Adam Bink

Dear Dems: We need to talk. Love, the Gays.

Filed By Adam Bink | May 20, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Democratic Party, Don't Ask Don't Tell, ENDA, LGBT community

Action: Add your name to our open letter to the Dems on ENDA and repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell!

Dr. Jillian Weiss has written here before about Democrats' excuses for not bringing ENDA up. At this point, it's become political fear. There are any number of Dems considering voting against both ENDA and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The Administration hasn't lifted a finger to help repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and even actively undermined it. Despite large majorities, the party which always receives the overwhelming majority of gay votes at all levels of government is not delivering on its promises.

So, it's time to re-evaluate this relationship.

OpenLeft, my home blog, is joining with our friends at the Courage Campaign, AMERICABlog and CREDO Action to write an open letter on behalf of the gay community to Dems who are considering throwing us under the bus.

The letter is after the jump, with more on why we're doing this.

Yesterday, you may have just received the following e-mail we sent out to our OpenLeft Action list:

Dear friend,

Ever feel like the relationship you once thought you had just isn't working out?

Yeah, I feel that way too.

About the Democratic Party.

In fact, I talked to some friends of mine at AMERICABlog, the Courage Campaign and CREDO Action, and found out that when it comes to the Democrats fighting for LGBT equality, they feel the exact same way. We all felt so strongly about it, we thought it was time to write a letter about it.

Click here to read our open letter. If it says just what you're feeling, sign your name onto it. We will deliver it to Democratic leadership.

http://www.couragecampaign.org/DearDemocrats

Adam Bink

OpenLeft.com

Please click here to sign onto the letter. We will deliver your signatures to Democratic Party leadership. This goes for straight allies out there too - we have to support each other.

We wrote this because Democrats know full well the LGBT community is base constituency that put their butts in office. If we don't move on ENDA and DADT this year, they also know full well it will be years until we do. Promises need to be kept, and those have to start with the Democrats. It has to start with Dems like Heath Shuler acting like real Democrats and it has to start with the Democratic leadership in Congress and the White House.

Otherwise, as the title of this post suggests, this relationship isn't working out, and that will be apparent come November, as LGBT individuals all across the country are wondering where our fierce advocate is in the White House and when Congressional Democrats will keep their promises.

And please share with friends after you sign using Facebook, Twitter and MySpace shareable links, as well as e-mail. We will deliver your signatures to Democratic leadership to make it clear that they need to keep their promises... or we need to re-evaluate this relationship come the fall.



Dear Democrats,

We need to talk.

This may be a hard letter to read, but I need to figure out if this relationship is still healthy for me.

For the longest time, I thought we had something special. Remember how much fun we used to have back when we were young, and control of the Congress and the presidency was just a crazy dream? You always used to ask me for help, and you knew I'd never turn you down.

You were so adorable when we were courting. Sure, you never really understood me, but I liked that you seemed to try. The White House cocktail parties were totally fun, and that Easter Egg Roll is something I'll always cherish. Or remember the time you let me march in the Inaugural parade! Other than that whole Rick Warren thing, I really thought we had a connection.

I know you kept telling me that you weren't ready for marriage, but I was willing to wait since you had promised so much else in the meantime.

But now, I've kind of had it. I'm just not getting what I need out of this relationship. You rarely call me anymore, and when you do it's to ask for money. We talked about joining the military together -- but now it seems like you are flaking on that commitment. You promised to protect me from the homophobes at work, but you don't seem to be in a hurry to actually do it. And that Department of Justice brief thing was just cruel. I'll never understand why you did that.

It almost seems like you're embarrassed by me in public. I know not everyone in your family approves of us, but before you got your new job, it seemed like you didn't care what they thought and were always ready to fight for me. Now, it's like you're a different person.

Please don't take this the wrong way. I still think we have a future. I want us to have a future. But I need this relationship to be healthy for both of us. And I just can't get excited anymore by your empty promises and half-gestures.

I need you to take a real step. You know what I'm talking about -- the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell.

I still worry every day that I can be fired in 29 states just because I'm gay. And my friend who is transgender can be fired in 38 states. I know you can do it. You've helped protect people from employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, disability and many other characteristics. Each time my friend and I have been left behind. It's our turn. ENDA's time has come.

It's our turn to be welcomed into the military as well. I want to serve my country openly and proudly. I was so excited when you promised you would repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell this year after 17 long years of putting up with it.

Now, I can't even get you to talk about DADT.

You promised to change. I know that you can. But why should I stand by your side when you can't keep your promises to me?

