Joe Mirabella

Message heard: "The gAyTM is closed." So what now?

Filed By Joe Mirabella | July 12, 2010 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: 2010 Election, Democratic National Committee, DNC, gAyTM, Karl Rove, money, politics, President Obama, Republicans, Tea Party

I stepped in it big time when I suggested it was not the right time to close the gAyTM in a post that I shared widely last week.

I got a taste of the anger our community generally directs at our enemies. Let me just say it was ugly and hurtful.

I also learned who my friends are, so to them thank you for stepping up and defending my character. You showed how you can disagree, while still being decent. I admire your leadership.

But I have thick skin, and clearly since you are reading this, hundreds of hateful comments did not scare me away from sharing my opinions with the community about how we can move forward. I can forgive the personal attacks because I realize they are coming from a place of fear. Our community is sick and tired of being treated as second class citizens, and when one of our own says, "Hey, don't give up on the party that has not delivered," it salted the wound. I understand and I empathize with that sentiment.

So since the "gAyTM" is clearly closed for a lot of you I would like to offer a few alternative solutions so that our community does not become politically castrated by a Republican majority.

First, let me explain why I was motivated to write my original post. I strongly believe a $300 million war chest poised squarely at the Democratic Party also has our interests in the cross hairs. In addition, the Tea Party has $64 million rounded up to get their candidates in office. I've never seen a party so committed to being wrong. The Tea Party concerns me.

So unlike what some commentators concluded, I was not motivated because of a personal investment in the Democratic Party. I'm not looking for an insider position in the White House. I'm not even on the short list of bloggers who is invited to White House events. I'm a simple Iowa guy, transplanted in Seattle, who is working his heart out for his family. (That's you.)

So, dear family, put down the rotten tomatoes and pitch forks and listen up. Like it or not, the political process takes money - lots and lots of money. The Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United that corporations have free speech rights because they are people, and money is free speech. Translation: Corporations can give as much money as they want to political parties. This decision strongly favors Republicans.

Karl Rove was drooling the moment Citizen United became law. He is working in over drive to amass an enormous war chest. His first contributor, an oil tycoon, gave $100 million alone.

The Republicans have created a perfect storm. They have filibustered more bills than ever in the history of the United States. They even filibustered an unemployment bill that would have extended unemployment insurance for millions of Americans, including people in my blood family.

Because most Americans don't understand the nuances of parliamentary procedure, they blame the party in charge for their problems, the Democrats. The Republican Party is not interested in what's best for the country, they are simply interested in maintaining power. I strongly believe that most of the Democratic Party really does want to move the country forward. The Democrats I meet and interview certainly do.

But how can they move our issues forward when the minority is still in charge? We need to end the filibuster, but the next opportunity to end the filibuster rule is not until the next Congress is elected. Senate rules can only be changed at the beginning of new sessions. Like it or not, I want the Democrats in charge to change those rules. Calls to end the filibuster are already bubbling up from Democrats in the Senate, including Sen. Tom Harkin.

I am not naive. I know the entire Democratic party is not dedicated to treating the gay and lesbian community equally. However, it is clear, that a majority of the Democratic Party supports our issues. If the Democrats remain in control, and the filibuster is ended, then the House will feel more comfortable taking the political risk of supporting our issues because a majority of Democrats can pass a bill in the Senate. We will no longer be hostage to the minority.

But to get there, we need to elect progressives. To elect progressives we need money. I suggested the Democratic National Committee set up an LGBT specific fund so that our money has no chance of going towards a candidate that does not support equality. That does not exist yet, but there are other ways you can contribute to pro-equality progressives, and I think you should if even that makes me unpopular.

Short Term Goals

The Victory Fund is dedicated supporting LGBT and allied candidates. The Progressive Majority is also a pro-equality progressive political fund you can trust with your money. You should also consider supporting Progressives who have fought for us (even if they happen to be Democratic). Candidates in my region include Jim McDermott and Suzan DelBenne.

Not all politics are national, local politics can have a lasting effect as well. Look around you and find the diamonds in the rough. Believe it or not, we do have friends.

Long Term Goals

Perhaps we need a third party. That's something I heard over and over again in the comments. But you will need to build coalitions because the gay community alone is not large enough to be a viable third party. Start now, because you will need to raise a lot of money for your party to be viable.

Perhaps a more progressive candidate should challenge President Obama. I too remain frustrated on a number of issues. The President has an enormous war chest of his own, though. So again, you will need money to take him on.

