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  • « A first look at the exit polls | Main | Reality doesn't bite so much »

    November 05, 2008

    We interrupt this fairy tale for a dose of reality

    Posted by: Kevin

    Alg_chicagocelebration I want to congratulate Barack Obama and add that he will indeed be my President, too.  It's not just a slogan, but it's real and from the heart.  I hope God will bless and protect him, and help guide him in facing the many challenges awaiting him in the coming years.  I share Chris' pride in the historic aspect of Obama's decisive election as the first African American U.S. President - something that I always wondered whether I'd see in my lifetime.  That it has happened, and that American women also advanced so decisively in this political season, are truly wonderful symbols of where America stands in the long march of political and cultural evolution.

    But why gay Americans should be shitting themselves with glee right now is, frankly, something I can't comprehend.  The 2008 election was, in fact, a disaster for gays.  And as the reality of our situation in America sets in over the coming days, as well as the next two years, it seems that nothing but a crashing disillusionment set against the backdrop of such wild celebrations last night is the only thing that could smack the gay community awake once and for all.

    Our defeat on Proposition 8 in California is the biggest, most glaring wound on the landscape, and will be infamous for decades to come.  This is the greatest loss of gay civil rights since the Bowers v. Hardwick decision of 1986.  Latino voters came out in huge numbers for Obama, and also voted for Proposition 8.  Worse yet, African Americans clogged California's polling places to vote for Obama with a fervent zeal, and with equal fervency voted overwhelmingly against us (currently as much as 70% voting yes on 8).  Obama won the state by about 2.5 million votes, and Yes appears to be winning by about a half-million votes.  A similarly glaring defeat came in Florida, another state that Obama carried, where a gay marriage ban passed by about 2 million votes.  Nationally, the anti-gay wave just about ran the table in all the states where gay issues were on the ballot.  Only in tiny Connecticut did voters reject the opening of a constitutional convention to throw out that state's court decision legalizing gay marriage earlier this year.

    I understand the emotion around Obama's message of "hope."  Who wouldn't want to be hopeful with all their heart and soul at these moments of great fear and uncertainty about the global economy, two wars overseas and the ever-present threats to us at home?  But exactly why should gays be so bathed in political hope at this moment?  I'd like to see a convincing case made by the Democratic leadership coming into nearly unchecked power in Washington in January.  But I'm afraid the reality will be something else entirely. 

    The experience we are very likely to share as a community over the next two years might be exactly what we need in order to shake this moribund, brain dead movement of ours back to life and make it relevant, saavy and effective once and for all.  That's about all I can be hopeful about now.

    I've said it endlessly before, and I'll say it again: the national Democratic Party doesn't care one bit about gay rights, beyond pleasant words and reaping big, pliant cash donations.  The cold reality of that is evident in their total lack of deeds on the national level.  That we hang breathlessly waiting to merely be mentioned in a presidential candidate's speech is a pathetic but true reflection of our situation, and sadly it has been all we've gotten in return for our slavish loyalty to one party.  Now that this party will have unprecedented power for the next two years, all we have is hope that they will live up to their flowery words.

    But here is the cold reality: despite the likelihood that the next two years will be a peak in Democratic political power in Washington, the Defense of Marriage Act will not be repealed (in full or in part) by 2010, or even during the Obama presidency, no matter how long it lasts.  It won't even come to a vote in the next Congress, and President Obama will not make any effort to promote such a vote in the next Congress.  The current ban on gays in the military will not be overturned by 2010, nor probably by 2012.  Federal recognition of gay marriages and civil unions by Congress, either for immigration purposes or tax benefits, will not happen in the next four years.  And while the Employment Non-Discrimination Act might -- might -- see the light of day before 2010 and will have the votes it needs to become law, it will undoubtedly draw an even more fervent, punishing, self-defeating challenge on the issue of transgender rights from the left.

    When I learned on Facebook this morning that dear gay friends of mine in New York were dancing in Times Square, and other friends in Washington were celebrating in front of the White House and actually comparing the experience to the fall of the Berlin Wall -- while gay marriage was going down the toilet in California -- it was astounding to me.  And deeply saddening and alienating.  The level of unreality that seems to be intensifying in the gay urban ghettos back home is just amazing to me; I probably was just as guilty of it before I was able to move away and get some more perspective.  Who knows.

    I will probably get nothing but angry comments for this post, but frankly, I don't care.  To be honest, I don't really know what good it is for anyone who dissents on the prevailing gay political dogma to blog much anymore.  Despite the fact that 27% of gay Americans dissented yesterday in the voting booth, they are demonized by their fellow gays with a vehemence that borders on fanaticism.  When you dissent on a gay blog and take a more conservative or opposing view, the folks who agree with you send private emails but don't participate, and there is an army of conformist, venomous partisans ready to use every kind of personal attack to try to silence you.  It becomes an exercise in punishment rather than participation.  Dale Carpenter said it best, and the kind of personal destruction practiced by gays on other gays in the political sphere today is only matched by the anti-gay movement itself in victory after victory at the polls against us.  I see no bright, shining lights of hope in any of this.  I am, in fact, ashamed.

    The last thing I ever wanted was to write something like this post - and as it comes true over the next two years, the idea of gloating over it is beyond unseemly.  I hate the way things are.  I don't want them to get worse.  I would much prefer to be happy about yesterday's results and the trajectory of gay rights in America.  But the reality that I see that is informed by history, by experience, and by the cold, hard numbers of this election, and it couldn't be shaken off no matter how much I might want to delude myself, and that's why I'm writing this.  And it's also why I am saying goodbye to Citizen Crain.

    Movement politics used to be about strategic thinking, and about making a clear, undaunted moral case for your cause.  It used to be about raising the level of intelligence, grace and tenacity of an aggrieved community and really struggling every day to unite them, body and soul, behind an effort whose might would be its righteousness.  The gay movement used to be about thinking outside the box, including the one we ourselves might be in, and taking nothing for granted.  But something happened over the last several years that changed all that.  Now it's just a huge pathetic joke, a gigantic string of twitters, "status" one-liners, bitchy snits, gossip, celebrity worship and empty groupthink.  A gigantic co-opting of our energies by a political party that does nothing in return.  Besides a whole lot of fundraising.  Where some of its veterans, like Kate Kendall in California, have managed to not just "know hope" but actually make real strides, the wide swath of gay leaders in power right now have done nothing but fail miserably time and time and time and time again in recent years despite having political winds at their backs, and if they don't make a gigantic strategic shift immediately, the next two years will be their Waterloo.

    I'm so dispirited and, frankly, fed up, that I doubt I'll be blogging on this site after today.  I know I won't be missed, and I certainly won't miss the drudgery of the personal attacks.  I've just grown tired of fighting, and I'm far too involved in my new life in Brazil to be of any use to this site anymore.  As much as I love and support my friend Chris in his endeavors, including this site, I find the idea of going my own way, and going back to just my own little blog and my own personal contributions to changing my little corner of the world, very liberating.  I'll be far more useful.

    But if this is where I part company with you, I'll do it with this last thought:  I beg all of you with any energy left in you to wake up.  I beg you to stop deluding yourselves about what it's going to take to really change our situation in the United States.  Stop believing promises and start demanding action.  Stop scapegoating, and blaming 'enemies' and shifting responsibility for all our failures onto others, and take responsibility for everything we face.  Stop living the reality show and start living in reality.  And if you were active in this election cycle, don't delude yourself into thinking that the fight is "won."  It is, in fact, almost completely lost as of this moment if you stand down now.  Do more than just "know hope" -- think different.  Wake the fuck up and see reality, and demand results -- from our gay leaders, from our Congress, and from our new President. 

    That's all I've ever tried to encourage here, and it's about all I have left to say here.

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    Comments

    1. jimbo on Nov 5, 2008 12:06:59 PM:

      I agree with you on this point, Mr. Grumpelina Crain. I'm wondering where the anger is after all these dispiriting losses at the state levels. And the gays do need to start demanding some returns other than lip service from the Dems. I don't know what it will take for gays to be satisfied after hitting 'send' on an online petition before they start getting active - and physically involved in person - rather than in an virtual format. Sometimes throwing money at something or watching a political ad on YouTube isn't the answer. And I wonder if the younger gays aren't simply satisfied and complacent with their status. It seems to me in some ways a worse environment than when I came out in the early 90s.

