January 20, 2010
Posted by: Kevin
The Democratic Party promise since the 1990s: Give us all your money, all your votes, and we'll "fight 'til hell freezes over, then we'll fight on the ice" to deliver for the gay and lesbian community at the national level.
Well, that was a lie. Pure and simple. They had the power, and they didn't use it.
And as the much vaunted Democratic supermajority comes to a bitter and self-destructive end, it's become fairly obvious to everyone now what a lie it was. (I won't say I told you so.)
Tens of millions of dollars in wasted donations and almost two decades of furiously slavish political loyalty to the national Democratic establishment yielded passage of a mostly symbolic hate crimes law that had gone moldy on the dais for more than a decade, and nothing else. Indeed, we got more admonitions than action on all fronts, being told to wait even longer and not 'endanger' the prospects for totally unrelated legislation that ended up bombing anyway. I mean - what are they going to tell us next, that they need 75 seats and a 100-seat majority in the House to pass ENDA? Don't even think about repealing the military ban or the Defense of Marriage Act. (Oh, and send a check, please. 'Your life depends on it,' etc. and so forth....)
Indeed, allowing the Democratic leadership to shove aside reforms that go to the heart of being gay in America today, in favor of their disastrous legislative fiascos of the past three years, didn't get us anywhere. Their bumbling cost them the Senate supermajority that our community invested so much in building as part of this deal they offered us almost a generation ago. And now we get nothing. Again.
And even the way they lost the supermajority is like an anvil to the head. It was Ted Kennedy's seat. It was in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage. And it was at the hands of a Republican so conservative, so 'out-of-step' on paper with that state, that even I can't believe he won, or better, that the Dems lost. Could this be any more violent a wake-up call for all for all of us, finally yielding to a shift in gay national strategy? Will it be the moment we finally decide to end our toxic dependency on partisanship? Or is this just going to be like Lindsay Lohan crashing her car and saying it was an innocent mistake and not the pound of cocaine up her nose?
First, we need gay leaders with balls once and for all. Or just gay leaders, period. Joe Solomonese is chief among the fulsome, useless enablers of this failed bargain we've made, and frankly you should stop giving the Human Rights Campaign money until he resigns. What in hell has he accomplished in Washington worthy of the salary he receives? Getting Lady Gaga? How can you even bear to look at his insipid email missives now after all this? I certainly can't.
And while I agree that activism and commitment at the local and state level is probably more important, we cannot completely ignore the national imperatives. Don't just turn your head in disgust at what a joke HRC has become, or what a disaster the Democrats have been as a governing party. Do something about it. Register your opinion with them. Stop giving money to gay groups that fail to lead, and to party organizations that fail to deliver. Remove yourself from HRC's useless email lists (do you get anything other than requests for more money anymore?) Demand new leadership. Post comments on blogs, on Facebook, and in the few remaining gay newspapers around the country. Talk to like-minded gay and lesbian friends (especially longtime donors). Share ideas with each other and make a plan - any plan. But for God's sake, don't just turn your heads. Don't just sit there.
Wake up, people. The period between now and the 2010 elections will be the greatest test of whether we get action, or we wait another decade or two for a bus that is not going to stop here again. If we don't get anything back after all that we've invested, and all this community has done to deliver for them, explain to me why the Democratic Party should ever feel obliged to deliver for us in the future. We'll have proven ourselves the cheapest date in the history of party politics.
We are spinning our wheels until we push out the old and demand something new. Something real. Something courageous and honest at the front of this movement, who will live and die on results in the next 10 months.
It's time for someone to start fighting on the quickly hardening ice, and it had better be you.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
The comments to this entry are closed.