We need a constitutional convention to take money out of politics. Campaigns should be publicly funded. While we are at it, corporations should not be considered people. Let's also strengthen our equality by including non-discrimination clauses for sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Contact the DNC

The anger you slung at me may have felt good, but it really did not accomplish anything. I am not active in the party. You should contact those who can actually make a difference. Here is their contact info:

Mailing Address:
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003

Main Phone Number:
202-863-8000

With that said, I hope that our community does not completely back out of the political process. I heard that several times in the comments, "No more votes, no more money, no more volunteering." I honestly do not believe that was the intent of bloggers who initially suggested we close the gAyTM. Since they have your ear, and your trust, I hope they can convince you how important it is to remain engaged in our future.

I appreciate that Pam Spalding has already reminded her readers that it is not appropriate to completely shut down your activity:

We're keeping the gAyTM CLOSED, only donating to pols and organizations that are pro-equality and have been effective in advocacy. I see nothing wrong with this.

I am not, however, an advocate of sitting out the midterms. If you have pro-equality candidates on the ballot, they deserve and need your vote. For instance, I need Elaine Marshall to beat Richard Burr. We need that vote in the Senate.

If you are too mad at me right now to hear me, please listen to her.


Recent Entries Filed under Politics:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


Joe, I agree with much of what you say here, but I'd suggest that for a more impactful message any fund created to elect progressives not be administered by the DNC, but rather privately, by those who the community can be assured will place our own agenda above the interests of the Party and its members.

By that I mean a fund that would be used to enable true progressives to run effectively against those who oppose or are unwilling to proactively support LGBT equality, regardless of what political party they happen to belong to.

In my mind, that would be far more credible and send a much more direct message to Democrats as well as positively work toward our goals at the same time.

Rebecca, I totally agree that the DNC can't really be trusted with our money, but because of campaign finance laws, the DNC would have to administer it. We can demand the DNC create the fund and put our own in charge of administering it, and demand an impartial board be created, but an outside entity would be limited in ways the DNC is not in the amount it could donate to individual candidates.

That said, I don't see why WE can't amass our OWN war chest of $300 million by creating and publicizing a slate of all of the pro-equality candidates in this year's election. Electibility be damned, why can't WE dictate the majority caucus in both houses this year?

As always Phil, I love your enthusiasm. If the LGBT community wanted to raise $300 Million we would need allies. We would need to rally all the progressives who our upset by the current state of affairs. We would need to talk about more than just LGBT equality to pull that off.

I think that is one our communities biggest shortfalls. Far too often, we neglect to build bridges on issues that are not directly related to equality.

I didn't jump into the fray of the original post, but I do want to jump in here. I think what's needed now, in terms of political giving, is smarts. And generally, giving to an organization that backs candidates based on their ideology or a particular characteristic is not the best way to win. The Victory Fund is great, but they back an awful lot of people who have zero chance of winning. Ditto Progressive Majority.

As a community, we need to start making smart decisions, not only in terms of not supporting organizations that fail us (like the DNC) but also in terms of which candidates we give to. There are a lot of LGBT folks giving money to my Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, right now. That's not smart. Yes, she's a huge supporter of LGBT rights, but she has no real opponents. She's already going to win. As much as we all like her, it's smarter, as a community, for us to give our political dollars to an LGBT-supportive candidate who is in a tight race, not a cakewalk.

We also have to look at giving to (GASP!) Republicans. Now I don't like the Republican agenda any more than most of you, but the fact is there are districts in this country where a Democrat is just NOT going to win. Period. But if the only viable candidate in a particular state or district is one with an "R" after their name, it makes more sense to give to a less-bad "R" than to flush our money away on a "D" that's bound to lose. There really are Republicans out there who support LGBT rights - I had the pleasure of working with some when I lived in Arizona - and we need to get THEM into those safe Republican seats instead of the haters in them now. (This is also something we need to do with the Dems who hate us, but I think we all know that already.)

Long story short (too late!), not only do we need to wake up and stop giving to the DNC (which it seems we've done), we need to wise up about which candidates we give to. We don't have the $$$ to match the crazy right wingers, so our best hope is to be smart with the money we do have.

Keith Folse | July 13, 2010 2:55 AM

I am no longer giving money to the DNC. I am giving my money to local candidates here in Florida where I live -- because I believe that the best change can happen at the local/state level. I also read blogs and other info and contribute to candidates -- REGARDLESS of their party -- who believe that my partner have the right to keep our jobs without fear of being fired for being gay and that we have the right to be a legally married couple. This takes more time on my part than just mailing a check to the DNC or any (GLBT) group, but this is what I have decided to do. I agree with Sam Ritchie's comments.

