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Friday, June 19, 2009

 

Obama, The Betrayal, and The Way Out Of This Mess

WASHINGTON - MARCH 14:  U.S. Sen. Barack Obama...

So it's probably time for me to weigh in on the Obama-as-homophobe business. Because I've been hearing from friends (interestingly enough, all of whom supported Hillary in the primaries) that Obama has finally been revealed as a sham, an empty suit, and worse, a despicable betrayer of promises to the LGBT community. And because the other 5,784,419 blogs writing about it apparently aren't enough.

What to do. What we got here is a conundrum. A puzzle. How DO you solve a problem like Maria.

Here are my random, sprawling, incoherent thoughts on the subject:

1) You can't deny the facts. The fact is Obama has done nothing -- zero, zip, nada -- to improve the lives of LGBT Americans in the first five months of his presidency. The "benefits memo" yesterday doesn't count, since it had no health care provision and was an obvious attempt to cover the president's political ass over the DOMA brief scandal (which MIGHT, I say MIGHT, not have been as homophobic as you've heard). Obama, judging on his performance so far, must be considered a complete and utter failure to the LGBT community, and we've got every right to be furious about that.

2) But. Obama still has 3 years and 7 months left to deliver on his promises to the LGBT community. So calling him a traitor and a liar is premature at best. He may, deep in his heart, truly hate us...but there's no evidence for or against that idea yet. No major movement in the first five months strikes me as completely understandable...as a manager myself, I know it would take me at least that long to change significant policy, and I only run a small theatre organization.

3) We never learn, do we? LGBT people have been here before...in 1992, to be precise. Back then, we had suffered under a two-term Republican president and Congress, only to elect a "different kind of Democrat"...and realize that the promises that Democrat made to us were pretty empty. Sound familiar? The last name then, by the by, was Clinton, for anyone feeling high and mighty.

4) What needs to happen now: Obama MUST move on social issues...trying to avoid them is merely delaying the inevitable. I know he doesn't like to tangle with conservatives; in fact, I and many others elected him for that very attractive quality of thoughtfulness and his bent towards bipartisanship. But there's no wiggle room on equality...you're either for it or agin' it. We're for it. They're agin' it. It's time for him to put up or shut up.

5) It's our own fault. Gay expectations for Democratic leadership are WAAAY too high. When will we learn that Democrats are BETTER than Republicans, but NOT a cure to all of the world's ills? And while I'm complaining, let's talk about the sorry state of gay leaders: LGBT action groups are pathetically incompetent to deal with this moment, and even Barney Frank has become an Obama stool pigeon. Ugh.

6) Listen up gay folk: if you wanted equality for you and your spouse above all other social and political concerns last year, you should have voted for the only true liberal who ran for President: Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich was the ONLY one who would have repealed DOMA on the spot. He was the ONLY one who would have overturned the military ban in his first 100 days. Not Hillary, Edwards, Paul or McCain. Remember, because when Kucinich runs again in 2012, you'll have another chance to pull the lever for him...and watch him lose (again).

7) But you didn't vote for Kucinich, because you knew better. You didn't. And the gay community didn't. And I didn't. Instead, we voted for a moderate centrist. He never lied to us about that; Fox News might call Obama a "liberal," but anyone who did the research knew better. Obama is a smart guy with good ideas and a near-pathological obsession with listening to all sides. But a progressive? Girl, please.

So this is where we are -- a president who doesn't respond to every whim of the left, including ours. A president who ducks what's ethically right sometimes, in favor of what he believes to be a larger vision. That's the car we bought, and you know what? We're stuck with it. So the best thing we can do, I think, is apply intelligent pressure to get him to keep his promises, and stop hoping he'll suddenly be someone he's not.

The boycott of the DNC fundraiser is a great start. The National March For Equality in October is not a bad idea, either (except it is the exact same day as Kylie Minogue's NYC concert, which is a scheduling snafu of Herculean proportions!). And get your letter writing, e-blasting, Facebook-linking jive on, and make your voice heard on the issue.

Because in the end, no one's going to hand you your rights. Not Obama, or anyone else. We're going to have to fight for them. So let's get to work.
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4 Comments:

Blogger qta said...

right on girl! Well said!

6/19/09, 7:18 AM  
Blogger Al In The County said...

Easily the best rundown of the situation I've seen on the intertubes. Bravo!

I am a regular contributor to Democratic candidates and the party. My way of showing my displeasure is a lot of no's when I'm getting the calls, and telling them exactly why.

I am, however, continuing to support candidates that are working for us - especially the 21 state senators here in Maine that made marriage equality a reality.

6/19/09, 7:49 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

I sure hope you're right about the long game. Because I keep getting the sense that in his heart of hearts, Obama thinks you make him feel icky and he's not inclined to spend any political capital at all on this. I'm sorry, but when he's embracing the full Bush Secrecy Monty and throwing EVERYONE who elected him under the bus, and when it looks like his "health insurance reform" is going to be a big sloppy wet kiss on the buttcheeks of the insurance industry, I've pretty much lost all hope for any kind of change coming from the cesspool on the Potomac.

And to make matters worse, John Fucking (literally) Edwards is putting his finger in the air to see if he catches a breeze.

It's almost enough to make me glad I'll be in Germany, sitting in front of a computer practically 24 x 7 doing grunt work for the next two weeks.

6/19/09, 11:19 PM  
Blogger libhom said...

Barney Frank is not one of our leaders. He always sells us out to help his career. The only queer Barney Frank cares about is Barney Frank.

6/20/09, 7:47 PM  

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