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Nov 5, 2008 12:33:48 PM:

      But why gay Americans should be shitting themselves with glee right now is, frankly, something I can't comprehend.

      Couldn't agree more. I briefly showed up a Stonewall "Victory" party in Sacramento which I THOUGHT was focused on Prop 8. Turns out it was more of a Democratic Party victory party with little emphasis on Prop 8.

      By the time the polls closed at 8:00 pm PST, Obama was clearly the victor. However, there was no information on Prop 8 -- that's what I was waiting for. By about 9:00 pm, as Obama was giving his victory speech, the results for Prop 8 started trickling in and showed an early lead for "YES." But no one seemed to notice or care. This was a gay event, and NO ONE expressed any sadness, anger, or negative emotion. By the ebullient atmosphere, you'd think Prop 8 was some new dog licensing statute, instead of our fucking marriage rights. I left after only a few minutes --heartsick, disgusted, and angry at the return numbers and also at peoples' dispassionate reaction.

      Our defeat on Proposition 8 in California is the biggest, most glaring wound on the landscape, and will be infamous for decades to come.

      Absolutely.

      I've said it endlessly before, and I'll say it again: the national Democratic Party doesn't care one bit about gay rights, beyond pleasant words and reaping big, pliant cash donations.

      I agree completely. The Democratic leadership has failed the GLBT community time and again. In the run-up to the election, national political figures were absent. Dianne Feinstein, to her credit, worked with No on 8 and put out a very good ad toward the end of the campaign urging voters to reject Prop 8. A little late in coming, but better late than never.

      But where was everyone else? Where was Barbara Boxer? Where was Hillary Clinton? (Bill did robocalls urging a No Vote? And Barack Obama? Interesting story here ...

      Several months ago, he took great pains to state that he believed marriage was between a man and a woman and that it was a sacred union. The YES on Prop 8 campaign used his exact words to do robocalls (I got one) urging support for Prop 8. Now, keep in mind -- Obama stated that he opposed Prop 8, but never went on state TV to clarify his position. He did not come out and shame the YES campaign for lying about his position on this issue. Why?

      Because supporting gay marriage is political poison. He did not want to support GLBT marriage rights because it might cost him. I get that. But he could have done more. He let his own words be used in a dishonest way to advance the anti-gay agenda of hyper-Christian bigots in California and Utah. He could have gone on TV and rebuked the Prop 8 campaign.

      So, yes, you are correct. The nation Democratic Party cares little for GLBT rights. It's too politically unpopular to support gay anything and no one wants to alienate the church-goers.

      The experience we are very likely to share as a community over the next two years might be exactly what we need in order to shake this moribund, brain dead movement of ours back to life and make it relevant, saavy and effective once and for all.

      I hope this is true, but I am not optimistic. Except for the one victory in CT, GLBT rights were cut off or limited in several states. Why?

      I can only speak to my experience in CA. The circle of people I associate with worked hard to defeat Prop 8. I did what I could, as well. But many, many people did not.
      Most voted against the marriage ban, so that much is good. But only a fraction gave money to fight this. Only a fraction volunteered their time to try to change peoples minds. I don't understand this.

      There were other factors involved as well. The NO campaign was poorly run and organized. Many of our TV ads were ineffective. On the other hand, the YES campaign was much better organized, much less ethical, and raised more money.

      But, as a community, we were not united enough or motivated enough to win. Seriously, do we literally have to go back to Stonewall before people wake up?

      I'm so dispirited and, frankly, fed up, that I doubt I'll be blogging on this site after today.

      With regard to "dispirited and fed up," I agree. The loss on Prop 8, coupled with the losses in FL, AZ, and AR, are demoralizing in the extreme.

      With regard to your possible departure from this site, some of us, including myself, will miss your commentary.

      Being a liberal Democrat, I admit that I do not agree with many of your conservative views. However, I have appreciated your posts and commentary because they are thoughtful and engaging, unlike the screeds found on other blogs.

      I suppose I'll have to visit Club Whirled more often.

      And, on the state of things now ...

      We need to regroup and think of the next steps. We have lost the battle, but not the war.

      Ted Kennedy's closing remarks from the 1980 presidential convention are particularly appropriate at this time:

      ...the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.



