John Shields

Access v. Progress

Filed By John Shields | June 23, 2009 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Barack Obama, DNC, HRC, Joe Biden

Many things have been said, spoken and written about whether the LGBTQ community should attend the "gay" fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C. this Thursday.

While President Obama's overtures - and non-overtures - to our community may be real or superficial, and his "celebration" (versus what should rightly be called a "commemoration") about the Stonewall Riots with gay and lesbian "leaders" at a reception at the White House this coming Monday are admirable, I still have my doubts. As do many.

I understand the difference between formal and informal lines of communication. I know the value of revolutions in the street, and I have participated in a few. Witness the power of the Rose Revolution in Georgia or the Green Revolution going on as we speak in Iran.

And I know that access to power doesn't make you powerful, nor a leader. I'm talking about a single reception - for a whole 10 or so minutes - with the president of the United States. And how that access, by a few hundred of our gay and lesbian leaders, is detrimental to LGBTQ progress on everything from hate crimes legislation to matters of adoption by gay and lesbian couples across the country.

Face Time Does Not Equal Progress. Oh, and for those of you going to either event - remember to have your "ticket" punched - as you're simply a photo-op. Meanwhile, I have laundry to do...

The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill still hasn't been signed into law, and now is an amendment to a frikkin' Tourist Bill. Youhavegottobefukkinkiddingme.

Words matter. And this bill need to be passed, NOW. But it should have been passed months ago. As a stand-alone bill.

Symbols matter also.

Tell the gay kid that just got beaten-up, just because he "looked" gay, that he's an amendment.

Tell that to the lesbian couple that just got threatened with their lives because they dared to move into a middle-class neighborhood in Ohio, because they are tourists.

Tell that to the transgender that just got murdered in a back-alley in nowhere America, because they almost didn't make it into the hate-crimes bill.

Nowhere is Now Here.

This, of all bills, should have been passed long ago. And we're still waiting, and I'm not ready to make nice.

Yep. The video, like the Democratic National Committee and President Obama's promises, were cut at the end.

Sound familiar?

I sometimes feel like the internet was never a reality, that VHS is still battling it out with Beta, and former President Bill Clinton - our friend and ally in the White House - turned his back on the LGBTQ community for his own political expediency and signed into law both Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Power versus Progress? This, from the NY Times:

Whether Mr. Obama will address the complaints at Monday's reception is unclear. One person who received the invitation said the White House was billing the event as a celebration, akin to the festive affairs the administration holds on St. Patrick's Day or Cinco de Mayo.

Oooh...and then it will be July 4th, and we'll all be Americans~! Except for those left out in the wilderness, tied to a fence, to die.

From the "gay" DNC fundraiser (watch for those flashbulbs outside) to the "reception" on Monday at the White House, let's see who is powerful and who represents progress.

I'm betting on a revolution. And I'm voting for a pink one...


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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 24, 2009 1:08 AM

John, amendments to bills are how you get a lot of good law passed, as well as bad law that lacks enough backing to stand on it's own. We are still in that category. Why do you think there are so many amendments to a budget bill that have nothing to do with a budget?

Why do you think presidents have asked for a line item veto?

The key thing is that, by whatever method, it is enacted as law rather than not. Assuming we are 3% of the population I would accept an amendment if it rights a wrong and gives needed protections.

And I wouldn't give the DNC a penny until they pass appropriate laws through congress.