I get that you're scared. But I'm scared too -- scared of losing you. You need to prove to me that you really care. You need to finally give me the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, like you promised.

I have enough disappointments in my life. I need you to not be one of them.

Love,

-The Gays

(and all those who love and care about them)


Click here to sign our open letter asking Dems to keep their promises and get it done.


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"Promises need to be kept?"

That includes Political Promises?

When did that start?

Alex, I signed. It is a "Dear John" letter. The reply will be "I love you and always will but I to must move on". In other words a brush off.

At least asking has a better chance than demanding. Now, if we could just get millions to ask.

Yeah, because historically gains have always been made by simply ASKING

Note the huge slick of sarcasm on that sentence. Good god.

A. J. Lopp | May 21, 2010 11:31 AM

Of the various comments here, I must agree with this one most.

Politicians of either stripe today don't understand anything except brute political power (READ: money and votes). "Asking" is a waste of time --- we have to find a way to make them hurt when they break their promises.

I think perhaps you miss the subtlety of the letter. The point of this is discussing money and votes come the fall and beyond. It just goes about it in a different way than "we're going to stay home and not give money!!!" would. Sometimes subtlety and cultural reference works just as well, or better, in making such demands.

Actually, the point is less about "asking" than about making a point about a community's feelings. Subtlety is a useful tactic.

And actually, in the history of everything good that has been accomplished, no, money and votes are not the only mechanisms for achieving social change. A wide variety of tactics must be employed.

A. J. Lopp | May 22, 2010 10:06 PM

This is a point of perspective, and I doubt whether there is a "correct" viewpoint --- so I don't want to argue with you, Adam.

However, I was tempted to include the famous quote by Frederick Douglass which says something like, "Power never relinquishes power without a demand --- it never has and it never will."

But I happened to come across this quote which is even more relevant to the discussion at hand:

The two parties have combined against us to nullify our power by a "gentleman's agreement" of non-recognition, no matter how we vote ... May God write us down as asses if ever again we are found putting our trust in either the Republican or the Democratic Parties.

-- W.E.B. DuBois (1922)

Recognize anything familiar, Adam?

Well, I didn't say anyone should put any "trust" in either party. And again, it's important to employ a wide variety of tactics. I didn't say this was the only one that would work. This is one of many, and the focus here is on humor, not "asking", which is what made it popular.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | May 22, 2010 11:01 PM

Adam is wrong. What Democrats and Republicans are doing to us on a continuous basis more resembles a scene from Tora, Tora, Tora. than it resembles a scene from Pride and Prejudice.

The trouble with the response of LGBT Democrats, Log Cabin types, HRC and others to Bushes' and Obama's multiple treacheries, and those of Clinton before them, is that they treat relations between our struggle and the White House and Congress as a well-mannered, courteous contest between friends.

It's not.

Both Republicans and Democrats are infested with bigots and those who pander to them and enable them, and it gets worse the higher you go the political ladder. It's not a sport; we're in a fight for our lives.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | May 20, 2010 11:53 PM

The letter is pathetic. Pleading. Whinging. Begging. Beseeching. Whining.

It's the plea of an abused spouse asking for more bruising.

What we really need are a few more Marches on Washington and a lot of direct action.

Oh, and demands.

Lots and lots of non-negotiable demands.

A. J. Lopp | May 21, 2010 11:42 AM

Exactly, Bill --- see comment above.

The Dems are more in love with illegal immigrants then gay or straight Americans.If the President can pull the the disrespectful crap he did by having a foreign president telling our Congress what they need to do shouldn't he atleast have the balls to stick up for lgbt Americans first? I have never once heard the President speak with half the conviction he has for illegals about enda.In November I won't be voting Democrat.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | May 21, 2010 12:11 PM

The only 'illegal immigrants' in the Americas are Europeans.

The US looter class devastated the economies and of Mexico and much of Central America with neo-colonial singlecrop economies, resource rape and with NAFTA.

Working people in the US should open up our arms in solidarity and defend our brothers and sisters - immigrant and imported workers - from racist terrorists like the Minutemen and from ICE.

Attempting to pit the GLBT communities against the immigrant-imported worker communities is a loser strategy. We should do all we can, openly as LGBT groups and individuals, to support their struggle, demanding health care, helping union organizing drives and insisting on full rights including dual citizenship.

In turn we should ask them to support our struggle.

That's where the politics of independence begins.

