When President Obama walked out onto the HRC stage tonight - I watched on C-SPAN - he received a thunderous reception and then hugged Joe Solomonese, I thought, "Well, there's a picture we're going to see forever."
Yes, it's great to have the President of the United States and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize speak to HRC - and presumably, through CSPAN and CNN - to anyone else in the country who might care about him speaking to us - mostly, I fear, the Religious Right professionals. And, yes, as the repeated standing ovations tonight indicated - we love this country and we want this president to succeed.
But Barack Obama has been under considerable fire from the LGBT community for the inertia with which his Administration has moved on LGBT rights and he needed to bring it tonight.
He gave Joe a hug and he delivered some great campaign speech-like lines - the best of which was "It is a priviledge to be here tonight to open for Lady Gaga....I've made it."
I laughed. Everyone laughed. It was a promise of a great speech of truth and compassion and movement on our rights.
But, like so much so far, it was a promise unfulfilled.
Truthfully, I'm a bit angry. Here is a constitutional scholar, a friend of Ted Kennedy's, a man of compassion and understanding who I really believe "gets" and likes us.
But what he doesn't get is that he has the bully pulpit and we need him to not only say he's on our side and will fight for us - but to actually do it!
I fear he's too stuck in the past with what happened to Bill Clinton in 1993 and Rahm Emmanuel is standing right there by his side confirming that fear.
How in the world can he have the gumption - the audacity - to speak so movingly about freedom and equality and then tell us it will come for us "one day." That he is "unwavering" in his commitment to us - but WE are the ones who need to fight for equality and justice, individual by individual. How can he talk about the values laid down in our founding documents, the values we all share as Americans, and NOT spelling out what he is doing, with a timeline, to make sure that we enjoy those rights, too. He knows there is discrimination against us, he feels our pain.
But not enough to say something that would help those fighting in Maine and Washington from having their right taken away - right now.
So what do we have when someone knows and even beautifully articulates the horrors of discrimination but does nothing to undo it? Someone -the most powerful man in the world - who talks to us about the urgency of ending legal discrimination - but apparently does not feel himself compelled to do everything in his power to act?
Ironically, in the old days, straights would call such a person a sissy.
Of course, we know that sissies have been known to fight back - that's what happened at Stonewall. So will calling President Obama a sissy for not fighting back against the discrimination he sees and has promised but failed yet to undo - will that irk him into action as it has with us so many times?
I hope so.