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Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Today, the Advocate published a statement from President Obama that highlights the progress this country has made at the federal level on LGBT rights.  Although Obama has not come out and directly supported marriage equality, I believe he is beginning to signal that, during his next term, he will call on Congress and the nation to not only repeal DOMA but to grant gay and lesbian couples the 1,000+ federal rights and responsibilities enjoyed by non-gays.  His statement to the Advocate includes the following clue:

My Administration will continue to seek out avenues for progress. Together we can continue to build the more perfect union in which LGBT Americans have the same legal rights and responsibilities as every American.

Certainly, I don’t want to have to wait for another term before we move forward as a nation on this issue.  Yet, imagine the consequences if the President called for marriage equality right now.  It would be unnecessarily divisive.  It would jeopardize his re-election campaign.  It could even cost him the election.  Where would that leave us?

I’ll tell you.  It would leave us with an administration that, without a doubt, would do everything in its power to keep marriage equality from becoming a reality.  It would leave us with an administration that would try to erase the progress we have made in the past 3 years.  It would leave us in the hands of rabid conservatives, hell-bent on turning this country into a theocracy.

So, I ask the LGBT community and its allies to hold fast and tight to the progress we’ve made.  I implore you, however, not to demand that the President jeopardize our progress by making an ill-timed call for marriage equality at this moment, when so much–LGBT rights, women’s rights, civil rights, health care, another war (Iran), a stronger economy, and so much more–hangs in the balance.  As I have said before, lasting change is incremental and true progress must be measured and concerted, not haphazard or hasty.

 

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There was a time, in the not-too-distant past–2009 to be exact, when the gays were in an absolute FROTH, screaming and kvetching over what they saw as a lack of support and forward motion by the Obama administration on GLBT rights.  This article provides an amazing summary of those criticisms, but because you dicks won’t click on links, I will highlight some of the whining from days-gone-by:

  • Obama made campaign promises to woo the gays, but then didn’t follow up on them
  • Obama hosted a White House party in 2009 to assuage the gays and to get them comfortable with the slow pace of change he advocates
  • Obama is out of touch with the GLBT community’s basic desires
  • Obama hasn’t repealed DADT
  • Obama has done nothing to enact ENDA or the Matthew Shepard Act
  • Obama has been painfully silent on our rights since taking office
  • Obama’s timeline to “get things done” spans 3 years and we want our rights right-the-fuck now

Unlike the rabid gay contingent, I have always believed that change is incremental.  Nothing would have been more counterproductive, more polarizing, more wasteful than if Obama had swooped into office and made sweeping changes in the first few months of his Presidency.  It would have set everyone back, not just GLBT people but all progressives.  Similarly, nothing would have been more counterproductive, more polarizing, more wasteful than if an organization like the Human Rights Campaign had thrown a hissy fit and driven a wedge between the GLBT community and the Administration.

Yet, along with the criticism faced by the Administration, HRC was lambasted–excoriated–for being pacifist and complicit in Obama’s alleged failure to do anything.  Its President, Joe Solmonese, was personally attacked because he was seen as “too patient” and “too comfortable” with Obama’s lack of immediate action.  In response, Joe sent an email to HRC’s membership, in which he stated what I have always believed–change is incremental:

More importantly: today, and for the next seven years and three months, Barack Obama is the most powerful person in the world, with the largest bully pulpit, and the most power to effect change. To do the work, we have to work with our supporters in Congress and with the Administration. Whatever you think of the Administration’s first nine months, you don’t pass laws by sitting out. You pass laws by sitting at the table.

Some very short-sighted and ridiculous people read into Joe’s comments that HRC was simply going to stand by and let GLBT rights fall into our collective laps.  He and HRC were once again thrown under the bus by critics like Andrew Fucking Sullivan (really, what has his negative attitude and divisiveness done for any of us?), Michelangelo Signorile (same), and even our own local whore, Dan Savage (who at least has DONE something to make things better, particularly for GLBT youth) for being the President’s gay apologist.  Of course, Joe Solmonese is a lot more politically correct and measured than I am, and so he issued an additional statement on HRC’s website, which read in part,

Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was the reaction some people had to my comment that on the last day of President Obama’s term, we will be able to look back on many accomplishments in LGBT rights. I still find it hard to believe that anyone thought I was saying that we should be content to wait patiently for our equality. What I said—and what I believe in my heart—is just the opposite.

