Marla R. Stevens

Warren Who?

Filed By Marla R. Stevens | January 21, 2009 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: Diane Feinstein, Dick Cheney, Ginsberg, inaugural celebration, Joe Biden, Obama and Rick Warren, Rep. John Lewis, Samuel Alito

I feel like I've drawn my first deep breath in over eight years, now that the Hopester is the new prez. I cried and whooped at all the right places -- not the least of which was the news that my cousin and other select members of his staff have gotten permission to get into their new West Wing digs early to get a head start on wiping out some of the final-hours damage the Shrubbites have inflicted on reproductive choice and the environment and such (expect these can't-wait-to-get-at-it, haven't-seen-dedicated-hard-work-like-this-since-the-Clinton-days crowd to overwhelm a printer or more cranking out the executive orders in the next week or few) -- then regained some semblance of cynical composure.

There are many things about yesterday I'll not soon forget, among them:

"Obama! Obama! Obama!" at the Capitol and along the parade route, as well as the screams and thousands of cameras raised high on the route, especially during his brief walk that gave pundits and Secret Service alike palpitations (and sighs of relief when the brave walk ended); the look on many faces -- particularly Obama's African step-mom, Jesse Jackson, and Rep. John Lewis -- as the oath was taken, reminding me of why I voted for Obama despite policy and style reservations aplenty; and the sea of humanity who had traveled -- some from far lands -- to experience the turning of the wheel of history.

It's not only that he's the Great-Black-Hopey-Fulfiller-of-Long-Denied-Dreams, either, though that's more huge than possible for any one of us to comprehend no matter what one's race or racial history, it's a sense of generational change -- a turning of the wheel of time, as well as a sense of change in the foundations of possibility, the wheel of which is in another dimension altogether.

Even not having words to describe the only-she-could-pull-it-off color of Michelle Obama's attire (don't get me started on how adorable Malia and Sasha looked) didn't dampen my evil glee at watching Dick Cheney look all Dr. Strangelove-Mr. Potter-The Penguin grumpy in his wheelchair as he got stuck behind the rest of the dignitaries after being done in by a moving box (a very fine moving box, that one -- and the best TV shot of the decade may well be of the white moving vans moving said boxes from/into the White House).

But, hey, The Prince of Darkness actually showed, whereas Alito, alone among living Supremes present and past, thumbed his nose at the affair, reportedly still miffed that Hopey didn't vote to confirm him. (He blew off the official meeting with then-to-be-Prez Hopey and to-be-Veep Gabby Joe, too, the raised-by-wolves putz!) Ginsberg, however, looked as gleeful as a fairy gnome. (I emotionally prepped for the inaugural by reading her minority opinion in Carhart, which highlights another of the compelling reasons I'm grateful for yesterday.)

The weirdest thing so far is that I'm now not sure what number of prez that Hopey is as Diane's plan went a little long there and, for a few minutes from noon to noon-o-five, a strange situation where Shrub was no longer even pretending to be prez, Hopey wasn't sworn in yet, and Biden had taken his oath (thus preventing Cheney from making another improbable, "Constitution? What's that?" claim to endless, boundless power), made Biden prez for the mini-duration of the musical announcement by John Williams, Itzhak Perlman, and Yo-Yo Ma and cohorts that the long nightmare of near-beer-and-chokin'-pretzel anti-culture-culture wars was fading into mere PTSD fodder with every note of Copeland quote.

And, as for Rick Warren's performance. it was the dud of the day. Even the living corpse, Harry Reid's, toast at lunch was more scintillating and meaningful. Faux-impassioned, porpoise-driven, bloom-long-off-that-predictably-platitudinous-stump-speach buzzkill. At one point I thought, "If you make one more utterly undeserved ego-applause-pause, I'm gonna use some of my extra-super-magical Obama pixie dust to teleport to D.C. to yank you off that damned stage myself!"...or, as condensed from Wonkette comments, "Oh look, its gay-hatin' Rick to say a few words to Obama's magical space god...He's wanting that god to forgive people for not respecting others. He better f*ing hope so."

It's het-snark-central official: We made our point and he struck himself out. Score us the big winner of that round.

I have no doubt that this is not going to be an easy presidency for us -- that we will have to fight for everything we get and will likely suffer plenty of heartache and insult, so I'm hoping our organizations make lots of moolah off the balls and inaugu-swag. But, for yesterday, my countdown clock gone the way of the helicopters and jets that have carried off at least the figureheads from their hidey-holes and some of their support-staff trash in the rotor-drafts and jet-wash along with them if we're lucky, I'm simply pleased.


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"I have no doubt that this is not going to be an easy presidency for us . . . "

Like, "DUH!" Nothing in life is easy. No President will hand us our rights on a silver platter, even a gay one. We have to work for everything we want. Sitting back and playing observer, comment on things we don't like is meaningless in the scheme of things. The real work is in the lobbying. Those who do the calling, write the letters and meet with their Congress people are the ones who have earned the right to bitch when things go wrong. Arm-chair activists don't do our community any good.

Marla, that wasn't directed at you.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | January 21, 2009 6:59 PM

Thanks, Monica. My best advice for legislators is to keep thinking "relationships" -- build them, nurture them, or, if the person isn't worth the trouble, get the electoral equivalent of a divorce and hot replacement!

Love ya, Marla!

Thank you so much for that report.

May I please share one joyous moment of my own? It was from Doc Maddow's commentary: not hawks or doves, but owls!

