Earn it — do not say 'liberty' and 'all' until DADT is repealed AND gays have equality

by CynthiaYockey on May 31, 2010

The music in the video above is from Dvorak’s “New World” Symphony and is based on the gospel hymn, “Goin’ Home.” I am in the Bel Air Community Band and this is the music we play over and over during the “laying of the wreaths” ceremony for the fallen members of each military branch on Memorial Day at the Humbert Band Shell in Bel Air, Maryland. This year we are going to play “Abide with Me” during the ceremony:

In the movie Saving Private Ryan, Tom Hanks leads a squad to save a soldier whose brothers all have been killed fighting in World War II and just before dying in the climactic battle, he says to Pvt. Ryan of his sacrifice, “Earn it.” And then we see Ryan decades later, with the fruits of what the sacrifice of the lives of others has purchased for him — he is alive, with his wife and children and grandchildren, walking through a cemetery at Normandy to find the grave of the soldier who died for him.

The U.S. military has not earned the right — not on this day or any other — to say it fights to preserve liberty for all in America — not as long as it fights to keep gays and lesbians from serving openly and equally in the military.

It is very rude of me to bring this up but if I don’t say it here I will be heckling the speakers at my county’s Memorial Day service in a few minutes from the stage behind them. I belong to the Bel Air Community Band and this is how we spend the morning every Memorial Day. Last year, when one of the speakers began to talk about “liberty for all,” I just freaking snapped and almost left the stage. No — not “all.”

One of my ancestors was with Washington through the winter at Valley Forge. I am descended from colonists. My parents met working on the Manhattan Project. My father’s brother was a Flying Tiger. His other brother also served in the Army during World War II. My mother’s brothers — the ones old enough — served in the military in World War II. But I am not equal because I am a lesbian. Lesbians and gays may not serve openly in the military.

If you want the right to say “liberty” and “all” today, or any other day — earn it. Repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Repeal the “Defense of Marriage Act.” Include “sexual orientation” in federal, state and local civil rights laws. Put equality for gays and lesbians into the law. THEN you can say, “liberty” and “all.”

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mike higgins May 31, 2010 at 11:28 am

Cynthia, I like to review your site from time to time, because for the most part, I respect your views. In regards with DADT, I also feel it is time to repeal this “law”. But…there was a reason for for DADT. If I was to try to justify this arcane rule it would take me a very long time to try to express my views ( I never had the gift of expressing my thoughts on paper/screen). I was brought up as a military brat. My father was an officer in USAF. Never, ever, did i see discrimination in the military community. That is a fact that rarely gets noticed. If you had served in any military service you would have noticed that fact. The US Military is not some evil machine, the politicians who run it are. I am a direct descendant of the Blackfeet Indian Tribe. My father is the highest ranking member to ever come from them. My dad married my mom who was from the deep south. So, an indian and a southern belle do you think I was brought to have any inclination to be racially prejudiced? I think not. I brought this point up for you, to know that i’m not some hack that just wants to disagree with you ‘ just because’.
We all have some kind of “issues” with this great nation. For myself, it is definitely the unchecked greed that wiped out all of the natives of this country. That includes the east coast where you forefathers “colonized”. As you can see, sometimes it’s hard for me to get to the actual facts, because sometimes, the people making the argument ” don’t see the whole picture”. Which brings me back to DADT.
Here is a personal example of what was avoided with this law. As a college student, I walked into a shower one time( college swimmer and polo player), and while I was taking a shower buck naked, there was another person( not a college swimmer or polo player) across form me doing the same. This was a no big deal to me( I had done this thousands of time). Well, to say the least, i was totally freaked out to see that this male was getting aroused looking at me. As a young kid, I did not know how to ‘ deal with it”, so I left the shower room asap. Now, do you think that situation could have played out in a shower setting in the military? I do. And I feel that others probably thought the same thing. Does this make me a racist? Does this make me homophobic? No…it’s reality. Has society changed since i was in college, 25 years later, I would have to say “yes”. Has the US Armed Services changed over the years? I would “yes” to my question. Do I think the military is racist. No I don’t.
For you to say that the military has not earned “the right, or the liberty” is misguided. Because when you say that, you are basically calling all past and present military members racist. Like I was trying to say previously. This great nation isn’t perfect. Never has been, and probably will never be. I understand your anger, And I understand your passion for the “just right”. Believe you me. My head is ready to explode when I hear about politics.
Anyway…I just wanted to take the time to respond on Memorial Day in regards to your rant. I feel that todays was not a appropriate day to express your views on this. We all have to “pick our battles”. When you state you are “not equal”, you are right. I believe that myself. But, you and many others should direct your ” fight” towards our lawmakers. In regards to “our’ lawmakers. Do you think, that they think, we are all equal? I don’t think so. I think most are corrupt, self serving aholes. That’s where the “battle” should be directed. Sincerely Mike H

Cynthia Yockey June 1, 2010 at 8:35 pm

mike higgins,

I appreciate your thoughts, which you express so courteously.