It is now just a little more than 2 years since the fracas over Obama’s alleged lack of plan or ambition on GLBT rights, and look where he, along with the measured, deliberate, and focused help of HRC and Joe Solmonese, have taken us.  DADT has been repealed.  The IRS, for better or worse, is recognizing our relationships.  The Mathew Shepard Act passed.  Hospital visitation rights for GLBT families is now the law.  The Family Medical Leave Act covers our families.  The Ryan White Act was extended.  Gender identity was added to the federal gov’t list of protected classes.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave an unbelievably controversial and stirring speech to the United Nations about GLBT rights.  The President has called for the repeal of DOMA.  I literally could go on and on.

But I won’t go on except for one more thing.  One especially important thing to me as a citizen of the State of Washington.  Governor Gregoire has said that President Obama’s leadership on GLBT issues was the inspiration that cause her to step up to the plate and go to bat for us.  And she knocked it out of the ballpark.

Just like President Obama, Gov. Gregoire had help from many organizations, primary among them HRC.  HRC’s local volunteer leadership, many of whom are my friends and people I respect, worked and will continue to work tirelessly to defeat Ref. 74 and protect our newly recognized equality.  Some of them have even taken leadership positions in the Washington United for Marriage coalition.  HRC has paid staff people on the ground here in Washington working on Marriage Equality who are also giving everything they have to defeat Ref. 74 in November.  HRC has created a PAC just for Washington’s fight.  You get the picture.

What is my point?  Change is incremental, and incremental change is the only way to effectuate change that is lasting.  Sure, we still have battles to fight–in a measured and respectful and deliberate way.  If we continue to be reasonable and focused and strategic, we will win.  Remember, you attract more bees with honey than with vinegar.

To the naysayers and the critics of Obama, his Administration, and HRC, I say,

I told you so.  You think you can do it any better?  You think your divisive, scorched-earth approach to attaining equality will get us further in the long run than the approach taken during the past 3 years?  Then why don’t one of you or one of your preferred gay rights organizations pick up the phone  and call on the President of the United States to attend dinner and address the entire GLBT community not once but twice (2009 and 2011).  Why don’t you call on him and demand that he take immediate action on remaining GLBT issues?  Why don’t you try to elect a President who will do it better, faster, and with longer-lasting results?  Why don’t you do some of the heavy-lifting around here so HRC doesn’t have to do it all?  Oh, what’s that?  You or your organization do not have the political capital to make that happen?  Oh.  How odd!  Then I guess it’s time for you to shut the fuck up.

Finally, Joe is leaving HRC at the end of March after 7 years of excellent leadership and service to the GLBT community.  His will be hard shoes to fill.

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Today was a pretty great day.  Great weekend, really:

  • The weekend started with the whole world celebrating a Royal wedding, proving once again that no matter how you feel about the English Royals, they at least bring a level and sense of refinement and respect that certainly would not otherwise exist in the UK (see, e.g., the United States of America, which foresake the monarchy some 250 years ago).
  • It cotinued into Saturday with wine and food and gathering with great friends and family.
  • On Sunday, the weather in Seattle actually made me want to keep on living for another day, not to mention I spent the entire day in the out-of-doors with my honey and my darling spawn, who, at 2 years of age, constantly surprise and amaze me.
  • And the weekend culminated with the suprise announcement that Osama Bin Laden received all the justice owed him today.  He happily took the lives of innocents, he admitted it, he encouraged it, he financed it, and he mocked the collective and individual pain he championed and caused.  Continuously.  Year after year.