Pam Spalding and others seem to believe that their threats are taken seriously. They are not. It is childish to believe that the LGBT Community can punish the Democratic Party. Spalding's rants don't accomplish anything.

While I do not believe there is a "political solution" to our equality, childish attempts to embarrass or punish the side that IS trying to help us, is counterproductive. Without a third-party option, withdrawing our support only helps the other side.

As a community we need to be a lot smarter than "empty threats."

Andrew, you think they are childish threats but that is just your opinion. You think many things are childish. So be it, but that does not necessarily make it a fact.

Well, help us all out here. Exactly how is withholding LGBT money a threat? Organized labor is spending more than $100 million on the mid-terms. There are 17 million unionized workers. I suspect that they might be considered a threat by withholding their contributions.

The total amount spent on the mid-term elections may be $3 billion - do the math, Labor's $100 million isn't very significant.

LGBT political contributions are estimated at less than $20 million. Do you really think withholding that amount is a "threat?" If so, how?

As I said on Chuck's post right before this one:

As I've said before, if a politician isn't willing to work to help me keep my job based solely on my job performance, why should I be willing to vote to keep their job safe? Instead, I'll do what they can't seem to comprehend; I'll vote based on their job performance.

I don't have a problem donating to a specific politician who is obviously LGBT friendly and votes well on our issues. But I'm done giving money to the DNC so they can heavily support candidates like Indiana's Brad Ellsworth and Joe Donnelly - who both voted against hate crimes legislation and wouldn't vote for ENDA.

So what now? ANGER! NO DADT REPEAL MAKE ALEX SMASH THINGS! DESTROY DEMS DREAMS BECAUSE ALEX CAN'T GO TO IRAQ TO SMASH THINGS!

ahem

Actually, I don't think that closing the gaytm will do anything either. It'll make some people feel better, which is good, but the dems have shown a complete inability to listen to their base. If anything, they'll take it as a sign that they're moving appropriately to the center.

The thing to do is support individual candidates, not the party.

What I'm getting from you Joe is to be careful and cautious with our future- that it's worth being careful with and that throwing money around isn't necessarily helpful, in fact can do the exact opposite.

Another idea: instead of money, give time to something you really know and believe can help. Volunteering creates involvement.

Thanks, Joe. Your perspective is always welcome.

This will no doubt make me even less popular around here, but I'm gonna throw a little cold water on everyone's outraged excitement.

Folks, right now, politicians dont give a damn about us. We are expendable as a voting block, because we are a relatively small minority and there are other things on the list that command everyone's attention -- the economy, the pointless and neverending wars, immigration, healthcare, financial reform: the list truly does go on and on -- and we are not on it.

And neither side will put us on it, save to score political points in the debate. The Republicans would dearly love for the Democrats to do anything about policies like DADT, because it would give them a perfect wedge issue, and the Democrats are certainly not about to do anything that might, however remotely, disturb their majority in either house of Congress.

This is not news. This is not unexpected. Some of us have seen this coming ever since Pelosi kept pushing the debate on DADT back more and more and more, from "oh, sometime next week" to "we cant really do anything until after November", because they care only about the election. That's it. Barney Frank will dismiss the Marches on Washington as "pointless" because, in a very weird way, they are, to the politicians running the show.

Will they miss our donations if we close the ATM? Probably. Will they beg us to reconsider and turn on the card? I seriously doubt it. Will they get over it and move on? You better believe it. About the best we can hope for right now are quaint little cocktail parties at the White House to "celebrate" Pride Month... but with a heavily vetted guest list guaranteed not to make waves about the fact that nothing has been done and nothing will be done.

So we can rend our clothes and rail at the Fates... but no one's gonna notice. It doesnt matter that 75% of Americans believe gays and lesbians should be able to serve openly in the military. It doesnt matter that 50% of Americans believe in some form of civil union for gay and lesbian couples. As far as the election is concerned, this is immaterial unless it can be played to make the Democrats look bad, and you know the Republicans will do it in a heart beat.

So again, at the risk of sounding like Cassandra, for right now, you might as well forget about anything even vaguely resembling legal equality for us. It's just not going to happen, not after the mid-terms, and probably not after the next presidential election. Politics in this country are so screwed and so high-contrast partisian that no one holding even a moderately progressive stance stands a chance. Our best hope right now is in the courts, and even then we have to tap-dance. The recent decision about DOMA was less about the constitutionality of the concept and more about its impact on states' rights, and it will be these second-hand dodgings that will get us anything at all.

