Sara Whitman

American, First and Foremost

Filed By Sara Whitman | June 25, 2008 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, gay marriage, John McCain, LGBT community, marriage equality, Obama Pride, one man one woman, same-sex marriage

A recent response to me, personally, was that I was being selfish and narcissistic for pressuring the Obama campaign about marriage equality.

He said he was an American first and foremost.

Aside from my clearly narcissistic need to clear up the discussion- I was merely asking Obama to not get on national television to tout his "one man one woman" political pandering and then have the nerve to release a long "Obama Pride" video with snippets from speeches where he panders to the LGBT community. Personally, I was insulted. I didn't ask for something outrageous in the form of acknowledging the historic move toward civil rights for lesbians and gays in this country.

Far from it. I simply asked for a 'no comment' and move on to the next topic. A video isn't going to appease me. I don't want anything other than to be heard by MY candidate.

I agree, with my critic, that we must be Americans first and foremost. I agree that there are issues much larger than my civil rights as a lesbian in this country. Personally, the war alone is an issue that is enough to cause the entire country concern. The economic turmoil, the sub prime crisis and the subsequent loss of homes for so many in urban, poor locals across the country. The list goes on and on.

People from all walks of life have taken to the streets, been active in their first campaign, have become politically aware for the first time. It's amazing to see. Some are there for economic issues, some health care, some women's rights, some public education- some simply because it is a historic time.

How many are there for LGBT rights?

This is where I disagree with my critic. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. To sit back quietly and put our issues on the back burner will only allow us to continue to be taken for granted.

Is that narcissistic? Sure. Fine. I don't really know but since I'm completely narcissistic, I'll own it. But the point is, who out there is going to take up my banner?

No one.

I cannot fathom what McCain will do to this country. It is beyond frightening to me. Continued war, ridiculous tax cuts and insurmountable debt is only the first layer- then the Supreme Court, other judicial appointments, foreign policy reliance on might rather than negotiation... it honestly makes me want to cry. I am supporting Obama for President.

But don't ask me to stop pushing for my civil rights. This is the single most accessible time to get to a President to be- to get him or her to listen. To have your issues be understood. Once they take office, policy gets set and I want LGBT issues to be high on the list.

Not first, but high on the list.

Yes, America is more important than me. I believe Obama will win the presidency because the country is desperate for change.

And I will be heard along the way. Does that make me un-American?


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Um, I would say it makes you very American, Sara.

I share your rationale that we LGBTQs are being marginalized by our peaceful, but persistent requests to be heard and recognized as EQUAL Americans. All the typical concerns of privileged (heterosexual) Americans are also of concern to our community, but I suggest that our concerns are further complicated by our second class citizenship status. Our educational, economic, health status is all endangered by our lack of equal access/status in this country. The "war" has directly affected our brothers and sisters who wish to serve in the military and be eligible for the same benefits of service. In short, there is no issue that does not directly affect us as LGBTQs and in most instances to our detriment worse than the "privileged" American.

I'll add that American means Liberty and Justice for all, doesn't that include us?


Well, Duh | June 26, 2008 1:41 AM

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While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 26, 2008 2:20 AM

"...Liberty & Justice for all." Historically not!

I would add that it still does not, and is nowhere close, and will probably never be perfect in the eyes of some.

Narcissisma, er Sara, it is no secret that traditionally "marriage" has meant man and woman and continues to mean as much in the vast majority of places around the world. I would accept civil unions with full federal and state benefit equivalents in a heartbeat and I suspect you would as well supermom.

"Marriage" is a heterosexual thing. Let them own their own mistakes! Let us just work to be better! I like to think that the coalition of interest groups is willing to listen intently to our needs because they, for once, have had enough and are taking back the Republic. Much is overdue for a total reordering. Thank you Sara.

I live to question authority. We all should or we become leftwing versions of the BushCo sheeple...

Why is it so hard to understand and accept the truth: Obama is a politician. Following from that Obama wants to get elected. That’s his immediate goal, so he can do his job, which is to represent the electorate, also known as all the people. Right? Well, anyway, that’s the ideal scenario.

Now, if we question whether the United States is ready for a black man, or a woman of any color to be president, do you really think that America is ready for a president who stands for same-sex marriage? If you do, then please consider yourself completely insane. This is not to say that you are wrong, but it is to note that you have a very clear misunderstanding of what is acceptable to the American populace as a whole, and not to the reality of those of us who live in segregated gay and other minority defined communities.

We like to think we live in the real world, but compared to the vast American landscape it’s just not so. Look behind the scenes whenever you see news casting of events anywhere outside of a major metropolitan area. Haven’t you noticed that it’s nearly 100% white? How could you expect anyone coming from such a narrowly defined sociopolitical environment to interpret same-sex marriage as anything other than an abomination? They are still lamenting the rising divorce rate!

Even if it were the case that Obama truly believed in same-sex marriage, would this be the best time for him to make an issue of it?

Here’s the main point, once Obama and McCain begin to debate (read: a lawyer whose job is to defend his client according to the legal system whether or not the client is actually guilty vs. a business man whose job is to make his customers happy at the lowest possible cost to them and himself without any moral or ethical concern as to how it’s done), we will see what really matters.

You can be sure that come the debates, Obama is going to sell his personal belief system as a right that is protected by the constitution, and he will say that his job as president of the United States is to protect whatever laws are passed by the states as long as they are constitutionally defensible. Beyond that, he will claim, it is not within his purview to predict the future, or the will of the American people. And we will hope he is elected, no matter what and rightfully so, simply because we do not want McCain elected.

So, let’s continue to collaborate and push for our rights, but let's not delude ourselves into thinking that conventional party politics at the national level is the proper platform for the success of our agenda at this very particular, and very important moment in time.

Bobs Friend | June 26, 2008 12:26 PM

"Marriage" is a heterosexual thing. Let them own their own mistakes! Let us just work to be better!

You're not interested in marriage, so no other GLBT citizen of this country should campaign for marriage equality.

Very nice. And how predictable that you addressed Ms. Whitman as "Narcissisma." Sounds like it would be better applied to this line of reasoning: "I don't care, so to hell with it. Everybody stop being concerned about it, right this minute."

Obama has said what he's had to say in order to get a certain percentage of GLBT votes while not rocking the boat too much. That isn't a good indication of what policies an Obama Administration would take toward GLBT citizens, but it should make his media-created halo teeter slightly.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 26, 2008 3:37 PM

Richard asks “What’s wrong with those damn voters”? If I’m not mistaken he thinks they're uniformly reactionary people who’ll never accept minority rights because they’re Euroamerican and live in rural settings. As proof Richard offers the election and reelection of George Bush, a proven crack head, drunk, deserter and a particularly sanctimonious christian jackass.

Is Richard right? Are we doomed? To be sure, there are lots and lots of reactionary christian chuckleheads out there. They do as they’re told and exercise all the power of a disciplined bloc vote. But they’re not even close to being a majority. Gore, Kerry and the Democrats lost because they could not, for obvious reasons, draw a clean line between themselves and Bush.

On the most important question, the oil war in Iraq, they were, and Obama is, in complete agreement with the Bill Clinton/George Bush genocidal campaign of invasion and occupation. Their insane killing rampage will go on until their asses are ignominiously kicked out like they were in Vietnam.

Republicans are openly theocratic, pro war, racist, homophobic, and oppose reproductive choice. They’re clear about being for the rich and against working people. Their candidates are total losers. IF the majority of Americans voted and IF the Democrats were any kind of alternative at all the Republicans would be ruined. Democrats only win when there’s a large new bloc of younger electors, people who have yet to feel the cold steel of Democratic knives stabbing them in the back, over and over, on issues like the Clinton/Bush war, Clintons NAFTA, a rapidly escalating economic failure due to Clintons deregulation, FISA, Clintons DOMA and DADT, welfare cuts, the cruel mistreatment of imported workers, Barney Frank’s gutted ENDA and the Pelosi/Reid junking of the hate crimes bill.

Who can blame voters if they feel Caesar on the Ides of March? The Democrats betray everyone in sight, voter’s curse both parties, and the elections often go by default to a minority because most people simply refuse to vote. They won’t play the two party shell game. They’ll be part of the folks who'll rebuild our movements we’ll need to clean up the mess made by Obama or McCain.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 28, 2008 12:19 PM

Dear Number six (aka "bob's friend") did you read Sara's article?

"....since I'm completely narcissistic I'll own it."

Sara herself is a great and caring mother which is why I also referred to her as supermom.

I would love nothing better than to see Civil Unions with a 10% dissolution rate to compare with hetero marriages at a 50% divorce rate. Incremental steps are everything, but on this issue I would take marriage equivalency over linguistics any day for the sake of children, property, inheritance, health care and the myriad other things that Gay people, raising kids, building a life, need to consider.

Do you think that the right to marry same sex is a magic bullet? Odd, then everything would have been perfect for African Americans when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Lincoln.