My 35-Year Military Battle



MIRIAM BEN SHALOM X390Even more interesting is what we 13 who took to the fence in November are going through. The federal prosecutor served each one of us with a "Summons in a Criminal Case," hand-delivered by — are you ready? — U.S. marshals. Just like mafiosi. Further, the government is using an extremely obscure statute, Section 2.32(a)(2) of the United States Code of Federal Regulation, to prosecute us. This section has never been used before in a case involving civil disobedience at the White House; it is a federal charge that carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $500 fine. Trumped-up charges is putting it mildly; in fact, each of us is being criminally charged with a misdemeanor (nature unknown).

For two of us who are teachers, this could spell the end of our careers. We have asked for a trial since the federal prosecutor has refused to bargain other than to reduce the fines for some, but not all. We 13 are getting extra-harsh treatment because the government got mud on its face the last time it went to court against participants of earlier actions.

So the damage and nastiness of DADT remain and are even now still claiming hearts and lives. For myself, I have been fighting this injustice for 36 years, and I am getting ornery and do not feel like being civil. There are days when I seethe with the rage I carry and I wish I had done more — could do more. 2011 meanders on with good Americans being discharged; good Americans denied the right to serve again; and good Americans being refused the honor of service to country. I wonder if this damn intractable meandering will ever end.