12/18/2008

And The Band Played On....

Gay MArching BandImage by jtowns via Flickr
But Obama told reporters in Chicago that America needs to "come together," even when there's disagreement on social issues. "That dialogue is part of what my campaign is all about," he said.

Yet, how do we "come together" when Obama signals that a minority group will always be given short shrift when politically expedient to woo bigots and those whose sole purpose is to divide the world into an "us vs. them" paradigm?

Rick Warren, a major backer of Prop 8 in California has compared gay relationships to incest and child molestation. He has advocated the inhuman and destructive process of "Conversion Therapy" for LGBT people and despite his "social issue" progress on AIDS (in Africa), he famously backed the conservative African Bishops against the Episcopal church's first openly gay Bishop.

Barack Obama, despite his own stumbles with LGBT Americans in the past had managed to garner a great deal of goodwill and political capital with the community. Most of us were willing to wait patiently for him to get around to our issues, secure in the knowledge that he would not sell us out politically as Bill Clinton had done after his election.

LGBT Americans worked hard for Obama just as they had for Clinton. Clinton, famously then signed the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy and the "Defense of Marriage Act" in order to make nice with the extreme right wing.

Suddenly, with Warren being given center stage at the Inauguration we have a strange sense of Deja Vu. This choice was a slap in the face since once more we are asked to step to the back of the bus while the hateful Evangelicals are given a platform for political expediency.

With this one act, despite the calls that Obama is a "true uniter" LGBT Americans are reading this as a sign that we are once more to be political collateral damage. We see this as a sign that when his back is against the wall with these people that we will be the sacrificial lambs as always. In other words, this choice, despite its political expediency seems nothing more than the same old political manipulation of the rights of a minority for the gain of a professional politician.

Futhermore, Obama has claimed that LGBT citizens will be represented at the Inauguration. However, what he failed to say was exactly how they would be represented. Turns out our representative at the big day will be a Gay Marching Band who'll participate in the Inaugural Parade. Yes, while Extremist Evangelicals get to take center stage and hobnob with the President-Elect, we will get to perform in a parade. Maybe I'm cynical but is Obama really telling us that Warren will have his ear while we'll be entertainment relief for his administration? (Source)

What Obama has managed to do is appeal to those in the Democratic Party who would rather LGBT not exist at all. He will not shore up his stature among Evangelicals who still are saying he's not even an American Citizen and still fuming that he is secretly a Muslim. They will not be wooed by this best-selling author and rich superstar being given a moment on the stage, unless he launches into a diatribe against LGBT people, pagans, muslims, and pro-choice backers while on stage.

Instead Obama has lost his "honeymoon" with true Progressives and LGBT people. He has moved up his timetable immensely for having to accomplish something real for the community by months or years. LGBT people and true Progressives who formed the hard working grassroots organizations who got Obama this far will be expecting some real progress on those issues now within his first 100 days instead of months or years down the road.

Let's hope that Mr. Warren's "invocation" does not go off the rails and that Obama will move quickly in the days following this insult to let LGBT Americans know that we are not second class citizens and that he truly is committed to equality, despite his promotion of hate-filled ministers during a seminal moment in American history.


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