Sen John McCain, Bigotry Endangers Lives of Our Troops

My response to John McCain after he whined (see below) about the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell:
Senator McCain, you say it's a sad day. Let me tell you a story.
Back in the mid-1980s, Airman First Class Todd Richardson was sitting on a floor in his military dorm room, drunk and thinking of killing himself. He'd just undergone 36 hours of interrogation under hot lights (the goons needed the practice). Finally Airman Richardson, 22 years old, could no longer deny that he'd had sexual contact with a fellow airman. The interrogators told him he would lose the security clearance required for the lucrative job he'd already lined up in Washington, and he would be dishonorably discharged. Airman Richardson had every reason to believe that his life was over.
Fortunately, his (straight) Air Force buddies found him, asked what was the matter, and then said, "So, you're gay? Richie, who cares! C'mon, let's get you up and something to eat." They didn't let him out of their sight till they knew he was sound.
Senator McCain, no matter what you and Sam Nunn have said, that's the bond that saves lives in combat and otherwise!
Airman Richardson spent the final two months of his enlistment sweeping the parking lot of the building where he previously had handled top-secret communications. Then he came home to Pasco County, Florida, ashamed of himself and with uncertain prospects.
Fortunately (again), Todd's family along with his own spirit and drive -- a discipline he learned in the Air Force -- picked him up and got him moving again. A quarter-century later, Mr. Richardson continues to have a rich, creative and self-supporting life. Many people love him. He still loves his country.
Still, the harm remains from what such unfounded, irrational bigotry as yours has caused. Not everyone was as resilient as Airman Richardson. And every branch of our military has lost valuable talent and commitment in these intervening years.
Please recognize that wiser heads than yours have finally prevailed. America's defense will remain strong, even stronger, when all of its qualified and well-trained people are allowed to serve. And your remarks will be regarded tomorrow as the same sort of claptrap that has defended every other form of wasteful bigotry, until history and the people who make it have awakened.
Jim Harper
Tampa, Florida
..."Today's a very sad day," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a leading opponent of the measure. He blamed elite liberals with no military experience for pushing their social agenda on troops during wartime.
"They will do what is asked of them," McCain said of service members. "But don't think there won't be a great cost"....


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