DADT Repeal Grassroots Organizing at MacDill Air Force Base Airfest
March 22, 2010
This post comes from Karin Quimby, an HRC regional field organizer currently in Florida to organize support for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal.
This weekend in Tampa, Florida, Jeremy Kennedy and I attended the MacDill Air Force Base Airfest where thousands of families, young cadets, veterans and locals flocked to see the Blue Angels and other exciting military flight demonstrations. Wearing our HRC "Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" t-shirts enabled us to have many interesting conversations as we engaged Airfest attendees to talk to them about how repealing DADT will enhance military readiness by ensuring that talented, qualified military personnel are not discharged. We reminded them that military leaders like Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen support the repeal. We also talked about how DADT is the only law in the nation that requires people to be dishonest about their personal lives or risk the possibility of being fired. That’s not American. That’s not the freedom that our men and women in uniform are fighting for. One person asked, how can a person serve honorably if they are forced to lie? Americans recognize that on the battlefield, it does not matter whether a soldier is lesbian, gay or straight; what matters is that a soldier gets the job done. We were met with a variety of responses as we worked our way through the crowd. We got the occasional Bible quote of course, but the hushed thank yous and even a “high-5” from others reminded us of the overwhelming—if sometimes quiet—support for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. After this experience it’s clear to me again that the men and women serving in uniform, and the families and friends who support them, all deserve the thanks and respect that their sacrifice demands. The feeling of awe as the jets flew high overhead in formation seemed to punctuate this point. Repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will finally establish this respect for all those in uniform.
The time is now. Take action: Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell