My Mind Made Public -

I held off as long as I could ...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Oh How the Tides Turn

Oh how the tides so quickly turn. Could the gay community actually be upset at the one man that was to be the hope for a better future? The one man whom the gay community fought so diligently to get elected? The one man who promised so many things to the gay community and is now backing down from every single one of them …

The answers to those questions are yes, yes, and yes again. And a few very influential gay organizations are wearing thin on Obama’s stale (would they even go so far as to say “Republican”?!?!?) rhetoric around GLBT issues. As a friend of mine who works for a well known gay political organization told me:

“Obama, you can talk all you want about “declaring June our month” and how much respect you have for us, but your talk is what got you elected. It’s time to show you’re different than everyone who came before you because your talk isn’t getting you anywhere anymore.”

Such the tangled (and bandwagon hopping on and off) web we continually weave…
Looks like the thoughts in my book about living in a "false model of the ideal situation" go much further than the culture war that is conservativism and homosexuality. It's almost comical in a very sad, structural mindset type-of-way because the system is set up to perpetuate these mirage ideals of best existences. And still no one learns that no matter what, there is no best existence because the system is faulty in its construction of what is deemed worthy of legitimazation.

Interesting article from Politico that I saw highlighted on CNN.

What are your thoughts about the gay community turning on Obama?
What are you thoughts on my thesis of 'mirage ideals of a best existence'?

Much love.


Evan said...

I think that the Obama campaign and his subsequent 5 months in office have shown the dirtiest side of politics. I am not saying that everything that Obama said during his campaign was a lie, but we have seen, in just a short time, him do the opposite of what he campaigned on. His foreign policy is a carbon copy of Bush policy. And now we are seeing that he is not coming through on his promises to the GLBT community.

As of this moment, it looks like to me that he said anything to get elected. I think that it is a little naive to vote a man into office simply because of his rhetoric without any evidence that he is being honest.

Evan said...

oh and here's a link to an op-ed in the Washington Post about this very subject:

Brad Ogilvie/The William Penn House/The Mosaic Initiative said...

I'm never comfortable with the term "gay community". The diversity is too great. There are many of us who are gay, fully support gay rights including marriage, and are absolutely fine with how Obama is doing. I do believe we are on a positive trajectory and will get where we want to be. I also know that the progress towards rights balances out with responsibility. In my HIV/AIDS work, right now the gay "establishment" (organizations and businesses) is doing a horrendous job. At the same time, Obama has brought into his administration many gays and lesbians (including consultants from HRC). What Obama does is move us in the direction we want to go, something that tends to frustrate many because institutions are all about the destination.

Anonymous said...

Years ago, I thought that even tho most gays probably did not like Bush, I thought he was good for them. The Republican ideology is for the government to stay off the peoples's backs, which means your personal life is your own!
Sure, they have certain 'values,' but they still respect the right of the individual to live his own private life. So, while the Democrats talk the talk, there is often little different in the actual outcome. I think that Bush had a gay as an AIDS expert somewhere, but the mainstream media downplayed it. Look at how they talk about Black issues. Fewer than 20% of Blacks are Repubs., but Bush had quite a few in his cabinet. The Dems claim to love minorities, but even with a huge pool to pick from, they don't really use them all that much.

In reading the gay press recently, I keep seeing comments about how Big O isn't delivering the goods.
I thought he would do more, but like most pols, he tries to straddle the fence to keep popular. Usually that doesn't work. I know he is anti-Israel, but he said nice things in his recent speeches. That won't convince die-hard conservatives & it sure won't stop militant Muslims. The main thing the government needs to work on is national security so we will be around to discuss these other issues. If we ain't safe, all the other issues won't matter, cuz we won't be here to deal with them!
[The same goes for local crime, too.] Maybe it's time to check out the Log Cabin Republicans. Maybe it's also time for the Log Cabins to get the message out more clearly!

Jimmy said...

I'm no politco, but I've been a bit confused all along why the gay community supported Obama when I seem to recall that he would not support gay marriage...or perhaps a Constitution Amendment saying all marriage is valid. I mean, that's the most public image of the fight for equal rights among the gay community, and Pres. Obama didn't throw his weight behind it. I could be wrong. That said, your friend's statement...

"It’s time to show you’re different than everyone who came before you because your talk isn’t getting you anywhere anymore.”

Is how I feel about President Obama in general.

D.J. Free! said...

Brad pretty much took the words right out of my mouth. For the most part, I'm pretty happy with how Obama is doing. One cannot claim that someone has reneged on a campaign promise until that certain someone's term is completed. I think that SOME in the gay community have felt so positive about all of the advances in gay marriage in the US recently, that they want this civil rights issue to be over NOW. It's simply unrealistic. I'm being patient, and I'll give the President some time to work on his campaign promises.

However, I would also like to underscore that I never expected much of Obama to begin with. He promised some piecemeal rights to the GLBT community as his obligation as a bonafide Democrat, but he's never really been all that gung-ho about this community. He didn't promise much, so I don't expect much. That which he promised, he still has 3 1/2 years to deliver on. And he should be pressed on it until he does.