So as far as I can see, it doesnt matter whether you donate or not. If you choose to because you think a particular candidate is gay-friendly... hey, go for it. But dont be surprised to see that friendliness disappear once the donation is pocketed and the campaign is on.

Joe;
The closed gAyTM does not mean that we give to no Democratic candidates; it never did mean hat. It means that we do not blindly support Democrats who do not support us.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 13, 2010 12:03 AM

"... so that our community does not become politically castrated by a Republican majority". As opposed being gutted by Obama? In any case the Democrats are going to lose big time because they betrayed everyone in sight, ourselves included.

Joe Mirabella learned nothing from the hundreds of comments on three blogs that roundly condemned his ideas. When he said that he got "a taste of the anger our community generally directs at our enemies" that was because he was for aiding and abetting our enemies in the Democrat party.

That kind of partisanship makes people's blood boil especially because Democrats are not our friends, they're our enemies. Like their Republican cousins the Democrat party is run by bigots, and the rot starts at the top. Clinton signed DADT after a majority of Democrats voted for it. (Some in both parties actually voted against it because they thought it wasn't harsh enough.) Then Clinton championed DOMA, signed it after a huge majority of Democrats voted for it and then gloated about it. Obama sabotaged same sex marriage in California and surrounds himself with bigots, including the two he has running the DNC.

It is difficult to think outside the box. But it has to be done, especially in politics. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds."
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/

A vote for any Democrat or Republican, including 'progressives' is a wasted vote. Our most important goal is to break from the Democrats, entirely. It doesn't matter at all if one or two of them are 'progressive'. In the end they all bow to the majority as Kucinich did voting for the health care scam that limits the right to an abortion, cuts out immigrant and imported workers an rewards the greed of insurance companies, Big Pharma and HMO's. A vote for any Democrat or Republican is a vote for war, economic disaster and bigotry.

We'll never get any allies tied to the Democrats. In November we should vote for socialist or left candidates in every race we can or just sit it out. Voting for Democrats or Republicans is voting against our communities and our allies. An honest comparison of the two parties makes it difficult to tell which is worse. Let's call it a draw and move on. Let's build a party we can vote for and use to educate people.

Let's make a deal. I won't claim to know your state of mind, and you won't claim to know mine. You have no idea what I learned and did not learn this weekend.

This is some of what I learned:

1) A very vocal group of commentators had a robust discussion this weekend. Most commentators disagreed with my original thesis, some agreed with part of my thesis, others agreed with my entire thesis.

2) If you look at the comments, several people commented 10 or 20 times, so the numbers as you represent them are misleading.

3) The commentators from PHB are not afraid, they are angry.


This is what I already knew:

1) Comment sections are not scientific polls. We do not know with scientific accuracy the opinion of the gay community. We do have a pretty good idea what people who read Pam's House Blend and Bilerico Project probably think about my original thesis.

2) The Socialist Party does not represent my personal political beliefs. I am glad we live in a country where people can express their beliefs.

3) The Socialist Party does not have enough money to win this election.

4) Most people don't take the Socialist Party seriously, which is too bad because some socialist philosophies are pretty good. I support universal health Care, and public libraries to name two. However, the Socialist Party as it exists in this country does a poor job representing those philosophies.

5) To dismiss all Democrats is a disingenuous argument and proves number 4 above.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 13, 2010 3:15 AM

Your fury is misplaced.

The idea of giving LGBT money to bigots like Leah Daughtry and Tim Kaine took a drubbing. As one person said it's collaborating with our own oppression. It's completely offensive.

That idea, as you admit, got thrashed. More so at Pam's than here but it got battered wherever it got posted. By a clear large majority, one that even surprised me. For the last 3 or 4 years I've been bad mouthing Democrats (no one deserves it more) at every turn but it didn't begin to have much effect until they, and especially Obama, proved me right.

Since you continue to think that some Democrat are worth supporting you haven't learned the lesson of this discussion; namely that Democrats are defined by their party. Sooner or later they all sell out. Barney Frank gutted ENDA and jumped all over transfolk to please the Chamber of Commerce. Baldwin voted with Frank. Mikulski voted for DOMA. Etc.

(Why are you doing on and on about the SP? They're moribund. Most of their members, like most of the members of the Communist Party long ago buried themselves in the swamp of Democrat party politics and haven't been seen since. "The Socialist Party does not have enough money to win this election." I don't think they're running. Like you they usually blunder and support Democrats. In any case elections in a banana republic are useful only for education purposes. They don't change squat.)