    1. Tim on Nov 5, 2008 12:37:44 PM:

      kevin, I wish you wouldn't leave, just pick some new topics to get worked up over! It's hard enough listening to Andoni's constant blathering about The One, and his ability to save us.

      I don't know how to get thru to my fellow gays that we are loosing on all fronts, that the head of the democratic party, (H Dean) has thrown us under the bus, and Obama isn't going to touch us with a 20 foot pole as long as he can turn out greater numbers of black voters. I don't think they realize that lip service just got them written into four more laws that ban them from fostering kids, adopting or sharing marriage with straights. I hope you keep writing and showing a different viewpoint, Don't get down, get even!

    1. Jon on Nov 5, 2008 1:04:17 PM:

      Kevin, I hope you stick around long enough to read this. I came to this blog because I'm utterly distraught over the situation and I didn't know where else I could find a thoughtful assessment of what happened last night. I share your sentiments entirely. Maybe there are others like me — seekers who are deeply troubled and who need some way to simply give voice to our feelings about the election and our fears for the future. I think we need you to stick around.

    1. Paul on Nov 5, 2008 2:01:04 PM:

      Your last post really made me cry. Although I'll never be as articulate as you, your sentiments and views has always been in line with mine. I really really feel a tremendous amount of sadness over the loss on Prop 8, and Florida... and really hoped last night would have been a full victory over all for all gay people.

      I too, am involoved in a bi-national relationship (the last 2 yrs has been both a pleasure to finally have found the man of my dreams but yet unable to keep him here) and never felt more connected than, when reading about your own experiences with loving someone from another country. You gave me both hope and strength when there was none left to give myself or my partner.

      And now I see you're retiring? I don't know how many more disappointments I can take in one day. You will be missed very much. By many, more than you'll ever know.

      I wish you love and renewed hope. xoxo.

    1. Pender on Nov 5, 2008 2:01:16 PM:

      Kevin,

      I read all of your posts prior to yesterday with exactly the disdain you describe. Of course we needed Democrats to win, of course they are better than the alternative, and so on. Though I have never commented on this site, I could well have been -- certainly in my personal interactions, I've been known to roll my eyes and wonder if there was anything more pathetic than a gay Republican.

      Yesterday changed that.

      I cared deeply about Proposition 8. My boyfriend is from California, and we met in school together there. I gave a lot of money to oppose the ballot initiative. So did my boyfriend, though his means are less than mine. He volunteered for phone banking. We both reached out to everyone we knew in California to vote for equality.

      Where was Obama? Certainly he claimed to oppose the proposition, but he was so tepid ("I firmly believe that marriage is between a man and a woman...") that his words were actually excerpted into robocalls and ads by the Yes coalition. He encouraged his supporters and organizers to forego voting in the state and bus over to Nevada instead. He took in $160+ million in September alone and didn't offer us a penny. And his core supporters -- black Californians -- showed up to vote him into office and vote me out of my right to marry seven in ten times.

      I'm with you now. Yesterday changed everything. I don't think I support Obama, and I don't think I consider myself a Democrat anymore. I don't think I'm a Republican either, but who knows how I'll feel after some time has passed.

      Anyway, I wanted to write and tell you that you are absolutely right, that you were right all along, and that I'm sorry for having (silently) doubted you.

      Please don't stop writing for this site. Please give it one more trial run. Yesterday changed everything, and you might well find that the audience here is suddenly much more receptive to your non-Democratic take on civil rights and politics. I know I am.

    1. Charlie on Nov 5, 2008 2:55:33 PM:

      Kevin -

      As you know, I reacted pretty much the same way. I'm having a little trouble shaking it. I'm in NY state with my parents and they're so excited about the election results, and they're generally super supportive on the subject of gay rights, but I feel like I'm just a drain on their excitement. Then I come online and I see that friends of mine in San Francisco were out celebrating Obama's victory last night and it makes me almost sick. Yes, I'm really glad that Palin is not going to be our Vice President and to a lesser degree, that McCain is not going to be our President, and it's a fantastically historic moment, as Chris pointed out, that we are the first non-African country to elect a President of African descent. I really do think Obama has good intentions and I think he just might do a good job. But... I found a lot less to celebrate about as soon as Prop 8 started posted its losing numbers.

