Friday, May 15, 2009

Dan Choi & Repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

A Letter from Dan Choi distributed by The Courage Campaign, sent to my email inbox two days ago:

Dear Jennifer,

In March, I went on Rachel Maddow's show and spoke three truthful words: "I am gay."

As an infantry officer, an Iraq combat veteran and a West Point graduate with a degree in Arabic, I refuse to lie to my commanders. I refuse to lie to my peers. I refuse to lie to my subordinates.

As a result, the Army sent a letter discharging me on April 23. The letter is a slap in the face. It is a slap in the face to me and it is a slap in the face to the soldiers who I have commanded and served with over the last decade.

I have served for a decade under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- an immoral policy that forces American soldiers to lie about their sexual orientation. Worse, it forces others to tolerate deception. As I learned at West Point, deception and lies poison a unit and cripple a fighting force.

That's why the Courage Campaign and CREDO Mobile are getting behind me today. And I'm getting behind them along with Knights Out -- an organization I founded to bring attention to the ways "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" undermines our national security.

I need your support. Please ask President Obama not to fire me. Click here to watch my recent interview on Rachel Maddow's show and sign the Courage Campaign's petition asking the President to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy:

In the ten years since I first raised my right hand at the United States Military Academy at West Point and committed to fighting for my country, I have learned many lessons. Courage, integrity, honesty and selfless service are some of the most important.

That's why my discharge from the Army is so painful. I am not accustomed to begging, but I am begging President Obama today: Do not fire me.

My subordinates know I'm gay. They don't care. They are professionals. My soldiers are more than a unit or a fighting force -- we are a family and we support each other.

Will you support me as well? Please ask President Obama to keep his promise and tell Congress to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and support equality in the military. Click here to watch the Rachel Maddow interview and sign this petition to the President ASAP:

Very Respectfully,

Daniel W. Choi
New York Army National Guard

Dan Choi's March interview with Rachel Maddow:

Rachel Maddoew's piece about Dan Choi's letter to President Obama:


Jenna McWilliams said...

Historically in America, we've seen abominable policies and laws wilt when public sentiment against those policies and laws reached a critical mass. We saw it with racial segregation and lynching practices; we saw it with various anti-woman work and legal practices. Now it appears we're seeing it with the shameful "don't ask, don't tell" policy. I've written about this on my blog, at I'd love for you to take a look!

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the comment Jenna--I enjoyed your blog post and wrote a lengthy comment there!

I do hope that there can be some grass roots movement on this from people who do see the connections of racial segregation and violence in the past and queer rights now.

givepeace05401 said...

As a nation we should be proud that such an exceptional young man wants to serve his country.

We need him more than he needs us.

seitzk said...

Wow. I am really in awe of the courage and eloquence of this man.

Jennifer said...

Thanks givepeace05401 and seitzk, I agree with both of you--Dan Choi is a man of principle and courage.