Sara Whitman

Clean Up Time Already?

Filed By Sara Whitman | January 14, 2009 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: clean the kitchen, gay appointments, LGBT community, Obama Administration, Rick Warren, sick children

It's very quiet today. Ben is home sick, lying like the dead on the couch with a high fever. Yesterday it was Zachary.

Jake asked me this morning if he was next.

I said Wash Your Hands!

I must admit, I'm a tad obsessive about washing my hands in the winter. I spent two years sick as a dog when Ben first hit daycare and I learned my lesson. Of course, when they are little, it's hard to keep them from poking you in the face with their germ filled fingers.

Now, I'm just cleaning up buckets of... um... well, you know. I don't think Ben is ever going to learn to hit the bathroom until he has to clean it up himself.

I wonder if the Obama administration is going to go through the same growing pains. It seems to be the case so far. Some good choices like Clinton, some bad choices like Richardson and some weird choices like Gupta.

Some infuriating choices like Rick Warren.

The press has been pretty eager, along with many political groups, to make nice about the direction the president to be is taking.

How long will they be cleaning up, though? When will the tough questions be asked? I can promise you that as a member of the LGBT community, I'm not jumping up and down about John Berry, an openly gay man, being nominated to be the director of Office Personnel management.

It's the highest appointment ever for a gay person. Kinda sad, huh? I mean, can you name the last one? or the one before that?

Honestly, I didn't even know there was such an office.

Obama is also asking Bush to get the rest of the bailout money. That makes me very nervous. It reeks of passing the buck, not of expediency. Is he already covering his tracks?

The cleaning up of messes will only last so long. The good will of the LGBT community was severely strained with Rick Warren's invitation. While some still are clamoring to be supportive, any are not. Personally, I'm not buying John Berry as a valid token of affection.

All eyes are on this administration, waiting for great things.

I keep thinking, that like my son Ben, he's not going to figure it out until he has to clean it up himself.


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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | January 15, 2009 1:03 AM

Sara, thanks for the insights.

With overwhelming (read unrealistic) expectations come the inevitable letdowns. On BBC world there was a debate that included Carl Rove arguing against the motion "George W. Bush is the worst President in the past 50 years."

Arguing for were two British historians.

The polled audience was at outset(memory serving)

66% in favor of the motion
17% opposed
12% unsure

Believe it or not Rove and his second "won" the debate because they changed the greatest number of minds as the exit poll was:

70% in favor of the motion
24% opposed
6% unsure

"Figures don't lie, but liars will figure."

He won because he changed more people's minds. Talk about cleaning up after yourself! Still, it was an interesting apolitical debate and review of the eight years of pain, torture and stupidity.

Just let Obama fund stem cell research, close Gitmo, get us out of Iraq and wind down Afganistan while getting more Americans employed in sustainable jobs(preferably "green" sustainable jobs. The climate of change is palpable, positive and pro "human" rights. We will prevail, but it is unrealistic to think we have found a "Gay Messiah" in anyone who goes through the meat grinder of being elected president.

Frank Gurucharri | January 15, 2009 7:42 AM

Great comment, Robert. We need to feel the euphoria of hope to energize and encourage our movement. But we can only go forward if we keep in touch with reality. It's tempting to bask in a Messiah fantasy but will that earn us our civil rights as equal Americans? It's our work that moves our movement forward. And it's our work recruiting straight allies that makes us even more effective. I believe we now have an ally.... not a Messiah.

Great post Sara!
I don't think that anything will be handed to us, which is why I think that we need to continue to "make a great noise" unto our leaders...

Can we at least wait until the man is inaugurated before we proclaim his administration a failure?

I'm not under any illusion that President Obama is going to be the savior of teh gays. But life for LGBT folk in this country is going to seriously improve during his administration. In the first 100 days he'll issue an executive order banning sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination by federal contractors, and add gender identity to the non-discrimination order in federal employment. Hillary Clinton will lift the State Department's ban on employing people with HIV. And I think it's more than likely that we'll have a trans-inclusive ENDA before the 2010 elections.

Yes, we'll need to put pressure on him and Congress to get the heavy lifting done (repeal of DOMA, federal relationship recognition, etc.), but the fact that it's even possible to get these things is a HUGE improvement over the last administration (and the one before that). So can we stop proclaiming the man LGBT public enemy #1 just because he picked someone we don't like to say some magic words during a ceremony? It's really getting old.

Beautifully stated Robert.

And like Frank alluded, a true gay messiah would've never survived the meat-grinder road to the white house -- at least not yet. A year ago most of us wouldn't have believed we'd be preparing for the Inaugural of the 1st Black leader of the free world. We're making great progress as a nation.

And yes, Maura, we should make noise. But I think it makes us seem small and immature when -- though we've taken three steps forward -- we cry hysterically when we're pushed back one.

Overall, WE ARE steadily progressing. And though THEY like to say otherwise, we have the moral authority here, and right is on OUR side.

listen, I can wait until he's sworn in but the truth is the administration has started.

it's not about being pushed back one step... it's about using our political muscle often. sitting back and saying nothing will get us nothing.

old? you say it's old? I think getting kicked to the curb is getting old.

Obama is not perfect. He is, however, the very best shot we've had in years to progress in civil rights. I'm excited to see what happens and I'm also ready to keep his feet to the fire.