So, this theory is mine. I’ve not read anything in the media about this. Although I’ve looked. And, I don’t hear anyone making the link although I’ve read “why” quite a bit as it relates to this story.
Why is the big questions that Americans want to know about in many cases where someone seems to turn against his own countrymen. How could any American turn on another. How could anyone, let alone a member of the military sell secrets to another. Or worse. In this case, just giving them away. What happened to loose lips sink ships?
In our jingoistic society, where America is the land of the home, brave, the free and the unspoken – chosen, how could anyone who is American not subscribe to the same notion that our country is the greatest on earth, without rival, without peer.
Now. Let me stop here and indicate that I do think our country is great. Whether it’s the best or greatest is all relative to the criteria. Do we take care of our children better than any other? In terms of education, or health care? Arguable.
Do we have the best record on human rights? Well. If you include gays and lesbians – clearly not. And herein lies my theory.
Here’s my own “why” to propose to you the reader: In a world where Private Manning is not valued as a person, as a human being by his own country – why would it seem so strange that he holds no allegiance to his tormentors?
The deal is just this. In America we don’t see how bigotry and divisiveness affect “all” of us. Some people may think, well “I don’t know any Gay people. So, not my problem”. Another may think “There are no Jewish people in my world so this doesn’t affect me”. And, still another may think “I have black friends – so discrimination doesn’t apply to me”. We ask Private Manning to serve, but we don’t allow him to be a human being. Anytime we practice intolerance of this kind it hurts all of us.
Here’s a person that dropped out of high school, grew up in conservative Oklahoma, may have transgender issues, and certainly is a proponent of dismantling of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and is reported to have felt not accepted by the military community. The bigger question of why belongs in the category of why do we think, as Americans, as human beings, that we can continue to ostracize people and not expect them to act in a manner that you or I might think erratic or irrational. In Private Manning’s mind, he may be using the only weapon at his disposal to strike back at a larger community – his country – that has refused to accept him.
I deplore the act he may have committed, but part of me also understands the lengths that some people would go to to find vindication for their existence. Let’s try and continue our efforts at dismantling homophobia. If my theory holds any truth, and as evidenced in this situation, homophobia hurts us all.