President Biden’s recent decision to pardon former gay service members dishonorably discharged for their sexual orientation is a bold move that demands our attention. However, this long-overdue correction of past injustices is undeniably a positive step for our country, the timing—right on the cusp of his reelection campaign—reeks of political grandstanding.
As a former Navy SEAL, I’ve witnessed firsthand the sacrifices made by my fellow service members, including my fellow SEAL teammate, Brett Jones, and it’s infuriating to see these brave individuals used as pawns in a political game.
This action should have come much sooner, highlighting a glaring opportunism (a big problem in modern U.S. politics) that cannot be ignored.
It’s also why I think career politicians like Biden should be sent to a remote part of Afghanistan with a box of MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) and left to fend for themselves.
For years, LGBTQ+ advocates have fought tirelessly for this moment. Yet, it took until now, on the brink of a heated reelection battle against Trump, for this administration to act.

Why wasn’t this crucial step taken sooner? Why wait until the final hour before seeking a second term to right this wrong?

The answer seems clear: political grandstanding.

By pardoning these service members now, Biden’s administration is attempting to solidify his support base among LGBTQ+ voters and progressives.

The military has a long and complicated history with LGBTQ+ service members. The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2011 was a landmark victory, but it didn’t erase the scars left by years of discrimination. Thousands were forced out of service, their careers and lives upended simply because of who they loved. These pardons are a step toward healing, but they should have come much sooner.

As a former Navy SEAL, I understand the importance of unity and trust within the ranks. Discrimination, in any form, undermines the very fabric of our armed forces.

The pardoning of former gay service members is a move in the right direction, but the timing of this is also a reminder that while progress is being made, it often comes at the convenience of those in power.

It’s up to all of us to hold our elected leaders accountable and ensure that no one is ever forced to choose between their identity and their duty again.

As we reflect on this moment, let’s honor those who were wronged by standing firm in our commitment to equality and by demanding genuine, timely actions from our leaders—not just when it serves their political interests.