One year ago today DADT was repealed in what has to be one of the crowning and defining achievements of the Obama presidency. There is no greater hope for us as Americans to see us live up to our sacred creeds of freedom and equality for all. Here we are, a whole year later, and the certain doom and despair promised by Republicans if they let “us” serve openly in the armed forces never came. We knew it wouldn’t. I wanted to take a few minutes and pause and reflect on what the demise of DADT has meant to me.
When I was in high school I was heavily recruited by the Navy. One day a uniformed officer came to class and talked about military as an option right after graduation and my interest was piqued. I actually met the recruiter and got permission to take an aptitude test of some sort. I scored really high and then there was a lot of talk about officer school and some sort of rank as soon as I completed boot camp. I remember being really interested and intrigued at the notion of serving my country. I loved the water (I played water polo and swam in high school) and I thought maybe I could even be a Navy SEAL one day. I ended up chickening out as a 4 year committment to anything seemed daunting to me at 18. When I was 26 I remember revisiting the idea of the military as a career but by this time I had already come out to myself and decided I didn’t want to hide or pretend to be something I wasn’t just to serve. I went to graduate school instead and my life and career took a different direction.
The fall of DADT, albeit years later, has meant to me that my country is finally starting to see me as an equal citizen with the same value and worth as everyone else. It means we are making true, real progress towards equality and including all members of society fairly. The fall of DADT means we are better off than we were 4 years ago and it’s just a shame we’ve had to wait so long to prove we are not the scourge of society like some try to make us out to be. Yes the economy is still struggling and we have more work to do on many fronts but there is nothing more American than the fight and struggle for true equality and lasting freedom. Abraham Lincoln once said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that are all created equal in the sight of God.” The fall of DADT one year ago says that too.