"“Why would you ever join an institution that openly discriminates against you?” This is a question I am often asked when on the road, to which my response usually begins, “Well, I was unaware I had the honor of being included in that discriminated class at the time…” I had no clue I was gay when I joined, and so that wasn’t a deciding factor at any time during my lengthy visits to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), nor was it when I finally had the honor to raise my right hand and promise to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But that’s all irrelevant, as I think I still would have joined had I already come to terms with being gay. And I still would look back on my time in the military with no regrets.So begins the Veterans day post of my friend, Veteran Jarrod Chlapowski of Servicemembers United--the premier organization working to overturn the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and the military ban on gays and lesbians.
The military is such a unique institution. We – those serving and who have served – often complain of the slow bureaucracy that somehow integrates itself into everyday life in the military, but it really is amazing that an institution of over 2 million active duty and reserve members accomplishes anything, let alone in such a coordinated fashion. Cohesion, here, really is key, which is why the word rings so powerfully for those who have served."
Jarrod knows I'm a conscientious objector, but he also knows I am very much against the discriminatory Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, and that I have a great deal of respect for those that serve their country in honor.
As the grandson of two proud very Progressive and liberal Veteran men who both supported my rights as an American, and wanted me to be equal in every way, Happy Veterans Day to all.