Last night, Lt. Dan Choi debated Bishop Harry Jackson, a member of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and an “all-purpose activist and pundit for right-wing causes”, about ending the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy on DC’s WTTG Fox 5. Jackson regurgitated the familiar arguments about repeal undermining unit cohesion, military readiness and the religious freedom of military chaplains. Choi debated on the issue on Jackson’s turf. He recalled the lessons from Civil Rights movement and likened the prohibition of open gay service to racism in the military:
CHOI: I think when you fire people simply for their integrity, for their act of telling the truth about who they are, there is nobody who can say that any team, any organization is strengthened. When I put on this uniform, when I wore these clothes in combat in Iraq…I didn’t swear just to serve a certain kind of people. I didn’t swear to protect only a certain kind of religious liberties. I swore to protect everybody and for anyone on to get up on the TV and say that we cannot risk the truth or integrity, I think makes a mockery not only of what our country was founded on, but the Civil Rights movement and what scripture tells us. I was raised in a religious tradition as well and I…[...]
You know, something that we learned in Iraq is that when a military is subordinated to the interests of a religious minority or a religious group of any sort, you have the same kind of social problems that the Middle East has that the countries that we are trying to liberate and to improve have and I don’t think that America is built on those same foundations….I’ve faced racism in this country and homophobia and Harry Jackson I think it feels exactly the same.
“When you ask me why don’t I wait,” Choi continued, “I learned the same lessons in school from all of the Civil Rights leaders who said that our American promise is not just for some people, not just for straight people, but for all people and anybody who thinks otherwise I think needs to look at the history books again.” “Discrimination does not need to be studied. It is wrong, period,” he concluded.