DADT – Not Your Fight?
Published Thursday, 30-Sep-2010 in issue 1188
Every issue in the GLBT community has had the tendency to show why the ‘GLBT’ community uses individual letters to represent the different components of the community. It’s like staring at a bowl of Alphabets cereal in milk, when an issue comes along certain letters drift away.
We are all creatures of self interest to some degree, and there is nothing inherently wrong with that when it is counter balanced with an understanding that even as individuals we can be diminished by someone else’s loss.
Marriage equality - ‘I don’t want to get married’
Breast cancer - ‘I’m not a woman’ (men have them too)
AIDS - ‘That’s those gay guys’
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell - ‘Don’t want to join anyway’
Adoption/custody rights - ‘Don’t want kids’
Drug and alcohol issues - ‘I don’t hang
around those types’
The problem is this -
When one of us can’t marry or adopt - we lose a home for a homeless child and a possibility for our own future.
When one of us gets breast cancer or AIDS - we lose a future leader, or musician or entrepreneur.
When one of us falls into drug abuse or addiction - we lose a friend, or a customer or an executive.
When one of us is denied the opportunity to serve in our armed forces- we are weakened as a nation, we lose a technician, a medic, a translator and we also lose some part of our own citizenship.
Citizenship is a word that seems to have fallen out of favor in this age of rampant and unbridled individualism.
Ayn Rand in her book Atlas Shrugged extolled the virtues of individualism and idealized a mythical cast of productive elites who shed themselves of the collective burdens of society. Rand’s elites staged a collective ‘strike’ and withdrew themselves and their efforts from society. Miraculously saved from the ravages that befell their own society, the elites emerge to construct a new society in which self interest dominated and corporations were free of restrain.
It seems to me that we are living in Rand’s utopia
To Rand I would say that a nation in which its citizens have no investment beyond their own front yard is not a nation at all.
Citizens that can be excluded from some part of our nations collective rights and responsibilities out of mere capriciousness are certainly a diminishment to us all.
We don’t have to be Atlas, but surely the answer is not to just shrug.