Michael Emanuel Rajner

With Equality on the Line, Your Vote is Critical

Filed By Michael Emanuel Rajner | October 22, 2010 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: ADAP, Charlie Crist, Don't Ask Don't Tell, George LeMieux, John McCain, Kendrick Meek, Klein, Ron, Sarah Palin, US Senate

Conservative right-wing extremists are working harder than ever to get elected US Capitol Building.jpgand trample on the rights and hopes of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. While many of us may be angered and frustrated with the slow progress for LGBT-equality, we must not allow that anger and frustration translate into voter apathy in the November 2 General Election. Whether you vote by absentee ballot, vote by mail, early voting, or at your designated precinct, our community and other fair-minded Floridians must vote to keep our hopes and dreams not only alive but in the realm of possibility.

Over the past several years, I have made many visits to Washington DC and Tallahassee to lobby for LGBT and HIV/AIDS-related legislation. Each visit is exhaustive; yet, each time I have a greater sense of pride with our Democratic delegation that proudly take a stand to be a champion for our community. Even Blue Dog Democrats such as US Senator Bill Nelson and US Representative Allen Boyd are engaged and receptive to make certain the US Congress passes an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), successfully repeals the military's homophobic policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and continues to not only advance other issues of equality, but also increase efforts of equity and parity for LGBT-Americans as it relates to our nation's healthcare systems.

In order to achieve these goals, we as a community, must make certain that our champions are elected. On the federal level, I must highlight the races for Florida's US Senate seat and the 22nd Congressional District (Broward & Palm Beach Counties).

First, let's begin with Florida's US Senate seat currently occupied by right-wing conservative Senator George LeMieux, who was never elected to office. LeMieux was appointed to the US Senate by Florida Governor Charlie Crist who is now campaigning like the biggest flip-flopping political whore to get elected to the US Senate.

Crist's appointee to the US Senate has continually railed up against the rights of LGBT-Americans. This is the same Charlie Crist who supported the campaign of John McCain and Sarah Palin, and Crist has continually failed to champion efforts to advance equality for LGBT-Floridians while serving as a Florida State Senator, Commissioner of Education, Attorney General or Governor.

Crist & me 2010 - Press Skits.jpgJust last month, Crist has guaranteed that Florida will continue to teach Abstinence-Only Sex-Education and continue to alienate LGBT-youth during a time when HIV-infection rates among gay men continue to climb. In just a matter of days after the election, Crist will authorize the termination of access to life-saving HIV-medications for thousands in Florida to the state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). People living in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties are expected to incur the majority of the impact.

In 2008, when our community failed in a fight to defeat the amendment banning marriage equality and civil unions, Crist was often seen grinning for a camera while campaigning to support the passage of the ballot measure. Kendrick Meek is the only US Senate Candidate who stood with our community.

US Representative Kendrick Meek is working extremely hard to be our US Senator and fight for the rights of LGBT-Americans. In the US House of Representatives, Kendrick has continually voted to support all legislative efforts to advance the rights of LGBT-Americans and signed onto "Dear Colleague" letters and letters to President Obama calling for immediate action on issues directly impacting LGBT-Americans. I have never felt more confident that Kendrick is the man to champion equality for our community in the United States Senate.

Me & Kendrick-deerfield DEM club.jpg

Another critical race is the 22nd Congressional District currently held by US Representative Ron Klein. Ron, like Kendrick, has a solid record of support for our community. Ron's opponent is right-wing conservative Allen West, a former US Army Colonel who was forced to retire, told me to my face, on several occasions, that he does not support the repeal of the military's discriminatory policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". West compared our sexual identity to that of an improper hair cut.

Like Kendrick, Ron Klein will fight for us. But in order for that to happen, we need to make certain they are both elected.

I share your anger; I share your frustration, but please vote. You have my word that if our community remains active and present during this election, without shame, I will be there with you raising all hell and holding every elected Democrat accountable to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Floridians. I am with you in our fight!


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Sorry but are you serious? Democrats are working on GLBT rights even the Blue Dogs. Let's see we have a false DADT repeal that were voted against by 2 Democrats. The president did not make one call to any of the on the fence Senators. Not one but he did have time to call the WNBA champions on that day.
EDNA??? Really?? We have at least 2 Republican Senators on board with EDNA and a third is questionable and yet no action taken. Where is our fierce advocate. Why has he spent zero political capital on any of our issues? And no making pretty speeches does not count as political capital.
Others on another blog have labeled it being a Gay Rhianna. We keep getting hit and thrown under the bus by the Democrats. Then we're told I'm sorry we love you we won't hit you again. Then it happens again. She was smart enough to leave her abuser we don't seem to be. The republicans never promised they were our friends. They didn't stab us in the back because they never claimed to be something they or not.
I say it's time to look at the individual candidate and stop blindly voting and giving money to the Democrats. My Congressman and Senator who are both Democrats have earned my votes. My governor not so much so the Green Party will get my vote. And we as a community should not be giving money to DNC, DSCC,OFA, or HRC who help elect Democrats who do not have our backs. Give to pro-gay candidates your money and your votes whether they be Republican, Democrat, Green, or some other party. We need to stop being motivated by fear to vote for the lesser of two evils. The lesson is if you are you are still voting for evil. The world will not end if a Republican wins if the Democrat is only slightly better.