      I mean, it's stunning. To me it's not even that we didn't fight hard enough for Prop 8, but that we should have to even fight at all. As I said in a blog post of my own, the CA Supreme Court decided that denying gays the right to marry was blatant discrimination, so what do we do? We write that very discrimination right into our constitution. Shouldn't it be obvious, especially to the black and hispanic minorities who drove this thing into the ground, that discrimination is just wrong? Why should we have to fight so hard for something that to me is so objectively obvious? It makes me want to hide. And to hear that my brothers are partying while this news is coming out, well, I just don't even know where to go with that.

      I hope you won't quit, Kevin, because I think you deserve to be heard, but considering how I feel right now, I can't say I'd blame you one little bit.

    1. JH on Nov 5, 2008 3:33:06 PM:

      I completely share your "punched in the stomach" feelings this morning and am finding it hard to celebrate very much today, even though I am an Obama supporter and am pleased that he won.
      My hope is that yesterday's defeats shock us into working harder and understanding that politicians cannot solve all of our problems.
      The fact is that we live in a democracy where more than half of the population still thinks that we are sinners, degenerates or simply oddities that don't deserve to adopt kids or use the word "marriage" for our relationships.
      We need to educate them about who we really are and what our families are really like.
      Until we succeed at that, we can only rely on the courts to impose our rights; we will keep on losing these referenda and even enlightened politicians will continue to keep a distance from us becasue we are ballot-box "toxic".

    1. Lucrece on Nov 5, 2008 3:49:05 PM:

      Quite frankly, how dare you dismiss those of us on the left that feel the same as you, to assume that the majority of the readership here will reject your sentiments? Thanks for the condescencion.

      If you take a look at the liberal blogs I've been posting, including Bilerico, you'll see that I've been all doom and gloom in the chats and comments. Heck, even one of their polls included a joking comment from me saying that I would shoot any youth sittin on my property instead of being at the polls.

      I share your disgust. In my university, gay roommates obliviously cheered for Obama; NONE of them were following the anti-gay initiatives. When one of them came to me saying "we won", I wanted to punch him. "Whoop-dee-fucking-doo", I said sarcastically. I proceeded to inform him of the developments. Know what he said? "Don't lose hope; Obama won't let this fly." I was ready to assault him right there. Instead, I showed restraint and proceeded to enlighten him about the functions and limits of the executive branch. I am sad people this old-- and natives, unlike a Venezuelan like me-- did not comprehend the workings of their own government. After the lecture, I rough-handedly dismissed him. I did not want to see the faces of those other fools--dumb faggots, I thought to myself in irritation-- who clearly were puppets of the hype sold to youth about Obama. I hated them because they were the prime example of mob mentality; they did not choose Obama because he was the right choice (and I still think he was a better choice to McCain, although I will always despise him for his cowardly political posturing in the form of "I'm not in favor of gay marriage" that was quoted and sent to African Americans), but rather because it was the "cool" thing to do.

      I'm saddened by the partisanship. And despite my continued dismissal of your laughable reference to Dale and his pity party drivel, I have to agree that this damned community we call the LGBT community is more about partisanship than the improvement of its members' livelihoods. Party, fashion, and all manners of frivolity before our own, it seems.

      I'm equally disillusioned over the gay community, and thus I'm bothered that you would lump all the CC readers in a lazy manner that serves as just an excuse to free up your time. I will follow your personal blog nontheless; as, despite my utter clash with some of your partisan dashes, your posts come off as quite human and honest. I may not agree with some of your posts, but I ask you to reconsider your choice to stop contributing here; your incisive posts will surely be missed, if that means anything to you.

      Good thing I can track you whatever your choice, though. The wonders of the internet. Now that my face has dried up of crying myself to sleep last night, I've decided that I'll probably emigrate to Spain. I'm tired of having my dignity trampled on by a bunch of uneducated zealots who abuses a system that makes court rulings and the opinions of experts obsolete in the face of populism. This being a republic as opposed to a democracy, where majorities are not to trample upon minorities by constitutional design, I am saddened to see that this is not the reality. Nobody cares about the constitutional principles anymore.

