I talk a big talk, but when it comes to actual action, sometimes I'm a bit lacking. I always vote, I donate money to organizations I believe in, but I'm not really one of those extremely motivated political activist people who is constantly up in arms about something and marching, demonstrating, and rallying. I'd like to think that if I was present back in the 1950s and 1960s, I would have been a big force for social change, but who really knows. I guess there's no accounting for laziness.
Last week, while killing time on Facebook, I noticed that a friend was attending an event called "Rally to Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'" at Freedom Plaza Thursday at noon. This caught my eye for several reasons. One, I'm always trying to help out the gays. Two, here was a perfect opportunity to participate in something I believed in. Three, Kathy Griffin was going to be there and I think she's really funny. And four, the weather was supposed to be gorgeous and it was a good reason to get out of the office.
It turned out there was a group of us who were interested so a bit before noon we struck out from the office to Freedom Plaza to get all fired up. I would say there were several hundred people there by the time the rally got started, plus many more just in general milling around and enjoying the gorgeous lunch-time weather. There were several speakers, whose names' escape me (I know, I suck), but they were all impassioned, articulate, and excellent. Kathy was funny, as usual, and described her adventures while sitting in on the Congressional hearings addressing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," as well as the various politicos she ran into. Also, she is SO TINY in real person. Practically pocket-sized.
Kathy ended calling up a soldier who had been discharged under DADT but had been invited back by his unit. I'm not sure how common that is, but apparently it does happen. His name I remember, Dan Choi, because he kind of hijacked the rally, told everyone he was marching over to the Whitehouse, and then chained himself to the gates. I am not making this up. He was then arrested, as can happen when you chain yourself to the Whitehouse fence. From what I have been able to read in the press, it was NOT planned by the organizers of the rally for this to happen, but it sure was entertaining. Although I'm not sure that is the way to bring about real change these days. Really it just kind of makes you look like a fool. I prefer to stick with mobilizing people through inspiration, not by getting my ass arrested. But what do I know? I've only been to the one rally.