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | January 21, 2009 8:17 PM

Oooooo...nice one! Isn't it lovely to have someone in office who can do simple things I never thought I'd have to be grateful for in a president -- things like stand up straight at a podium, write his own speech and have it turn out coherent, stumble over a mis-cued word without going into a deer-in-the-headlights panic, and have such stumbles be the exception instead of the rule, dance -- with his wife, no less -- and both look like he knows what he's doing and look like he's enjoying the experience! Imagine, someone with an IQ high enough to think himself out of a crisis -- and well-educated and well-read and able to apply all of that to real world problem solving enough to perhaps avoid some of the crises altogether. Someone who understands international communication and respect enough to have already begun sending out heal-the-divide cues in his very first prez-speech. The bar has been reset to at least prez-normal -- and probably quite a bit higher. It's wonderful but I'm so conditioned to incurious, doltish sub-basement-par, that it's gonna take me some getting used to.

I agree with your assessment of Warren. Not ready for prime time! Dude didn't even look up from his text.

Maybe he was rattled by all the attention he got after he was picked. If that's the case, I'm proud to have been a part of that!

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | January 21, 2009 7:24 PM

You know he was -- and that you deserve a large share of the credit for it, as does Rachel Maddow among others, including refusing to play into the MSM's pigeonholing game and continuing to frame it as the big picture with an inescapably important moral failure core that it was and continues to be. Thank you for not giving up or giving in.

We really have to look beyond our own narrow agenda, and support getting this country back on some sort of fiscal even keel. That is the most important job that Obama has, and it outshines all other considerations as far as I am concerned.

As much as I would love ENDA and hate crimes, I want an end to the disastorous war that is destroying our country, and a banking situation that is hemorraging billions of federal dollars, making the rich few leeches wealthy, while doing nothing for the rest of us. Welfare for the rich on a grand scale.

Too big to fail my pretty little tranny ass.AIG and Citicorp should have been put into federal recievership as soon as they started begging for bailout money. They have already burned through 350 billion dollars, and without any losening of the lending market to show for it.

If they are too big to fail, then that means that they are important to the national interest, If that is the case, then any mismanagment and malefeacence on the part of the bankers should be considered treason, in so much as the players are acting on their part against the national interests of the country.

Goddess knows people have been hung for less at other times of crisis in this countries history.

Responsibility, isn't that one of Obama's new watch words, or is it just more political posturing.

Don't bother, diddlygrl. On this blog, for the most part, you're talking to the brick wall. Many here say nothing but, "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!"

I want it all. I just want it responsibly. My hopes are high for Obama. I fear he won't live up to them just because they are so high. I want everything diddly mentioned plus more!

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | January 21, 2009 8:45 PM

I second that, Bil. We can multi-task and we now have a president who can, too. Of course we want the everyperson stuff but there's no reason to backseat things that might seem to be our special interest only things.

After all, on a practical level, Joe-Six-Pack who writes in about the everyman issues is simply not as likely as we are to advocate for gender-identity-inclusive civil rights or DADTDP repeal or any of the other things that are on our equality agenda.

If we don't speak up, these necessary things will either fall off the radar or, if we've made enough progress that, titularly, they stay on it, the benefit of our particular expertise will be lost in addressing them and the chances that they will not be properly addressed will rise considerably.

Diddly and Monica, where you're getting off-track is not only that we are not asking for more than what has always been our due and that we've had to wait too long for already, as Maura put so well, more than that it's that you are failing to grasp how important our civil law equality is for everyone, whether they realize it or not.

Liberty and justice for all has to be for all if it is to have meaning for anyone. When we buy into the pigeonholing of it into "special interest" or "special rights" or postpone-able or waterdown-able to some future time when it no longer requires any risk or effort to accomplish, we rob not only ourselves but everyone of the opportunity to live in a just world.

It is not a form of selfishness to fight for justice, it is a gift we give to everyone.

Well, we really want to make sure that the "important" items of the agenda get passed and that acrimony is not stirred up by a selfish desire for equal citizenship and rights after over two centuries of waiting, mostly in closets, so let's dump the most objectionable items to the general public and to the republican right, whose goodwill Obama needs:

1. DADT---too controversial to the right, who will exact a revenge when it is rescinded. DADT must stay or the right will filibuster other important relief bills that they are antithetical to, such as jobs bills.

2. ENDA----the Right's new focal point, particularly trans-inclusion. Maybe we can negotiate a deal where we can get some incremental gain in exchange for mortgage protections for the middle class.

3. Hate Crimes----we need to compromise on this; Obama will need the Right's support for deficit spending for new energy technologies and the oil lobby will be working against us.
Perhaps a watered down, incremental version...protecting, say, Andrew Sullivan...or maybe just Gays and Lesbians who do not violate gender stereotypes.

There. Now we CAN make sacrifices to help Obama and help the nation as a whole. The LGBT community can point out for years the sacrifices that we made to help America.

How does that selflessness on our part look to you diddlygirl, or to you Monica?

I hate it...

Yours is fine. You left out repealing DOMA, immigrations rights for foreign partners of LGBT Americans, equality treatment for transgender veterans in the VA and universal health care that covers transgender health care issues and stops doctors from refusing care for religious reason. That would round out your list nicely.

I want full equality. Now. 200 years is long enough....

And I want us protected, seriously.

The lunatic right is arming, so determinedly so that they are breaking into gun shops for weapons...

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | January 23, 2009 2:12 AM

Well, ever since Charlton Heston croaked they've been a bit off their feed.