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Why the tension between LGBTers and the President's ardent supporters [View All]

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Prism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-18-09 01:16 PM
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Why the tension between LGBTers and the President's ardent supporters
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Edited on Thu Jun-18-09 01:17 PM by Prism
President Obama's victory initiated a momentum where the celebrants and the LGBT community had to, by necessity, move in two somewhat different directions. It seems counterintuitive, but it's true.

When Republicans held power, the LGBT community could scream bloody murder, but it would never make much difference in the world.

With Democrats in power, we feel now that things could move in our favor. It's an opportunity, and it's a limited one. The pendulum will swing again to Republicans in time. Both sides like to talk about permanent majorities, but they just don't happen in history. Even if the Republican Party disintegrated tomorrow, something else would rise from its ashes representing the same conservative forces.

We have this slip of time, and as the first hundred days melted into the second, into six months, into . . . we began growing anxious. That anxiety was not helped by mixed signals from the President and those around him. All we have ever had are promises and tea leaves and lighter wallets. He says he supports us, he cavorts with known homophobes, he appoints a handful of gay individuals, he does nothing his first six months in office.

And ever that ticking clock.

That DOMA brief especially came like a drive-by egging while we were looking in the other direction, eyes on our watches. These federal "benefits" are the towel tossed to us from that same car making a return trip. It's not nearly enough to abrogate the offense.

We push because we can push when Democrats are in power. We push because we must push when liberalism is ascending. If we waste our opportunities now, we may find ourselves waiting another eight years. None of us are getting younger. In fact, as we get older, what happens with health benefits, pensions, and our children becomes an increasing source of anger and fear.

We've learned our lessons from the Clinton administration. If we cannot wait, we will not wait. We will push and fight and never ever back down, and we will hold Obama to account every single second of every single day, because these are our lives.

It's an irony in our current politics. When who we want is in power, we then need to proceed to beat the crap out of them to get what we want. Clinton and Blue Dog Democrats taught us that lesson, and it has been well-learned.

We didn't start this twisted dance toward equality, but we're going to finish it. It sucks, but that's just how it has to be now.

======

Just some added thoughts:

This isn't to say that the LGBT community's goals aren't the same as everyone else's or that other causes aren't also pressing. We want health care reform, but we also want to make sure our families are protected by that reform. We want an end to military conflict, but we want LGBT veterans to be cared for and honored the same as their counterparts. We want social security to be available for the foreseeable future, but we want our families to benefit from it the same as yours.

LGBT Democrats are working for progressive reform, but there is an added undercurrent, always, for us. Nearly every law and reform passed by this administration carries an extra dimension for us, because we are currently not protected and not participant in the same ways 95% of the population is. There is no escape for us from this - never.

Government is not a house in need of repair - it is a swiftly moving river that must be channeled and corralled in perpetuity. There will always be an economy, there will always be health care, and there will never be a day where we gaze upon them from the seat of power and declare, "There, we've fixed it at last." To wait for that day in pursuit of our cause is to quiet ourselves in vain.

We must push. Our efforts will always be a game of political Goldilocks. Some will say we are too soft, some too rough. We will never balance or find that "just right" in a political body of a hundred million people.

But as long as all that pushing and shoving and scuffling is moving in the same direction, we should be ok in the end.

---

This was originally a reply to Jackeen's very thoughtful post, but I'm posting it in its own thread at the urging of several posters.
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