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  • « Barack Obama and Lyndon Johnson | Main | Hillary as president = no Prop 8? »

    December 07, 2008

    I repent

    Posted by: Kevin

    (And it isn't just because I saw "Milk.")

    I'm repenting from flouncing off this blog on the day after the 2008 elections, and repenting from walking out on the gay movement.  I was angry as hell, probably more angry and anguished and frustrated than I've ever been since I first took up gay activism at age 18 as a member of the American University's Human Diversity League (aka the gay student union on campus as it so maddeningly called itself at the time).  Yes, more angry and frustrated than when I was burying gay friends on a monthly basis in the early 1990s.  More anguished than when I stood on the floor of the 1992 Republican National Convention and breathed the full brimstone of Pat Buchanan's infamous hate speech in the Houston Astrodome.  And more frustrated than when Bill Clinton fucked us over from start to finish in 1993 on gays in the military.

    How, you may ask, could I possibly be more angry, anguished and frustrated on that November morning of 2008 than in all those dark moments of our collective past? 

    Because when AIDS was consuming the gay community in Washington, D.C., I had brothers and sisters to turn to who didn't need it explained to them.  We shouldered it together, and we were united without having to explain anything to each other. 

    Because in 1992, I was at the Astrodome with a group of people who would be galvanized in one evening to launch the gay Republican movement into a national political force, and would put their names, their money and their reputations on the line to fight everything Pat Buchanan stood for.  And I knew a number of gay activists on the left would cheer us.  (And they did, and not just because we would help defeat President Bush that year.)

    Because in 1993, as Clinton mangled and butchered our hopes in him, and eventually threw us under the proverbial bus, there were still brave people like David Mixner who had the balls to throw their access and their insider cache away and get arrested protesting on the sidewalk in front of the White House against their friends Bill and Hillary to register the horror and rage we all shared.  Because there were at least some people left at the head of the this movement with hearts and brains.

    And on Election Night 2008, thousands of gays danced in the streets as Proposition 8 -- which held all the political currency of everything we've gained in the last two decades -- went down the toilet in California.

    That's why I was furious beyond belief.  And that's why I couldn't pretend I was okay with any of this crap anymore.  So I just let it rip - the brutal and naked anger after years of watching this movement be slowboiled like meat in an open pot until it became devoid of all its substance.  After watching the Human Rights Campaign turn from a real potential power in the 1990s into a monstrously empty, amoral, celebrity-dazzled temple of irrelevance, and how it sought to zombify our collective identity for the sake of ongoing revenues much like how corporations sell laundry detergent and toilet tissue.  And consistently crush and squash any other group that could threaten its money, its image or its overwhelming predominance.

    And, to be a bit selfish, after I'd given ten years of my life to gay activism to help create some sort of political leverage over the Democratic Party in this country -- something the main gay organizations adamantly refused or simply have failed to ever do -- I felt like it was all wiped away in the dual reality of an Obama triumph and a Prop 8 collapse in California, the one state we could ever claim as our greatest field of strength.  And people were celebrating

    And yeah, I know you all didn't know about California as you danced in the streets that night.  I get it, okay?  But what you don't understand is that, to me, the fact that Obama was the main event for you and California was a footnote is precisely why I was so furious.  You were all the very borgified zombies I'd feared a Hillary juggernaut would turn you into.  The Democratic Party's success had become all encompassing to the extent that the main event for gays -- unlike one since Colorado Amendment 2 -- wasn't on your emotional menu on Election Night at all.  I was so angry, and my brain was so full of poison, that I honestly felt I had better walk out the door rather than let any of it come out for real.

    But alas.  Had how many hundreds of gay men in the 1980s felt the way I did on November 5th, we'd have no gay movement at all today.  We'd have no gay marriage in California to take away.  We'd have no failed promises from a White House to protest.  We'd have more graves to visit, that's for sure.  And we'd have little to be proud of ourselves over.

    So I repent.  I was wrong.  I mean it.  I ended up just walking around the block and catching my breath.  I need not comment on how much of what I warned about is coming true with incredible speed.  I'm not interested in being right, or being heard.  I'm only interested in being effective now.

    I don't repent my anger one bit.  I'm back, friends.  And I'm still very, very pissed.  The rage is as white hot as it was that morning.  I'm going to do something productive with this anger, and I hope you'll join me. 

    Indeed - and I say this with a hat-tip to heaven - I'm here to recruit you.

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    Comments

    1. Andoni on Dec 7, 2008 2:11:16 PM:

      Glad you're back. Missed you.

    1. Chris on Dec 7, 2008 3:10:48 PM:

      Sign me up!

      Thrilled you are back on board and with such a righteous anger to boot. The battles ahead are more important, and hold much more promise, than everything that has come before. Your voice is unique, always challenging, and very very welcome.

    1. Lucrece on Dec 7, 2008 4:49:31 PM:

      Damn, Chris said it before me, but sign me up!

      I do understand the walking out repentance, although I wouldn't fault you for it (voting with your feet mentality applies in many situations), but I must tell you that the angry piece you wrote was the ONE I connected to the most in recent blogging history.

      I lived it. I saw how many gays prioritized Obama's election over our fight.

      I look forward to further releases from you ;).

    1. Double T on Dec 8, 2008 2:48:16 AM:

      Welcome Back. Not that you really ever left

      I think it's the Japanese that have the saying,"He who loses his temper first, loses the argument."

      (Hey...watch the "potty mouth")

    1. Kevin on Dec 8, 2008 4:32:24 AM:

      Thanks TT, but in case you didn't notice my picture, I'm not Japanese, so such wisdom is lost on me. I'm an Irish American, and thereby lost my temper many, many years ago and don't expect to get it back. Ever.

      Same ethnicity applies to my mouth, and always will.

    1. Lucrece on Dec 8, 2008 7:52:26 AM:

      Haha!

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Dec 8, 2008 9:56:41 AM:

      Good to have you back, Kevin.

      I share your frustration and, actually, wish you could be here in CA to help in the fight against Prop 8.

    1. Kevin on Dec 8, 2008 2:11:28 PM:

      I'm there, SS. We're all everywhere now. It's the 21st Century :-)

    1. Mark Mead on Dec 8, 2008 4:59:26 PM:

      Glad you are back old friend. Still the best wordsmith I know. The rip on HRC was the best in years - dead spot on.
      M

    1. Hawyer on Dec 10, 2008 11:55:48 AM:

      What does borgified mean?

    1. Double T on Dec 11, 2008 1:57:43 AM:

      Hawyer,
      It's some silly double-speak. Basically Hillary is the queen bee and anyone in her hive(the borg) are incapable of independent thought.

      I think that's what it means. I'm guessing because I've never really seen it. It's like BigFoot.

    1. George Greene on Dec 22, 2008 1:17:18 PM:

      Chris, PLEASE -- YOU HAVE NOT repented.

      You will have repented the day you say you were wrong
      about EVER having been a conservative or a Republican
      IN THE FIRST place.

    1. George Greene on Dec 22, 2008 1:17:43 PM:

      Chris, PLEASE -- YOU HAVE NOT repented.

      You will have repented the day you say you were wrong
      about EVER having been a conservative or a Republican
      IN THE FIRST place.

    1. George Greene on Dec 22, 2008 1:18:28 PM:

      Kevin, I mean.
      Though I wonder how Chris feels too, frankly.

    1. cheap GHD straightners on Nov 17, 2011 3:30:31 AM:

      I drove a cab for a living.

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