November 16, 2010
Gay Rights and the Killing Fields
Isn’t it interesting that gay rights activists and the left in general so own the DADT issue now that we no longer register a picture like this one — from a protest and photo op led by Lt. Dan Choi on Sunday — in terms of an older left-wing reflex, summed up by a Vietnam-era image like this.
While still struggling to wrap my head around the idea that Americans could take an American war for granted, I also marvel at the day-to-day compromise involved in fighting for a more humanistic killing machine.
These thoughts got into my head after spending two days at the National Communications Conference — one of the biggest get-togethers for professors of communications and visual communications, especially after attending a panel on militarism yesterday.
I wasn’t aware of Sgt. Leonard Matlovich before, or the fact his gravestone has become a rallying monument for gay vets. See the complete slideshow: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Activists Hold Vigil At Grave Of Vietnam Veteran.
(caption: The gravestone of Sgt. Leonard Matlovich is shown, at Congressional Cemetery on November 15, 2010 in Washington, DC. Sgt. Matlovich who died in 1988 was a Vietnam Veteran who a received both the Purple Heart and Bronze Star and was later discharged from the Air Force for being gay. An inscription on his tombstone reads “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.” Some “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal advocates consider Sgt. Matlovich’s gravesite to be a memorial to all gay veterans.)