Bill open borders is a dumb idea and that would be what you and others are calling for.Like it or not this is an independent nation with laws if they are unwilling to follow US immigration law then they must leave.We as a nation have a right to secure borders and giving up that right would be similiar to giving up America.You might want to do that but 80% of Americans disagree with you.It is time to quit pandering to those who disrespect America and it's immigration laws.Screaming racism is just plain ignorant and shows just how little you know about illegal immigration and the devasting effect it has had on border states and throughout the country.Take a real good look at Mexico and it's laws and you'll see who the racist are. Both the Republican and Democrat party are out of tune with the American voter and starting to see the effect at the ballot box I for one am not going to stand by and allow either party to pick up votes from illegals they need to do their job or face getting fired by the people.

You forget that we seized 67% of Mexico back in the 1800's. President Grant was an army captain at the time. You really should read his memoirs. And of course you are totally disregarding the original inhabitants.

Arizona was bought and paid for from the mexican government.Name one native American tribe who's main language is Spanish.Considering Spanish isn't a native language to either Mexico or the USA or to the natives please tell me why Mexicans are so reluctant to speak English. The present the border with Mexico has stood longer than Mexico's current form of government.We have no obligations to Mexico and it's people and even if you were to claim we do the same history you point to shows how lopsided the benefits have been in Mexico's favor.It's time to end welfare to the Mexican government and people.People who don't respect our borders or laws might want to ask themselves what am I doing here.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | May 21, 2010 7:46 PM

You seem a bit confused.

Here's a US map of Mexico before most of it was stolen in the war of 1848. http://www.learnnc.org/lp/multimedia/4607

That's when the border abruptly shifted north, trapping many Mexicans in a racist society that stole their farms and pauperized them.

For future reference please note where modern Arizona is on the map.

You're probably thinking of the Gadsden Purchase in 1853. http://www.gadsdenpurchase.com/

I hope this clears up some of the confusion of who did what to who and when and why, as I said, the only illegal aliens in the Americas are Europeans and their descendents.

From the gadson purchase treaty:Neither passports nor letters of security will be required of persons crossing the isthmus and not "remaining in the country". Remaining in the country and assuming they have the same rights to be here as Americans is where the problem lies.If you think we did the Mexicans so horrible you would claim it rascist consider this they got a far better asking price for the land purchased in the Gadson purchase then the Russians did for Alaska.Would you like to give Alaska back to the Russians or maybe offer them Amnesty for illegal immigration?

Amy your history knowledge is lacking in perspective in my opinion. Here is a link for you to read about the times and the Mexican lands you inhabit in Arizona. ....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican%E2%80%93American_War

Among other facts you will find there is ....
President Ulysses S. Grant, who as a young army lieutenant had served in Mexico under General Taylor, recalled in his Memoirs, published in 1885, that:
“ Generally, the officers of the army were indifferent whether the annexation was consummated or not; but not so all of them. For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory."

What we need is widespread support for ENDA much like the ground wave of people that happened a few years ago in regard to telemarketers. Sadly the LGBT community is too fractured and segmented to see that happen is my guess. I for one, do not believe the LGBT community is any more likely to vote than those who are outside what is termed LGBT. Which means something like one third of people who could vote, do vote. Out of that number it might be less than one in ten who really look into or call in support of an issue or piece of legislation. If you start breaking those numbers down the percentage in the general population is pretty small and easy to ignore. I believe I heard the figure of a little over 2500 contacted congress during one of the pushes on ENDA. I hate to say it but 2500 or even 25000 is unlikely to do much spread out among 100 Senators or 450 plus Representatives. Now if we were talking 250,000 or better still 2,500,000 contacting Congress ENDA would be passed and signed into law. So with the tiny number trying to push this cart along, we better hope for a downhill roll which does not seem to be likely at this point. If everyone who had two nickels to rub together headed to Washington DC, and camped out there, until they got some action on ENDA or repeal of DADT, it might do some good but my guess more so for the retail business in Washington than it would in moving legislation forward.

I signed this letter to the Democrats the day before yesterday. The same with the write ins and call ins, even went to the offices and dropped off the resume when it was suggested. One thing I did do besides these however is wrote to the Democratic National Committee when they asked for a donation for this falls elections, and told them no more money from me until I see ENDA passed into law. If every LGBT American would take the time to do that, we might see them take notice.

Very good points.

And I think it illustrates that all kinds of tactics- letters acting as petitions, calls, money, votes- all build around pressure. Pressure has many avenues.

Thanks, Adam, for this awesome letter. I signed it and sent it off. Of course, after last night's announcement that ENDA is off until July, I think I'm taking my ring off.