I will be voting for Meek. IMHO anyone who votes for Crist is in reality voting for Rubio. Crist is only in the race to assure a Rubio victory. I'm guessing Crist has been promised a plush post election job by Republican bigwigs if he stays in and Rubio wins. I'm shocked that some democrats would be oblivious to such a simple ruse from the bag of dirty tricks.

My representative to the house is Connie Mack and I will be voting against him. Unfortunately he will win easily unless he does something like commit an ax murder on the public square in broad daylight between now and election day.

A vote for Crist is a vote for Rubio. Thanks for supporting Kendrick!

Michael Emanuel Rajner you do great work, but remember when you were in Palm Springs last. We could not get any of our Democrat elected Mayor or council members to come to the National Associaition of People With AIDS. They refuse to assciate themselves with the word... AIDS. We dems have along way to go!

Dennis, we did have one elected (perhaps former elected) official who did attend. For that conference, we relied on the local community and local organizations.

In South Florida, I'm very proud of the Democratic Congressional Delegation. I just wish my delegation how the ability to make call the shots in Congress.

Stonewall Girl Stonewall Girl | October 22, 2010 4:47 PM

Michael,
We work to elect our friends, those who will fight for us like a Ron Klein and Kendrick Meek! As we have in NJ, Democratic blue dogs like John Adler for whom we have gained political capital and respect, we work to elect him, because he "get's it" and votes for LGBT issues.

for some of us, it's really easy, you have a champion, support him or her. But we must also look to the bigger picture and the reason why we sometimes struggle for seemingly a small step. We often don't see opportunity. The opportunity to gain political capital, muscle and respect! it's the ability to make a sometime friend into a reliable friend, the ability to have your agenda on the forefront and to move it! We gain that by being part of the infrastructure, by being there, by voting, by volunteering, by writing checks, by being part of the campaigns and party structures.

It's not instant gratification, it takes energy, time and desire, but it has paid off in my own experience, sometimes years later where the groundwork was laid and followed up upon.

It is up to us, if we had a 1000 Michaels!?

... we cannot quit, just look at our enemies, they just keep on fighting against us! now is not the time to quit..it is an opportunity to make a difference and then let everyone know that we WERE there and we made that difference and we are
needed in 435 house races, in how many Senate races and all the way down the line!

This is an opportunity to bare our teeth, not to stick our heads in the sand... I'm sorry, I fear a Speaker Boehner, a Senate leader DeMint! I'm not a masochist!

I've said it before, but don't let "perfect" be the enemy of "good" (even if a politician is uncommitted or neutral on our issues it's far better than being a clear enemy).

Given the polling data it shows as a big night for the Ultra Right. They are generally not those which support the rights of LGBT Americans. We can only hope that the great pollsters are in error. After all, in this day and age of cellphones and answering machines few would give their number out to someone like that anyway. If those of us who only use a cellphone (myself included) having cut the wires to AT&T or some other wired phone service which is the way most poll, decide to vote the polls could all be wrong. One can hope that is the way it will go anyway.

I like many am pretty unhappy with the Democrats this time around after their having almost two years with a free hand to move those pieces of legislation forward that would be in the interest of LGBT Americans but failing to get most of it done. Even aside from that their failure to pass real Health Care Reform but instead wimp out with Insurance Industry compromise, and not pull a rabbit out of their top hat when it come to creating jobs, they have largely only done as little as they felt they needed to do. This while they got elected on the promise of sweeping change. So they may get spanked a bit this time around. I hope they do not because if they could not move things like ENDA before, with less Democrats in office they sure will not get those things passed in the next Congress.

Thanks Michael.
And for my brothers and sisters out there....
IF the GLBTQ Community does not turn out in force, well we will get what we deserve.
It's a numbers thing people. It's a movement in the right direction thing. We have some awesome candidates that are in races that are too close to call. Yes, we're disappointed in the performance of the politicians. What to punish them by staying home? Let me know how that works out for ya. The stakes are too damn high. Bondi for attorney General? Are you frakking kidding me? Really? West for Congress? That's a solution? That would sure make Florida Family Council PAC very happy.

It's important to remember that while the party isn't doing much, there are plenty of people within the party worth supporting.

You are correct! In the case of South Florida, our pro-equality candidates are worth supporting. Especially when you look at their opponents!