      Besides, Spanish IS my main language, and living ina country where I can communicate in a less fragmented manner (since I put out less words per second in English than I do in Spanish, so my thought process is often interrupted by two tasks running-- making sure to pronounce and enunciate efficiently, and crafting thoughts in Spanish that need to be translated to English). I was liking the US, and I'll surely mourn my departure, but I won't be tied to a place of prejudice.

      Anyways, monologue aside, don't be astranger, Kevin ;).

    1. Wesmin on Nov 5, 2008 3:51:04 PM:

      Kevin-

      I felt the same way, astounded at Obama winning, then coming upstairs to check CNN's web page on ballot measures and having all of that deflate before I went to bed. It feels like a hallow victory when we're going backward.

    1. Pierre on Nov 5, 2008 4:12:20 PM:

      I certainly don't think that the Dems have gay's best interest at heart. I think they are better than the Repubs, but not necessarily by very much. I also think that they are ready and willing to toss us under the bus at a moment's notice, and almost certainly will unless we stop them. It IS our responsibility to try to make them do as much for us as possible, they certainly won't do anything on their own. If we want change we will have to make it ourselves. What little money I was able to donate this year went to fighting Prop 8 in California, NOT to Obama or the Democratic party, and ALL of my future donations will go toward groups that REALLY have our best interests at heart.

      I'm willing to give Obama a chance; though I will never be able to respect, or truly trust, Obama because of his stance on gay marriage. I think in the end gay marriage will end up in the Supreme Court, and that if we want to win that we'll need whatever judges Obama will pick. (McCain's judge picks would not have helped us in this fight.) I think this is probably the only way Obama will truly help us in our fight for equality.

    1. CowboyinBRLA on Nov 5, 2008 6:09:54 PM:

      While I don't disagree with you that we (as gay people) were screwed last night, as usual, I still don't think that's reason to discount gay-rights positions, even on paper, as a political concern in favor of other issues. The analogy/image I come up with is this: the Democrats will throw us under the bus if it's politically expedient to do so; the Republicans throw us under the bus because they WANT to run over us. I still think that's a difference worth noting.

      The problem, of course, is that in a two-party system, we only have three choices: align ourselves with party A, align ourselves with party B, or stay home. Neither of the party choices, these days, are particularly appetizing, but staying home pretty much guarantees that the Republicans are likely to win presidential races. I think Obama won by between 5 and 6 million votes - do you doubt there were that many gay votes for Obama? If we'd stayed home, we'd be facing a couple of years of President McCain and on his untimely death, President "Heck, let's bring on the End of Days!" Palin. Would that have been better?

    1. Joel on Nov 5, 2008 6:50:34 PM:

      I agree that there was a massive failure on the part of the gay community here. But I don’t think it’s fair to blame gays (especially the younger ones) for being happy that Obama won or even failing to understand the implications of our defeats in CA and elsewhere. The civil rights questions we are talking about are different from previous civil rights movements. The 19 (or even 25) year olds that Lucrece was describing in her comment don’t think of marriage as a big deal. They don’t even know that we can’t sponsor our partners for green cards. It’s never crossed their minds. (This is true of most older adults too.) And they don’t relate to other issues like don’t ask/don’t tell because they couldn’t care less about joining the army. Even when these issues are spelled out, they sound like the problems of a niche minority. In the black civil rights movements, the entire population felt oppression on an immediate level. The same is true of the women’s movement. The same is even true for aids activism in the 80s/early 90s when we were literally scared to death. I’m not saying that those fights were easy, but people were willing to die or go to jail for them to make their point. Saying “I do” and getting a piece of paper don’t have that resonance. And in California we have civil partnerships to take care of a lot of the concerns that tug at people’s heart strings (visiting a loved one in the hospital etc). If there was a failure here it was in getting people to relate to this issue and really care. And more importantly, especially in CA, people didn’t get that this vote was about building momentum for gays everywhere. There was no connection made between this issue and hate crimes, for instance, and workplace discrimination. The other side had someone to save, the children. Many of us at this blog are dealing with immigration issues, which are overwhelming and painful. But communicating why marriage is so important is much more nuanced than making a case for saving the pure innocence of Christian babies. I think gays were scared to make a case for gay rights as a whole, because we didn’t want it to seem like we were going for too much change. So we settled for asking for something “nice” which lacked any drama or force. Let’s not blame the college students who overwhelmingly voted against prop 8, let’s figure out how to connect with them even better.

    1. Chris on Nov 5, 2008 7:23:22 PM:

      Kevin,

      Would encourage you to stay on. It is important to hear your voice and opinions, even more so as we move into the Obama presidency.

    1. Wes on Nov 5, 2008 8:14:04 PM:

      Kevin-- your thoughts outlined are quite correct. Of course neither the Democrats or the Republicans give a rats hind end about gays or gay rights. Well the Democrats want their money and the Republicans use us as a tool. But that's it.

      This election is nothing but a disaster. And the results are as disheartening as possible. Especially when I look at how little black voters here in Florida (where I live)supported us. Supported us? Well hardly. They voted for the anti-gay amendment with margins of around 3:1 to 4:1. And black voters turned out in large numbers on top of it all.

      Progress the next two years? If we expect much we will be grossly disappointed. Because as one of the CNN talking heads indicated: "Obama has read the Clinton playbook. And they will not be proposing elimination of 'Don't Ask-Don't Tell' or other controversial extraneous issues." So while we consider gay rights of top importance, most everyone else in the U.S. considers our concerns to be 'extraneous issues'.

      We simply cannot expect politicians to fight our battles. It is above their pay grade. Politicians are FOLLOWERS of opinion--not leaders of opinion. And we also must have some kind of organizations on the national level that are capable of formulating winning strategies on the issues of greatest importance---and on the issues that we can achieve positive outcomes. Without the latter, we will continue to be shuffled off to the basement and will be brought out only once every two years.

    1. Allan on Nov 5, 2008 8:32:57 PM:

      When we lose at the ballot box, it's our failure. Not the Democratic Party, not the Republican Party, not the African American and Hispanic voters who were more likely than other groups to split their votes. Ours.

      We lost this battle. But the war is never over.

      We can point fingers, and there's plenty of blame to go around. But we should only indulge in enough finger-pointing to identify how and why we failed so that we can fight smarter in the next skirmish.

      Those like Kevin who want to find fault with Senator Obama for the passage of Prop 8 are overlooking the simple fact that this was a state ballot initiative, and we have a fairly popular incumbent governor here who indicated that he opposed Prop 8 but assiduously avoided expending any of his political capital in the campaign. Oops, he's a Republican, so Kevin can't bring himself to point out this simple fact because it interferes with his pathological need to blame the Democrats for all the world's ills.

      Kevin can, however, bring himself to write of African American citizens exercising their constitutional right to vote that they "clogged" the polls. Did non-black voters find it impossible to enter the polling place because of this "clog" of black people? Did it scare white people away from voting?

      I'm not happy with the way many black voters split their ballot. But instead of blaming them for our loss, why don't we try building alliances and finding common ground with them so that more of them support, or at least don't oppose, our agenda? Why don't we look to the African Americans and Latinos in the LGBT community for leadership of outreach efforts and insight into how best to persuade these constituencies that we have more in common than they currently appreciate?

      Kevin, if this is your Goodbye Cruel World post, it's been interesting to read your contributions, if only because you have a magnificent ability to find a way to blame Democrats, black people in general and Barack Obama in particular for everything that is wrong with America.

    1. Lucrece on Nov 5, 2008 8:54:06 PM:

      Hint: We've tried to build alliances. Remember the Jena 6 and HRC?

      Guess what? It doesn't work too well. Just like working with white Evangelicals and baptists doesn't work well, cooperating with a community that's even more strongly straddled by Christian culture and misogyny won't be of much use.

      Spare us the self-flagellating pep talk. Some folks (African Americans, a lot of them) don't appear to learn from history (their own oppression), and so they are doomed to repeat it-- sadly, at our expense.

    1. Edward on Nov 5, 2008 9:12:32 PM:

      As someone who married in CA and has been a resident of Florida for nearly 7 years, I feel the pain caused by the election last night. I was thrilled when Obama won, but thoroughly disgusted by the marriage bans' passages. This is a sad day for equality and justice.

      I found this site by searching for "revision/amendment" arguments against Prop 8. As an attorney in Florida, I'm glad to hear there is some possible fail-safe over majority tyranny via constitutional amendments. Hopefully, the court will use it or something else to get rid of this blasted revision. Right now my marriage is in limbo and even the contractual arrangements I slaved over to ensure my spouse and I can see each other in the hospital are in legal limbo. This is a frustrating time!

