a statement that includes all of the sound bytes one would expect coming out of Ms. Donnelly’s “Center” (i.e., her upstairs spare room). But how many flag officer signatures did Ms. Donnelly collect? Well, let’s just say that she gave us one thousand more reasons to believe what I’ve been saying for years… our community is too complacent, too believing of large organizational “leaders” who keep promising we’re on the verge of repeal (if only you’ll contribute just $100 more to their organizations), too reliant upon public opinion polls which procaim that the public is overwhelmingly on our side but which mask skewed intensity distributions, and too far in denial about how much work still needs to be done (and where it needs to be done) to bring this issue to the point where it is ready for some serious prime-time legislating again. It’s high time that reality be factored into the DADT Repeal Movement’s legislative, public relations , and grassroots strategies… SU to the rescue!


FrustratedOtherHalf said...

I'm new to blogger but just come across you guys and the work of Service Members United. This indeed a depressing development but am sure you guys have a plan in place to deflect this awful woman. Keen to support you in any way that I can. Let me have your email or some contact details for SU as keen to get involved.

Alexander Nicholson said...

Hey there, Frustrated... feel free to check out and click the "Join SU" link at the top right of the page to stay in touch and get involved. You can also email if you like. In the bottom right corner of this blog, you'll find links to a number of other SU member blogs as well. You want to check some of those out too. --Alex

Lee Waters said...

Hey, Alexander. I'm not a former service member, but I'm honored to know a few on Twitter who have shared their stories of how DADT did everything *but* improve unit cohesion.

I sometimes feel like it's not my place to get into DADT discussions, because unlike you and my Twitter buddies, I haven't earned that right by serving my country the way you have. I'm a Russian linguist by training and graduated in the mid-90s, so military service was never a realistic option, though I felt that my skills might have been useful.

Thanks for putting out all this information for those of us on the outside who feel that DADT is wrong. I'll pass the link on and be looking for other ways for people like me to help make a change for the better.

Thanks for your service and for this site.


David said...

It's really sad that they don't know or care about the suffering gay and lesbian service-members sometimes experience while serving in silence. I actually served before the days of DADT, and while I enjoyed most of my time in the Navy, I did have one bad experience that overshadows my time. If you care to share it with your readers, you can find the story on my blog.