Lastly, I'll reiterate Brad in my discomfort with casting sweeping statements about what the "gay community" wanted, and how disappointed "they" are now that the tides have turned. It's pretty simplistic. I'm actually surprised you'd stereotype in such a way, Andrew. You of all people should know that the gay community is vast and diverse . . . and that gay organizations don't speak for all of us. Neither do these organizations even have a common voice. But even if there were a gay community overarching response to this turn of the tides, there's probably not many among them who'd vote differently in retrospect given the alternative.

Jon Trouten said...

The Republicans aren't hands-off when it comes to gays. Hardly.

The national Dems take gays and our votes for granted. Who can blame them? What are our choices? A national Democratic party that at least will block efforts against us or a national Republican party that actively legislates and campaigns against us?

Here is Iowa, I know which party has our back and it's not the GOP. The GOP is doing its best to undo our marriages. The Dems have been taking political heat by fighting efforts to amend our state constitution to undo our marriages. The state GOP has also been behind efforts in the past decade to enact a DOMA law, to retroactively rescind domestic partnership benefits, and to ban gay people and couples from foster parenting and adopting.

Obama's administration could easily take some heat off its back by gay voters by doing something about DADT. There's a stop-loss order in place for everyone BUT gay soldiers and officers. Even if he can't easily undo DADT without congressional assistance, he could easily executively order a temporary stop-loss on DADT discharges so they could examine the effects of openly gay people in the military. In terms of voters and gay issues, there's very little opposition to gays serving in the military. It would be a win-win solution. I mean, we've involuntarily discharged nearly 250 gay soldiers and officers -- including Arabic translators -- since Obama came into office in January 2010. Meanwhile, others who actually want to leave the military at the end of their service periods can't because of the current stop-loss order.

Kansas Bob said...

IMO most presidents move to the middle after they are elected. They know that independents, moderates and centrists are the ones who swung the vote in their direction and got them elected. The last thing they want to do is alienate the folks in the middle by being too radically left or right.

Andrew Marin said...

I appriciate everyone's thoughts. I want to take a moment to expand on Brad/DJ Free's questions about my usage of the term "gay community":

There are times when describing structural systems that a "broad paint brush" is needed to cover the spectrum of the point - exactly the same as I do when I often reference "evangelicalsim" or "conservativism" or the "Christian community". I very clearly recognize that there are many uniquely different shades of people in different places that encompass broader populations such as the gay community and the straight Christian community - which those people (probably most) might not necessarily align with the media driven structural "company line" from either side, but I literally don't know of any other way to communicate points involving larger community issues regarding distinct populations (e.g. gay community, Christian community).

To this point I have used such generalizations because I hesitate to deconstruct every single shade within a population: example, instead of saying Christian communtiy I would have to say "more liberal Christians, progressive leaning Christians, middle of the road Christians, conservative Christians, fundamental Christians, politically active Christians and monastic Christians, etc.". It just seems too much to cover everyone everytime. But I could be wrong?

If you have any suggestions/thoughts at all, please let me know and I honestly look forward to hearing what you have to say so I can be better informed to utilize langauge more succinctly to make a point.

Much love.

D.J. Free! said...

Grrr. I had a long post all typed out, and then my computer froze and I lost it all!

OK, here goes again, but a bit more curtailed.

First, when I made my comment, I actually had in mind the broad stroke of Evangelical Christianity that I often use in conversations. I truly hope I did not come off as being perturbed or ungracious in my comment. I don't think you're some sort of ignorant baffoon or anything!

I'm not opposed to using broad strokes. But the broad strokes should be accurate - b/c they are situational.

For instance, the term "Evangelical Christianity". This is a group of people that has a more or less central identity with prescribed beliefs about certain matters. But not ALL matters. So if I were to say Evangelical Christians don't think Catholics are truly Christians . . . that would probably strike you as being odd at the least. There are, in fact, some Evangelicals who believe this way, but this belief is not central to Evangelical identity. So I'd need to modify the statement to say that there are SOME Evangelicals who - because of their strict beliefs about x,y,z - believe that Catholics are not Christians.

In this particular situation, your opening paragraph hit me rather oddly. It's not the use of the broad stroke that I thought was strange, but the fact that I'm not sure it was warranted in this situation. I could be wrong on that. But the only way to accurately use the broad stroke would be if you knew of some data (e.g., a poll) which detailed the majority beliefs of the community regarding 1.) their thoughts on Obama, and 2.) their disappointment or lack thereof about the way things are going in the White House now.

I'm not aware of any such data, however. Certainly there are gay organizations that are expressing dismay, but they tend to be vocal about a lot of things that don't necessarily bother the general gay population.

I would guess most gays had no real hope that Obama would be some great hope for a gay American future. I think the community was actually not all that impressed with his stances from the beginning, b/c they were lackluster at best. So I'm not sure the gay community at large is all that disappointed. And if they are, it's not because Obama was seen as a Savior, but because they are frustrated that we're still fighting for rights that shouldn't have to be fought for.

So again, I don't take issue with the broad stroke, per se, but rather it's application in this situation.

D.J. Free! said...

Further evidence why I believe your use of the term "gay community" was an inaccurate broad stroke to use in this situation: