Blue State Blues
A week ago today, yet another blue state enacted a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage forever! At least that’s the intent of such amendments to constitutions. So on a day that I really wanted to address the issue of tort reform that has been dragged by Republicans into the health care debate, I find once again that my attention is pulled by another attack on me and those like me. Whatever you may think of gay people, we are CITIZENS of the United States of America and our respective states. Most of us, like myself, were born here into families that go back to the days of The Colonies. Yet, there is a hateful group of people who has taken it upon themselves to marginalize us because we do not agree with their religious beliefs. Isn’t that why The Pilgrims came here to begin with? Of course, that knowledge could only be obtained by actually reading American History instead of listening to some meathead like Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly. I guess that’s just too much to ask.
In the GLBT community, angst grows and threats are made to mount more demonstrations across the land to protest our ill treatment. However, judging from the media response to 200,000 GLBT citizens on The Mall in Washington, D.C. recently, I honestly don’t know how that’s going to help us much. And there are those in the movement who suggest that we should go and visit our elected officials in their offices and protest our treatment. While as late as two weeks ago I might have gotten excited about such a plan, I have noted in my recent contact with those who claim to be my representatives in Washington, that they are not in the least interested in anything that I have to say. Of course, they are a trio of Republicans, and I expected as much. But what about the Democrats? Where were they when people in Maine were abolishing our citizenship last Tuesday? As usual, they were AWOL! For those of you who are unfamiliar with that acronym, it is military-speak for “absent without leave.”
You know, it is bad enough that Republicans are cozying up to their extreme right-wing base in bashing us, but for me the feckless Democrats are far more offensive. Every two years they come before the gay community with their hats in their hands asking us to come out and vote for them, knowing full well that we don’t have much in the way of an alternative. And every two years we haul ourselves up, write blogs, become delegates to local, state and national Democratic conventions, work on campaigns and pour out our support and go vote for Democrats running for office only to be dismissed after the election. Now, this dismissal is not only coming from leadership within the Democratic Party; it is coming in dead silence and lack of support among the rank and file who enjoy the fruits of our labors when their candidates are elected, but fail to show up in support of their fellows when under attack. What are we doing?
For years the GLBT community has mocked and belittled The Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay Republicans. These folks just keep slogging away at the Republican Party by showing up at conventions and rallies only to be denied admission or participation. We shake our heads at their naiveté and accuse them of stupidity for banging their heads against a brick wall. The Log Cabin Republicans still cling to the idea that they can only change the Republican Party from the inside, so they persist in their efforts. To be fair to them, they really believe in the more moderate message of the Old Republican Party that deals with fiscal issues and the joys of capitalism. Believe it or not, there are many, many gay small business owners, and I do not fault them for taking care of their own economic interests.
But what about the rest of us in the GLBT community? If we are political—and not everyone is—we tend to think of ourselves as Democrats because of the social oppression that we have experienced in our lifetimes. We are attracted to the Democratic Party because it tends to address social injustice. Recently, we have watched in horror while George W. Bush promised not to do anything against gay Texans while Governor and then gay Americans while president, then turned into a supporter of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to permanently take away our rights. In fact, when running for Texas governor as a moderate Republican, Bush commented the old, “Some of mine and Laura’s best friends are gay.” While not naming names, I have always suspected that this is the “secret reason” that so many right-wing crazies came out swinging when Harriet Myers was nominated for Supreme Court Justice. Now, that’s just based on rumors I heard around Dallas in my court reporting days there. So, I’m not stating that as a fact. Like Rush and Glenn, I’m just putting it out there as a thought.
