Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Darren Manzella: Soldier and Gay Hero
Darren Manzella is a U.S. Army medic who decided to challenge the ridiculous Don't Ask Don't Tell policy by telling his commanding officer he is gay. And showing him pictures of his boyfriend to prove it.
Only to be told he isn't gay...and to go back to work immediately.
Because although the Pentagon has discharged 12-thousand gay and lesbian soldiers. Now there's a war on they don't want to lose them. So now they're not just bigots...they're hypocrites as well
Manzella told his story to 60 Minutes the other night and you can watch it here.
And today he explained why.
I have served with many men and women in Iraq, Kuwait and throughout the United States. In my opinion, they do not care if a service member is gay or straight. These men and women are my brothers and sisters in arms and I am the same to them. I know that what matters to most is not the sexual orientation of the person in your unit. What matters most is if that person is a good worker, a team player and most importantly, if that person has your back when it really matters...
Which every soldier knows is true. But still didn't stop the religious hatemongers from mouthing off.
“If the bleeding-heart lefties over at CBS News and the SLDN really want to do something to support our troops and help the military, they should abandon their attempts to radically alter and undermine the armed forces, pipe down, put a cork in it and let our brave fighting men and women win this war on terror.”
And insulting all the gay soldiers who are fighting and dying today. Or all those...and their buddies who fought and died in other wars.
But of course it isn't just a soldier's story.
As Andrew Sullivan points out the policy is aimed at all gay people.
I guess it's a sad but useful reminder that gay people - even those who risk their lives to defend their country - are still, in the eyes of the Republican base, a sub-moral caste of undesirables, people whose presence in any institution - the military, the academy, the priesthood, civil marriage - inherently debases it. There is, alas, nothing we can do to rebut this - no act of courage we can display, no love we can profess, no virtue we can uphold, no family we can defend to prove our civic equality and human dignity. Our inferiority is a priori for the religious right. It makes us impossible to "bond with," because we are moral contaminants. That's what we've learned this past decade. And it's the only reason the policy remains in place.
Good for Darren Manzella and the men and women at SLDN. Their fight is our fight.
Darren is a gay hero.
The struggle continues...