Well, we won on the Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal battle, and last week was the one-year anniversary. Hurrah! Of course, it was touch and go, and despite the efforts of many valiant soldiers, lawyers and servicemember organizations, the President wasn't behind it until after the GetEqual protests at the White House gates, with the now-iconic photograph of servicemembers chained to the White House fence.
Dan Choi was arrested at the White House fence at one of the protests. They said he was blocking the sidewalk, even though he was standing on the fence ledge, not the sidewalk. And then, as we know, President Obama came to the rescue and got behind DADT repeal in a big way, as did many others within and without the Administration, and it happened. But what happened to Dan Choi?
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
Of course, Lt. Choi isn't dead, thank goodness, and Walt Whitman's famous poem about the end of the Civil War and Lincoln's assassination isn't comparable. But where are the flags being flung for Lt. Choi, and what bouquets and swaying masses are there for his heroic and selfless efforts?
He seems to have been abandoned by our community and our media after the battle was won.
I haven't seen anything in the LGBT media about his continuing fight. Federal prosecutors are demanding the maximum six months in jail and the government took away all his benefits and are even asking for thousands of dollars from Lt. Choi, bill collectors hounding him. These are the same prosecutors who insisted on disrespecting Lt. Choi, calling him "Mister Choi" in open court, refusing to use his military rank, until the Judge ordered them to do so. In fact, the Judge specifically found that there was sufficient evidence to permit use of a "vindictive prosecution" defense in this case.
Where is the love, people? Do you know what is happening to Lt. Choi?