''He earned this ring. And I'm going to give it back to him. I don't need his ring to fulfill the promise that I made to him.... [audience chants, ''When it's signed!''] OK, that's good enough with me. When the bill is signed, I'll keep it safely, and give it back to him.''
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada during the Netroots Nation bloggers conference, after being given the Westpoint ring of openly gay Army Lt Dan Choi along with the discharge papers he had just received a few days ago. In a video posted online, Choi hops onstage to shake hands and hug Senator Reid, while receiving a promise from Reid to pass a bill -- assumably a bill to repeal the gay excluding military policy known as ''Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'' Reid has been the target of a group called Get Equal, which is also pushing the Senate Majority Leader to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
''The ring was a promise, and when promises are broken, it's hard to pick up the shattered pieces. For me, yesterday, I didn't have much of anything left -- career and aspirations had been stripped away. I still had that ring, though, as a reminder, that everyone ... has a resource, even when they feel beat down.... For Harry -- and we're are good friends, and he said taht we're good friends -- I let him know that 'You are my good friend, and that's why I am going to hold you accountable....' He asked me, 'Well, what do you want? ENDA or Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' It's an incredulous question to ask, thinking that it must be a prioritized one-by-one legislation. In my mind, I'm thinking, 'Discrimination is discrimination. But I looked into his eyes, and I said, 'Well, I'm a civilian now, so of course I'm going to want ENDA.' But it's not about me anymore.''
Recently discharged US Army Lt Dan Choi who approached US Senator Harry Reid in his home state of Nevada. Their exchange occurred during the Netroots Nation convention for progressive bloggers, and Choi adds here that people utilizing their laptops can make a difference. (TPM via YouTube)