For now there is no unified socialist party for fundamental change in the US but lots of people are working on it. Those numbers are growing in direct proportion to the headlong rightwing turn of Democrats. Look at the reports on the recent USSF and Labor Notes conferences. They indicate that a huge radicalization is underway.

http://www.ussf2010.org/

http://labornotes.org/conference

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 13, 2010 4:22 AM

Part of what I read into percentages of Americans who favor anything is the basic fact that they can favor whatever they like. Half of them do not vote because it is too damn inconvenient to do so. How about the handicapped? That is part of the reason so many elders come to the polls skewing us conservative. They have the time to vote. At best, people with a one day job *every other year* operate polling stations. Often they do not know their job that well. It is slow and it is often confusing. Local mandates or voter propositions can vary county by county and then there is the always present unknown judges one might be electing.

The voting machines don't necessarily work correctly either as history has shown.

When does our electoral process get out of the 18th century with each interested American getting a federal "account" with relevant local ballot initiatives by their county of residence included in their vote in the same manner one has a banking or brokerage account? It is the job of the local county election board to add any ballot initiatives and the job of the election committee as well to offer a full bio and positions on each candidate for comparison by a voter. People could do this from their home computer or while traveling and it would also largely eliminate absentee ballot voting which is costly. Leave the polling places open for the few who cannot make the technology leap. Within twenty years voting could be a fully online experience.

If you want voter participation I believe this is what you should advocate first. Fewer people at a poll booth means more people who need to quickly vote can get through faster as well and media types would be unable to scorecard "precincts" in the manner they do now which unfairly influences the West Coast. Imagine, voting while being able to click on a candidates picture and reading their bio and positions on a raft of issues. It could mean we become something closer to a democracy.

What is clear from this debate is that some people want to stop all donations to Democrats (DNC) and others just want to be more selective and pick their own recipients. The GayTM is not closed.

The so-called "threat" isn't really effective and most people are just being smarter about their support of political efforts. Spalding, Aravosis and others pushing the threats and "demands" are the same people that gave us GetEQUAL and the effort to "embarrass Democrats." It is counterproductive.

In any event, November will be quite a wake-up call for the LGBT Community. After the mid-terms, it is going to fell a lot like 1994. Then, what?

There is no political solution to LGBT equality.

AndrewW,

I'm curious what you think the solution is, if "there is not political solution to LGBT equality."

Changing minds.

As a movement we have not invested in any concerted effort to enroll people in our equality. We have never re-branded what it means to be "gay." We have never been proactive.

The truth is two-thirds of our fellow citizens will stand with us on the single issue of "equality" - if we leave religion and politics out of the conversation. If 60-70% of Americans believe we are "equal," and stand for the basic human principle of "equality," we would succeed politically.

I understand Phil's point about building a coalition, but the more issues you try to organize, the less likely that coalition will succeed. I don't think we need to complicate the issue in order to gain support - equality is enough.

This most be done on a State-by-State basis with outreach and polling. It will be decades before we could change enough minds in Oklahoma or Alabama, but we could change 10 States and that would give us the US Senate.

We shouldn't simply use the "cultural conversation" as a barometer of our success - we should participate in the cultural conversation with efforts to fully educate people about our community in a positive manner. The only time we advertise is when we are in an election/referendum and we are always cast as pitiful "victims." As the most creative, passionate and talented people on the earth, we can do much better.

Ultimately, we need to re-ignite our community. Only one-in-ten of us participates or contributes. I don't think will ever happen unless we can provide a verifiable path to victory. People are burnt out and frustrated. They called, emailed, rallied, donated and marched - but, they have nothing significant to show for it. Frustration leads to apathy.

It is important to hold more than organizations accountable - we must hold every single tactic, method or strategy accountable. We must determine what actually works and figure out how to get everyone involved. It will require that WE create our equality instead of hoping for an elusive political solution.

I think people may finally understand that reality after the upcoming mid-term elections. At that point we will have to decide what to do in the two years leading up to the next Presidential election (2012). It would be a great time to start a real, sustainable movement and I think that is looking more and more likely.

friday jones | July 13, 2010 8:16 PM

Gosh, if we don't support Democratic candidates, then Republicans will dominate US politics and they might even pass a law denying full faith and credit to homosexual marriages performed in states where it's legal. It might get so bad that gay service members are discharged just for being homosexual! Think what a nightmare scenario THAT would be!