Anyway, we all know how fervent “W” became in his support of the right-wing anti-gay agenda, particularly during his re-election campaign. In fact, he and Karl Rove used it very effectively to get the “right” voters out in Ohio and swing the election in his direction. And it has been downhill for us ever since that chilly November day in 2004. With a steady push by the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party, state after state has adopted anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendments, more often than not putting them out there in off-off-year elections to get those who are gung-ho out there with little pushback from everyday citizens. This was the successful tactic in Maine last week, but let us not forget California. One year ago, Democrat Barack Obama handily carried The Golden State, reputedly the most liberal state west of Massachusetts, while leaving the gay community behind in the dust of defeat. In electing their first president, the black community of California came out and voted against equal rights for gay Californians. How shameful! After being called on to help elect Barack Obama, gay voters in California were stabbed in the back by many of Obama’s supporters. OUTRAGEOUS!
So what should we do? I’ve given this much thought since the news from Maine. I was by no means stunned by yet another defeat. I was hurt that it came in a so-called blue state instead of a state like mine that is more RED than Mao’s China in its group-think. But what it really tells me is that those folks that turned out to support and vote for Barack Obama last November were unwilling to give up their plans last Tuesday night to help a friend in need. After basking in the warm glow of last year’s victory, liberals who are not gay are not particularly interested in returning our support. Instead, they stay home and let those who oppress us manipulate democracy to deny freedom of religion to American Citizens who happen to be gay. Is this more their fault or more our fault?
One of the maxims of psychiatry is that “insanity” is defined by doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Isn’t that what the GLBT community is doing politically? Aren’t we blindly giving support to Democrats who then turn around and ignore our oppression once they are comfortably installed in office? Of course, we are. How do we stop? We just STOP!
I know it’s radical, but here’s my plan. Bear with me while I explain, and don’t give up on me until the end, okay? I thought about just dropping out and refusing to vote for a few years. We all know that the Democrats, who are wrangling among themselves to the point of total inability to get anything done in Washington, are going to really, really need our votes next year as the Republicans mount their comeback offensive. It’s time to say no and mean no. I know that sounds dangerous because that puts more Republican power back into Congress, but to me that’s a risk we have to take. Then, after that, come 2012, with the country still in a funk and the prospects of a Sarah Palin or Tim Pawlenty or even Mitt Romney on the presidential horizon, President Obama is going to come calling yet again, hat in hand, begging for support, dragging Oprah behind him. We can pretty well bet that those same old swing states will be swinging and every vote will count. What if we say no one more time? It could cost Barack Obama his re-election. I know that for many in the GLBT movement this is a frightening thought, but stick with me.
The greatest problem with this plan, other than the election of some nut job like Palin, is that the “gay vote” is dismissed or discounted as being unimportant in the outcome. That’s because there is no way for us to be counted if we stay home in protest. So, let’s do something really radical! Let’s form our own third party. I would call it The Pink Party so there could be no doubt about where it’s coming from. It would work like this. We would run as many candidates as we could for every federal office, including President of the United States. Crazy, you say! Of course, it’s crazy. That’s why it will work. Let’s not fool ourselves that we will win seats in Congress or actually mount any kind of a serious run for the presidency, but our votes will show up as a protest. And just like the myth that Ralph Nader and the Green Party cost Al Gore Florida in 2000, if in fact a swing state is carried by the Republican Presidential Candidate by less than the Pink Party vote, the Dems will realize that they need us after all. Then we will have a seat at the bargaining table, something we do not have now.
To put the icing on this cake, I was “treated” to the sight of the whining Carrie Prejean on Today this morning. Oh, poor dear, she’s under attack from everyone for daring to exercise her right to free speech. BOO HOO! In a few years she will marry a young guy she really loves, or an older man whose bank account she loves, maybe even somebody else’s husband, and she’ll go on to live a happy life with kids and all the rights and benefits that inure to a married lady in America and California. And you, my dear, sweet, gay person, will still be prohibited from seeing your ailing “partner” in the hospital unless his/her fundamentalist family grants you permission. So, Miss Prejean, spare me your troubles. They are fleeting, and in the end they will be unimportant to your life, once you get one. And my dear, sweet, gay person, your problems are not fleeting. This is your life! Isn’t it time you got off your pink, but lovely ass, and did something about it? VOTE PINK!
I’m Jack, I am who I am, and I’M HITTING BACK!