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!