Oh, dang....

Joe:

I find it very hard to believe that you did not think that your original article would illicet the reactions that it did. You said your piece nd others said theirs.

The whole idea about the "gAyTM" is to wothold money from Democratic PAC's the DNC, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee because they blanket the funds to both gay and non-gay supportive candidates because they themselves cannot get thier candidates on the same page. (And also the HRC because they send donations to these PAC's) No one EVER said stop giving totally. It was also said to give directly to gay positive candidates and gay political groups like the Victory Fund. Which of course you didn't mention, and this is something that we need to start doing if we are ever going to become a powerful voting block within this country.

Personally I found your original article more of an attempt to push a buttons and garner some attention but thats my opinion. And truthfully I resent your follow-up of playing a victim to get even MORE attention (Oh they hurt me with their ugly comments)

Well the people that know me know better. The reason I write is because I believe that information is vital to moving our community closer to equality. Blogging for me is a selfless act, believe it or not.

I was motivated to write this series because I wanted the community to have a conversation about the midterm elections.Mission accomplished.

Anyway, I'm pleased that the community is talking. I'm pleased that the message was heard by the people in power. I'm humbled that I have the opportunity to participate in the conversation in such a visible way. If you go back and read the rest of my work, you might get to know me a little better, because clearly right now, you have no idea who I am or what motivates me.

And you should not expect everyone, everywhere to know you and take it in stride when you cross post a potentially explosive articles on 3 dirrent sites with different readers and then get bent at the comments.

So you bear that in mind also

I posted on 3 different sites, because I wanted to reach the broadest audience possible with the message because I think it is incredibly important that our community know what our opponents are up to. $300 million is a lot of money and will do serious damage to Progressives.

Yes that why you donate DIRECTLY TO progressives and not to BLANKET Democratic organizations. And thats due mostly to the Blue Dogs and Conservative Dems that also get your money when you contribute to the DNC, Lets be blunt 300 Million is alot but its not the majority portion of their fundraising. And at this point the Dems have let down so many and lost alot of support from other groups and individuals because of thier first wishy washy two years. If they lose it's by their own actions. No ones elses

Stuart Wilber | July 18, 2010 9:45 AM

Joe Mirabella is a friend of our community and someone whom I respect and admire and with whom I have sometimes disagreed (hopefully with more civility than has been expressed by some of these commentators) but still count as an ally; disagree with him as you choose, but do it with civility. Speaking one’s truth when it is controversial takes guts. He poses some good questions and offers up potential solutions to a dilemma, I for one am confronting – how do I support the ‘good guys’ without supporting the ‘bad guys.’
What short memories we have – eight years of Bush and a Republican dominated legislature which dragged us into two wars, gutted our economy and whose base was built on protecting the ‘family’ and ‘children’ and homophobic utterances; two years of dissembling and blaming the new administration for the economy and those two wars and even defending the oil companies who caused the oil spill. And in case you hadn’t noticed, we, and our inclusive alphabet soup are not included in their definition of ‘family’ and it isn’t our children the Teabaggers and Republicans are trying to protect. Our Straight Allies are not even considered part of their ‘real’ America. Do any of you really think this is preferable to a President, Speaker of the House and Senate Majority leader who risk their political careers just by uttering the words Gay and Lesbian and Bisexual and Transgender in this atmosphere of political divisiveness fueled by religious bigotry and bankrolled by homophobic hysteria?
Perhaps it is my age – at 72 I have been fighting my battles, our battles, a long time; I share your impatience, I have less time than most of you to see my dream of equality fulfilled. From my perspective, I see progress these past two years, and I saw regression the previous eight. Like many of you I have received 2010 'Presidential Surveys' asking for money from the DNC. I write in my own list of priorities and explain that I will be donating directly to candidates who support the issues I care about. I do this not only in the body of the survey, but where the credit card information goes, because I know they care more about my money than my opinion. I think the idea of a separate DNC fund for LGBTQ donations is a reasonable one; I will include it in my response to this latest ‘survey’, the fifth our household has received this year. But whatever we do we must not just sit out the midterms; the reality is that it can get worse; it was worse two years ago. If you doubt it, then go to a Teabagger rally or read the platform of the Texas Republican Party.
As for Joe Mirabella and his ‘controversial’ opinions – disagree with him if you choose, but let’s not impugn his integrity or disparage his good intentions. He wants the same thing I hope each of his detractors yearn for, full equality under the law. And he’s smart enough to realize that sometimes we must embrace realpolitik to achieve it.