I recently started a website: www.IntegrityInService.org – with the help of another friend – devoted to repealing Don’t ask, Don’t tell. I’ve been promoting the site through various email lists and discussion boards. I went to the Conservative Leadership Conference in Reno, Nevada. I’ll be hosting a booth during the Greater Dallas Veterans Day Parade this year. I’ll also be going to the annual Black Tie Dinner in Dallas in November.
This lobbyist asked me if I was partisan on my website. I stated that I am Libertarian, and while libertarian ideas of individual freedom were a key element to my message, I was not explicitly favoring or endorsing the Libertarian Party through the website. Any and all were welcome to visit and learn.
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This is when I was informed I had sold my soul. Funny, in a capitalist society, both parties should agree to the transaction, but I don’t remember agreeing to anything of the sort. I guess he thought he would help by reminding me? As the conversation continued he mentioned money numerous times. I advised him that all of the money for my site and for promoting it came from my own pocket. He also discussed the benefits of working with a large organization – like his – as opposed to small-time political entrepreneurs – like me. Whose soul is lost? And despite his organization’s obvious infatuation with the Democratic Party, he cautioned me to always be bi-partisan and walk down the middle of the road. It seems to me you’re more likely to be hit by a car if you walk down the middle.
I’ve been working on Don’t ask, Don’t tell ever since I was discharged from the Army in 2003. A lot of you might consider me a single-issue activist, and maybe I am. I’ve also been cautioned not to allow other issues – such as gay marriage – to distract my battle against Don’t ask, Don’t tell. And I don’t. What is hurting our work, however, is a failure to put Don’t ask, Don’t tell in context.
At IntegrityInService.org, I have established three core values: Freedom, Integrity and Responsibility. Together with the skill of leadership, these form the context in which I fight Don’t ask, Don’t tell. Every capable and competent individual should be able to serve in Freedom without having to compromise their Integrity. Every Freedom-loving American has the Responsibility to defend the Freedoms we enjoy. (Not necessarily in the military, for those who choose not to wear a uniform.) And when it comes to ensuring that all gay, lesbian and bisexual servicemembers are treated with the respect they deserve, Leadership is the key. These are values all Americans can appreciate, no matter what their sexual orientation.
This lobbyist talked more about money and the power it gives. He talked about discrimination and equal rights. He adopted his organization’s message as his own and everything he said parroted the organization. I gave up the discussion because it was pointless. At that moment he was not going to understand what I was trying to say. Maybe he sincerely believes everything the organization says, but based on our conversation, I doubt it. He seems to have resigned himself to play ball according to the rules of this one organization and to help them monopolize grassroots activism in the gay community. Their devotion to one party makes it difficult for me and others to work with this organization.
This Washington insider talked with a serpent’s tongue and tried to tempt me with sour, rotten fruit. Fortunately my grandmother took me to Sunday School every week, so I knew better than to bite. He never mentioned Freedom or Responsibility or even Integrity, values important to me. Money is much less important or why would I spend so much on activism which provides no financial return? But that’s what was clearly important to him. If he doesn’t value the things I do, I will look someplace else. But I’ve already find people whose beliefs are similar to my own, libertarians.
No matter how you read the Bible – as fact or fiction, I am not Judas Iscariot. I didn’t sell my soul for thirty pieces of silver. I didn’t take the easy road by selling out to a large organization only to be lost among thousands. I’m certainly not John the Baptist, even if I’m a voice crying out in the wilderness of the World Wide Web. And I’m not Jesus Christ either. But I’d much rather sacrifice myself as He did: one man giving his all for what he believes.