Yet, a weekend that started with dignity and respect in the form of the royal wedding; peaked with relaxation and reward with family and friends; and segued into satisfaction at knowing that justice had truly been served, ended on such a sour, bitter note for me.  Why?

Because Americans are assholes.  The celebrations–crowds at the White House and Times Square and elsewhere, fireworks in Seattle, horn-honking, tweets from twats–make the world hate us more.  We look like we do not think before we speak (or celebrate).  We look like we have no appreciation for why someone might hate us so much that they would do anything to kill us at home or abroad.  Not only do we not appear to have learned a lesson about how we comport ourselves on the world stage but we look like we don’t believe that we had any lesson to learn.  More dangerously, we act like this is somehow the end, the final chapter, the last word, in what is a holy and social war.

We think we are fucking awesome. We are self-congratulatory and self-righteous.  We are braggarts.  We are arrogant.  We are crass.  We are disrespectful.  We are ignorant.  We are fools.  More shockingly?  Tonight, we are gloating.  And the entire world is watching.

No one likes gloating.  People who gloat are assholes, and everyone wants to knock gloaters back down.  Our behavior tonight only ensures that the cycle of violence and hate and murder will continue, over and over and over again.  Fuck us all for not having the good sense to mark the occasion with decorum, dignity and refinement, which we might have retained if we had not revolted from British rule in 1775.

Silver Lining:  Democrats look strong, and this turn of events bodes well for 2012.  Obama’s announcement was nearly perfect, except for the fact that he invoked God, who is, quite honestly, part of the problem.  Religion sucks.

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It has been a long, long time.  I know.  Get off my rump.  I’m busy, bitches.  I’m no longer a Horse of Leisure as in days past.  Now I’m a Horse of High Power and Status, both saving and dominating the world at the same time. 

And yet, I cannot let today’s stupid, worthless lead news story pass by without some comment, can I?  You know the one:  Harry Reid is a big, fat, white racist who hates Obama.  Horse shit.  I just wish Harry had been as smart and savvy in his response as I will be in just a few more words.  Pay attention.

First, let me memorialize the words uttered by Harry Reid for future reference and posterity (and I paraphrase):  Obama is attractive to white voters because he doesn’t speak Ebonics (unless he wants to speak Ebonics), he is light-skinned, and he is mixed-race.

No shit, Sherlock.  I mean, seriously:  Does anyone really believe that Reid didn’t or doesn’t support Obama as POTUS (President of the United States)?  Does anyone think that Reid meant to say, “Obama isn’t qualified to be President because he is black” or “Obama isn’t qualified to be President because he isn’t BLACK ENOUGH”?  No?  Ok, good.  So what is the other possible explanation?

I know, I know, I know.  Reid’s comments are a recognition that a substantial proportion of American voters are actually RACISTS who would be more likely to vote for an African American candidate that speaks like them and looks more like them than, say, Rev. Al Sharpton.  Bingo, bingo, and FUCKING B-I-N-G-O

No, really.  Listen to me.  If you only open one link related to this blog post, it has to be the last one I just posted, which discusses the Fishtown or Bradley Effect.  What is it?  When white, racist voters actually cast their ballot in favor of the black candidate over the white one.  I’m serious.  It’s an actual, documented EFFECT. 

So, what’s my point?  Harry Reid fucked up today.  He apoligized as if he or his words were acutally racist.   Instead of foisting himself on his own petard, he should have said, “Hey, douchebags.   This country is full of racists and racism, and the only black candidate who could possibly be elected is one who looks, speaks, and acts white.  Sad but true.  My comments were simply a recognition of that sad fact, and they were perfectly accurate and not racist.  Let’s hope Obama can change hearts and minds on the issue of race.  Go Obama!”

Oh, and Harry, if you’re reading this blog, you can quote me WITHOUT ATTRIBUTION.  You can call these comments your own, because I’m sure they are what you meant to say.

