At the LGBT Netroots Nation pre-conference, all the queers agreed to really listen, engage others’ ideas with an open mind, and never resort to personal attacks or drama. But apparently no one told Dan Choi.
During his panel entitled, “What to Do When the President is Just Not that Into You,” Choi ripped up a campaign volunteer’s pamphlet and threw it at him. The reason: the Obama campaign volunteer tried to tell Choi about the President’s position on marriage equality. Way to keep an open, drama-free mind, Mr. Choi.
Here’s what happened:
Lt. Dan Choi ripped up an “Obama for America” pamphlet that a campaign volunteer delivered to the stage as he tried to explain the President’s position on marriage equality, Think Progress reports.
Said the volunteer to Choi, and another member of the panel: “I can’t say I’m for marriage equality, but as a bisexual man, I would take a bullet for both of you.”
The young man was Nick Tschida, an Obama campaign volunteer somewhere in his teenage years or in his early twenties.
Choi became angry [at Tschida], tore up the flyer, and threw it at the man, saying, “Did you not understand? Here! I believe that I’m an equal citizen.”
Replied the volunteer: “I understand that, but Obama hasn’t gone officially on record for it…”
Said Choi: “Then, don’t tell me that I’m a bad person, go tell him that he should believe in my full equality and then report back.”
When asked about it later, Choi said:
“Sometimes love comes in harsh forms. I love my detractors enough to let them know when they are misguided and I only regret that we are both suffering under a second-class citizenship imposed by politicians who smile pleasantly while denying our fight for justice. The harshest treatment would be our acquiescence to the view that we do not deserve equality.”
By all accounts, Tschida was saying that as a volunteer for the Obama campaign, he could not publicly support marriage equality because it could be construed as the Obama campaign supporting marriage equality—a position they’re currently backing off from.
It’s too bad that Choi reacted so dramatically and shut down the young man instead of actually discussing, y’know, what to do when you’re not so into the President. You’d think that being at a progressive conference for social rights, Choi would display the kind of engagement, tact, and leadership that befits a military officer and a queer political figure. But instead he drama-queened out, ensuring his media spotlight and overshadowing the actual content of his panel.
We usually support Choi in his endeavors but not this rude conduct. Like glitter bombing, at a certain point he has to ask what effect he intended to achieve with his humiliating display beyond shaming a member of our community over an earnest attempt to discuss queer politics.