(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
This was so totally fitting for today, as the President gave a short on details and lackluster speech down in Louisiana, during day 12 of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill blowout.
SIX ARRESTED AT WHITE HOUSE PROTEST 5/2/2010 The Advocate
Choi, who has twice been arrested after handcuffing himself to the White House gates and has now been court ordered not to enter a certain perimeter around the White House, was joined by a handful of other speakers, including former Vermont governor and Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, Servicemembers United executive director Alex Nicholson, and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network executive director Aubrey Sarvis.
The protest came on the heels of a letter leaked late Friday afternoon in which Department of Defense secretary Robert Gates urged House Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton “in the strongest possible terms” to delay legislative action on repeal until the Pentagon completes its assessment of how to implement repeal.
On Friday, April 30, DOD Sec Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration, decided that the issue just couldn’t be studied enough. (Pity they didn’t do this sort of thing before invading Middle Eastern countries with not so many troops…. oh, that’s blowing things up. SNAFU IOIBTU Kaboom. Who needs civilian infrastructure. )
I believe in the strongest possible terms that the Department must, prior to any legislative action, be allowed the opportunity to conduct a thorough, objective, and systematic assessment of the impact of such a policy change; develop an attentive comprehensive implementation plan, and provide the President and the Congress with the results of this effort in order to ensure that this step is taken in the most informed and effective matter. [….]
Therefore, I strongly oppose any legislation that seeks to change this policy prior to the completion of this vital assessment process.
Choi, who has chained himself twice to the fence surrounding the White House, once with one other person and the last time with 5 others, this time led the protest of around 150 other people from across the street. During that time, 6 civilians quietly sauntered by the wrought iron fence and attached themselves to it. Dr Dean talked about Senator Carl Levin of Michigan and called him a hero, thanking him for his courage, saying he had the votes to put the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell on to the Defense Authorization Spending Bill coming up soon.
Servicemembers United Alex Nicholson seriously dissed WH Chief of Staff Rahm Anonymous Source Emanuel.
“He said he thought we had a 30 to 40 percent shot of repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ left this year,” Nicholson said. “You know why it’s not 60 to 80 percent? Because they don’t support us right now,” he added, pointing at the White House as the crowd cheered.
This comes on top of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi saying yesterday that the Obama Administration should not wait for Defense Secretary’s Gates and Admiral Mullen’s latest “study” review, but go ahead and do what was promised: end DADT.
“In the meantime, the Administration should immediately place a moratorium on dismissals under this policy until the review has been completed and Congress has acted.”
Senator Gillibrand of NY and Senator Mark Udall of Colorado also said that this should be done this year.
Alas, the response so far from the White House has been tepid, deferring to the Sec of Defense.
Lt Choi Returns to the White House May 2, 2010
“There are some who thought I wouldn’t be here because of a stay away order, I am technically not allowed to be much closer to the WH than here, where my feet are FIRMLY planted. Those of you who thought I would be scared, maybe that I would not want to come out here, in the same way you thought the army bringing me back was a way to censor me, …. or to make me afraid of telling the truth, I say look at us now, we are here, aren’t we ? I am still here, my feet firmly planted, I am still speaking out, I am still telling the truth, I am still proud of who I am, I am still serving as a US Army Officer, I am still serving my country, and I am still gay.”
I am somebody. Say it with me I am somebody I deserve full equality, right here, right now. (crowd chants)
Here today we are on the frontlines of justice we are fighting for the freedom to serve, the access to dignity, the right to truth and the responsibility to love….. I have been in combat…. of all the reasons to fight, love is worth fighting for. Love is worth the risk. Some of us have been thrown out of temples and mosques and churches, love is worth it. Some of us have been fired from our jobs, love is worth it. I believe that love is worth it because we are speaking out because of those who can not speak out for themselves. We are on the right side of history. Deep down in my heart, I believe we shall overcome, and that someday is now, right here. Dignity can not be purchased by a high salary.
(at about minute 4:45 something starts across the street and you can see the photographers and some others going across to check it out. )
(picture taken from youtube of civil rights rally posted here: http://gay.americablog.com/201… )
5/2/2010 Protest at the White House to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Can you put it into the Defense authorization? Yes you can.
Dr Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont, fmr chair of the DNC, at today’s protest.
This is a rough transcript of Dean’s speech:
Thanks community for coming out and standing up for what’s right for America and what is right for our military. “”If Dan Choi was still translating Arabic we’d be another step ahead of the game. The American people know this is the right thing to do, and they want to have a strong military the more people who are in the military who want to serve, the better military we have.”
Now Carl Levin is a hero, because he wants to put the repeal of DADT in the Appropriations bill (paraphase)
“that is the right thing to do for America, and I want to thank Sen Levin for his courage and be willing to get the right thing done. ”
“Let me make my case for equal rights not just getitng rid of DADT, but marriage equality and everything else. The fact of the matter is, the first guy to take a bullet, when Bush sent our troops to Iraq, Eric Alvis (sp?) was the first one to take a bullet. He is a gay man. If somebody is brave enough to take a bullet then they should have equality. This is about what kind of a country we are ,whether we stand up for those who stand up for us, and having the strongest possible military, Lord knows we are entangled in so many places around the world, we need everybody to stand and now it’s time to allow them to say who they are. Thank you very much.”
Thank you, Dr. Dean. That’s leadership.
5/3/2010 added photo of still shot taken from youtube, showing the other protestors for ending DADT across the street at the White House.