    1. Allan on Nov 5, 2008 9:18:53 PM:

      Are you still here? I thought you were moving to Spain...

      Those of us who remain here in the United States have work to do, so spare us your other-flagellating downer talk, Lucrece.

    1. Wes on Nov 5, 2008 9:43:30 PM:

      Allan--please give clear examples of how exactly you would propose to build alliances with blacks.

      Black ministers --and in my area that is where the black political power is located---are not interested in "building alliances" with gay people. They look at us as something just short of a two legged dog. How exactly do you build an alliance with someone that thinks you are going to be burning in hell for eternity because you chose to be gay?

    1. Charlie on Nov 5, 2008 10:16:01 PM:

      I agree that it's our fault that we didn't win this. Just as I believe that when a jury finds a rapist not guilty, it's the victim's fault because, well, she didn't convince the jury of her story, and that's just how the system works.

      I think it is absolutely relevant that the black population voted against us with an overwhelming majority, especially since many of these people never felt like participating in the system until one of their own was on the ballot. I think it's absolutely relevant that Obama's soundbite was used against us and he did virtually nothing to undo that. I think it's absolutely relevant that our leaders failed us and again, squandered our contributions. These things need to be identified as we move forward and to try to gloss over them in some vague pollyanna-ish way will cause us to simply repeat the same mistakes.

    1. Lucrece on Nov 5, 2008 10:17:19 PM:

      Allan: In due time. Moving doesn't happen fast enough, at least not fast enough to distract myself from your mock self-righteousness.

      I'd love to hear of the work you do. Would that perhaps involve rating Obama's wardrobe, hoping you won't wet your clothes with the drool cascading from your brown-stained mouth at the sight of every Democrat that goes by you? I'll be sure to send you some pain pills for the days where your throat gets a little bit sore and your anus raw. Entertaining your masters is hard work!

      Oh, my bad, I forgot empty optimism is the cool thing to do now.

      Also, I echo Wes's inquiry, please do introduce us to your alliance-building plans. I'm thrilled to see the fruits of your "hard" work.

    1. Allan on Nov 6, 2008 12:15:07 AM:

      What a bunch of negative nellies.

      Notice that I did not presume to declare exactly how to best build these bridges. Instead, I had the temerity to suggest that I would defer to the experts in our community, those LGBT people who are themselves members of the African American and Latino communities, for guidance on how to proceed with the needed work so that the next time our civil rights are put up to the popular vote, a few more people support us.

      I apologize, I forgot that the purpose of this blog is for white gay men to talk nasty about black people.

      And Lucrece, can I chip in to buy your one-way ticket to Spain? You ugliness will not be missed in America.

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Nov 6, 2008 1:21:34 AM:

      Allan,

      Your comments are ridiculous and childish.

      Kevin, if this is your Goodbye Cruel World post, it's been interesting to read your contributions, if only because you have a magnificent ability to find a way to blame Democrats, black people in general and Barack Obama in particular for everything that is wrong with America.

      Kevin raised several good points and I agreed with much of what he said; see my first post, above. Although I don't agree with many things he says, his comments are, at least thoughtful.

      On the other hand, your comment above is idiotic. I don't recall that Kevin ever blamed "black people" or Barack Obama for everything that's wrong in America.

      I think Barack Obama will be a terrific president. But he did a disservice to the CA gay community by allowing the YES on 8 campaign to use his words in a dishonest fashion to suggest that he supported their cause.

      I'm not going to give the Democrats a pass just because they are generally more gay friendly than Republicans.

      I apologize, I forgot that the purpose of this blog is for white gay men to talk nasty about black people.

      You're losing credibility with these kinds of assinine statements, Allan. Charlie and Kevin made valid observations.

    1. Double T on Nov 6, 2008 1:55:40 AM:

      Kevin,
      I'm hardly a "friend", but I am a FAN of your writing, though often I disagree.

      I'm guessing your going thru somethings in your personal life. I can not believe everything in this post is truly driven by Tues. election.

      If you go away, please know, that this "shitbag"(your words) will miss you.

      p.s. I hope the big guy blesses you and keeps you safe.

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