Regarding my ancestors who were colonists — some time in the future I’m going to write about how the way societies structure themselves leads to thriving or stagnating. The indigenous peoples of North America had a tragically stagnant social structure. The colonists had a thriving and creative social structure. So there was “creative destruction” of the stagnant, primitive cultures.

As a lesbian, I am not equal 24/7/365. I think every day is appropriate for reminding Americans that gays are not equal for reasons that really boil down to religious discrimination. I devoted Memorial Day to showing up to honor our military and the service members who have died. I did not call them racist, so I don’t know why you brought that up, except to point out that you never experienced discrimination. To my mind, this shows the military can figure out how to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly whenever it wants.

Regarding who is responsible for discrimination against gays serving openly in the military and DADT, I notice the defenders of anti-gay discrimination love to send supporters of the repeal of DADT in circles — the military will blame Congress, Congress blames the military.

Actually, what set me off was a comment thread at Melissa Clouthier’s blog, Liberty Pundits, where someone was fretting about being looked at by a gay person in the showers. I thought that was ridiculous, but saved mocking it for a less solemn day. However, I see from your experience that you really were troubled and had no idea how to handle the situation. So now I realize that it is better to take a kinder and more serious approach and address concerns like yours by teaching people how to perceive these situations and conduct themselves in them. (Also — I need to know — in your mind, are porn movies a model for what you think gays would want to do when showering with straight men? That somehow it would turn into an orgy?)


Joe May 31, 2010 at 4:03 pm

All they need to do is shoot straight.

All who want to serve honorably, and are able to do so, should be welcomed.

Peter May 31, 2010 at 5:53 pm

The military did not choose DADT, the politicians did. The military is fighting those who throw gays off tall buildings and hang them from construction cranes. Sorry, Cynthia, the United States military is fighting those who would kill you, that should count for something.
.-= Peter´s last blog ..Memorial Day =-.

Cynthia Yockey June 1, 2010 at 8:56 pm


The military and politicians run gays around in a circle claiming the other one is to blame. They both did it and they both must undo it.

I spend my Memorial Days participating in the ceremonies to honor our military in a country where I am not equal. That should count for something. The military allow illegal aliens, felons and Muslims to serve — there is no reason to continue denying gays and lesbians the right to serve openly. And until gays and lesbians may serve openly in the U.S. military, they are not entitled to say “liberty” and “all” in the same sentence. They must earn that honor.


Amy May 31, 2010 at 11:15 pm

I DO think your timing is off (though on the flipside, when else would it have more impact?)…I am not on board with you painting “the military” with such a broad brush. Do you really believe that when a serviceman/woman tells himself he is fighting for “liberty for all” that he is willfully overlooking certain groups? Quite frankly I think the American soldier/Marine has every right to see himself as a defender of liberty for all…equality can be a long hard struggle, and nothing happens in a day. While the American serviceman may not yet be defending your right to equal marriage, he is certainly defending your right to advocate for same. You keep up your end of the bargain, and when the law changes, I guarantee the American soldier will keep up his.


Hope you had a lovely Memorial Day!

Cynthia Yockey June 1, 2010 at 9:03 pm


The gay press reports stories of American soldiers beating and killing their gay comrades that do not get reported elsewhere. So these were on my mind, as well. I haven’t heard of any stories of them beating up their Muslim comrades, who are sworn to kill all infidels and whose religion does not allow allegiance to country before allegiance to Islam.

Also, I’ve decided not to fight for my equality piecemeal — I am now framing these issues as a quest for full equality under the law. I really am requiring that the word “all” must be earned, not comped on spec.

But I still send love and hugs, too!


Lori Heine June 1, 2010 at 9:01 pm

I think it is very important to stress the difference between politicians tinkering with the military and the military itself.

Politicians have gotten untold thousands of brave young men and women slaughtered. This is the real obscenity, and it is responsible — also — for DADT. For the sake of their own, glorious little careers and the fattening of their own wallets, politicians have never been shy about treating our troops like pawns in a chess game.

Most of the frauds in high office who don’t give a damn about gays and lesbians in the service really don’t give a damn about the straight folks who put their lives on the line for this country, either.

It’s time THAT truth was emphasized. It isn’t straights against gays — it’s grandstanding, amoral politicians against decent Americans of every stripe.
.-= Lori Heine´s last blog ..A Wanderer No Longer =-.

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