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A very smart friend of mine alerted me to this “Open Letter” to annoyed Americans, which is positively brilliant.  I couldn’t have done better myself, and I tried.  One of my favorite quotes from Greg Laden’s “Open Letter”:

Chance are, as a moderately to very well educated American, you can barely identify one in ten of [prior Nobel Peace Prize recipients]. So please consider the possibility that you have, as many of us do, too narrow a perspective to be shooting your mouth off about what kind of job the Oslo committee did.

Mr. Laden, thank you.  That my own blog post was rooted in the same astonishment and incredulity as yours is music to my ears.  Harmony, to be sure.  Except for one discordant note:  You are much kinder and more polite than I.  “Moderately to very well educated American?”  I can’t believe that well-educated Americans are annoyed.  If they are truly well-educated–minimally, moderately, or maximally–they surely recognize Obama’s accomplishments and potential (in general and specifically as they relate to the Nobel Prize) and can at least admit that Obama was qualified to receive it.  Perhaps with bemusement, but certainly not annoyance.

If not, then may I propose a new term for them?  “Educated fools.”  A study in contrasts.  Like “working poor.”

P.S. (10/12/09):  Rachel Maddow on “Obama Derangement Syndrome.

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Obama’s Peace Prize

The arrogance of stupid people is astounding.  Unbelievable.  Maddening.  Watch this . . . 

Raise your hands if you think you are smarter than the Nobel Peace Prize Committee!  From Twitter: 

Peace out Twatters!

Peace out Twatters!

@sceptress: Obama’s dog BO is prob. a Nobel runner up after taking a crap on capitalist pig AirForce One.  [What?  Incoherent much?]

@glennbeck Nobel Prize committee awards its 1st ‘participation’ trophy. gd job Prez Obama 4 participating! Who’s so cute? Yooouuuu R.  [Yes, the real Glenn Beck.  I swear to god that I am not making that up.  I think he must be retarded.]

@frazzledhaloz What the shit I go to sleep and wake up to find Oblahblah has go tthe Nobel peace prize?  [This is my favorite Republican TweetBot.  It blocked me from following it.  Allegedly, it’s a grandmother of 5.  In two months she has posted nearly 15,000 twats.  All day and all night.  She’s either a Wonder-granny, a bunch of college kids earning a little beer money, or a meth-head.]

Douchebags.  And these are only 3 of millions of douchebags who think they have the right–nay, the responsibility–to speak out against the Nobel Prize Committee and its selection of Obama as the recipient.

NEWSFLASH:  Nobody asked you.  Fuck, nobody asked me for that matter.  But the difference between you and me is that I don’t pretend to know better than the Nobel Committee.  Oh, and I am not so blinded by being a douchebag that I can’t at least understand why he was nominated, let alone selected, to wit:

  1. He has restored the world’s faith that America will wage peace, not war, even before he was elected.  America has always been a strong and commanding voice on world peace, earning the respect of other nations and leaders.  Except for the past 8 years, when global peace was jeopardized BY AMERICA and its small-dicked leadership.  Obama restored much of America’s credibility on the issue of peace simply by being willing to engage the world in discussions about peace and disarmament, let alone taking action in pursuit of those goals. 
  2. Action?  Yes.  He reached a tentative agreement with Russia and later chaired a UN Security Council Summit on nuclear disarmament .  He met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to discuss peace.  He implemented a plan to end the Iraq war.  He issued an order to close Guantanamo.  He has traveled around the world, meeting with world leaders, reassuring them of America’s renewed commitment to peace.
  3. The Peace Prize is not just a recognition of past efforts, but it is aspirational, too.  The Prize could very well have been given to Obama as a mandate for additional progress, to lend credibility to his voice and his ongoing efforts, or as a token of hope and faith from a watchful world. 

I could go on and on, but really, what would be the point?  He has a proven commitment to peace.  He has accepted the award as a “call to action.”  It is a sign that the world believes in his power to affect change in the world, and perhaps his receipt and acceptance of the Prize will create its own self-fulfilling prophecy.

We can only hope . . .

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