Friday, March 19, 2010

Will civil disobedience spur action on repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?”

News of Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo’s arrest outside the White House yesterday afternoon spread quickly through the blogosphere and social networking sites, but their tactics and timing raise some questions.

Authorities arrested Choi and Pietrangelo after they handcuffed themselves to the gates of the White House as a way to protest “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Federal police officers also took activist Robin McGehee into custody after she reportedly helped Choi and Pietrangelo handcuff themselves to the perimeter.

This act of civil disobedience certainly reminds the American people and their legislators DADT remains an important issue for some, but will it actually change additional hearts and minds? Health care reform, job creation and other bread and butter issues continue to dominate the agenda on Capitol Hill. And while Choi and Pietrangelo should be applauded for their impassioned efforts to allow gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military, it remains doubtful their decision to chain themselves to the White House fence will generate anything more than a series of dramatic visuals and reactionary press releases and pro-DADT repeal statements.

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