Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Laying Blame

"Gay activists are going Green, going Republican, and in some cases not planning on going to the polls this year at all."

So begins an article at The Advocate discussing an Associated Press article on how LGBT's are likely to vote in the upcoming elections, given our anger and disappointment at the Democratic party for their lack of follow through on their bold election promises to be "fierce advocates" for the gay community. Big promises were made...but little was actually delivered, prompting many of us to consider withdrawing support from the Democratic party in order to send a wake up call...."If you don't support us, we wont support you".

Strangely, for a minority group so easy to ignore outside of election season, we are being credited with the ability to tank this election for the Democrats singlehandedly. How is that possible? Also, aren't we painting with a rather large brush here? LGBT people come from a great many political persuasions and have a variety of reasons for their voting habits....And furthermore has not the White House earned that ire?

Consistently, the White House has promised ithey are on the side of equality. They have promised again and again that they are doing "all that they can" to amend the situations that symbolise the second class legal status of gays in America. DADT stands as a shining example of this.

Democrats delayed a repeal because they deemed the country had far more pressing matters to deal with....like passing several stimulus bills and health care compromise ...reform. Fair enough. Then we were put on the back burner again as memo's were leaked urging lawmakers to avoid "controversial bills" Then, when the first rumblings of discontent began to be unavoidable...The compromise bill was drafted, stating that a repeal could occur..IF... the Pentagon was allowed to complete a study of the Troops opinions and evaluate how best to implement the integration of gays...(who are already serving alongside their straight fellows)...but I digress.

An element of that compromise bill was the actual legislative repeal, which we were told had zero chance to be passed on its own merits and therefore MUST be attached to a piece of legislation that the Republicans dare not block...The Defense Authorization Bill. Well....we all saw what happened there. For the the first time in 60+ years, Republicans did block a vote on the bill with the help of a filibuster by John McCain and an absolute lack of lobbying support by Democratic leaders. Their sure thing proved to be anything but......yet we are still stuck with the intrusive and insulting "study" being done by the Pentagon.

Finally, comes the possible death blow to DADT..not from the legislative process...but through the judiciary as Federal Judge Virginia Phillips rules that DADT not only hurts military readiness, but also violates gay troops constitutional rights. The next move of the same administration that claimed to fervently want DADT abolished was to dig its heals in and steadfastly resist the federal court ruling. Siting a hand full of ridiculous arguments and insisting that DADT must be abolished legislatively, the Department of Justice filed for several injunctions on the ruling to allow discharges to continue unabated.

To add insult to injury: The White House has been so embarrassed by the federal court ruling that in a meeting held today with gay rights organizations discussing repeal of DADT...it was made clear to attendees of the meeting that any discussion of the federal trail was not tolerated. Here is a portion of the Email sent to meeting attendees via The Advocate...

“Obviously this meeting has gotten out. We are expecting the content of the conversation today to be off the record and to help us figure out how to move forward with the lame duck session.

Also as previously mentioned, there can be no discussion of current court cases or legal strategy or Counsel’s Office will end the meeting. The focus is repeal and the lame duck session. This is also a non-partisan meeting where we want everyone’s help.”
...Unless of course that help includes pointing out how we not being consistent with our promises.(oops...sorry. couldn't resist)

This is the sorry path that the DADT repeal has walked on its way to a slow and painful death...not at the hands of Democrats, but at the hands of the courts. This piece of legislation is only one of many that Democrats have dropped the ball on..or deliberately scuttled. The Obama administration has also come under fire recently for cutting HIV/AIDS funding,Defending the Defense of Marriage Act, and the the Employment Non-Discrimination Act?...dead, with no hope of resuscitation. This Administration has gone out of its way to support the policies it claims to oppose.

Is it any wonder that some in the LGBT community are considering other options this election season?

Yet to do so is to be branded and instant traitor progress...by the President who admonishes that we are "irresponsible" if we do not vote Democratic... to other LGBTs and progressives who claim that any deviation from voting Democratic straight down the ballot is a stab at the heart of gay rights progress. And my personal favorite...the tone of the AP article above that suggests that "angry gays" will sway the elections....WTH?!!

IF...Democrats lose that badly, how is that laid at the feet of the those of us exercising our right to vote our conscience?...especially when they do anything but support us....and we are supposed to support them in order to be considered good gays? All because they think they hold us in the bind of.."Well the republicans will do worse". We know they will..but that does not equal an automatic Democrat vote.

My beef with this is twofold...one, in blaming disappointed LGBTs for Democratic losses...losses that they have earned....and earned on issues above and outside of gay issues. How many voters are disappointed with their cave in on health care?....or upset that the wars are NOT over?...yet we will somehow be responsible for tanking Democratic hopes of sitting on their thumbs for another term? I don't think so....If we had that much power, we would not be in the position to be this disillusioned in the first place. If we had that much influence we would have seen much more action and support from Democrats is the first place. Instead, they basically ignored us this term....Until we started making noise.

Second...voting Democratic down the line just because you gay is to shut your eyes to the real actions of the people you are voting for. Why must we check our opinions and reason at the door of the voting booth? Did the founding fathers fight and die to ensure that we only ever have the right to vote one way?...or for that matter, only to have two equally awful options? Part of the problem most of us have with modern politics is that we commonly have to chose the lesser of two evils. We see no other option. We polarise ourselves  between conservative and Liberal...yet the men and women who espouse those concepts look more alike every day. We MUST exercise our ability to think and choose independently before we lose it altogether.

For myself...I have not decided how my vote will fall next week. I am not advocating that we all go out and vote Rebublican. Nor am I advacting staying home. My husband and I will vote...and it will NOT be driven by others shaming us into voting party line...or solely by our disappointment in this administration. I will take what reason I have with me into the booth and make my choose based on my own conscience, thank you very much....and if the Democrats fail? They do not get to lay that blame at the feet of LGBT people who have done nothing but stand up for their rights. And to those who claim that not voting for Dems harms the long term health of gay rights...perhaps...but also does accepting being treated as a disposable vote.

Until next time dear readers...


  1. I completely understand. But the power is not in our overall strength but rather in how close elections will be. Every group becomes important in tight election years.

    It does not dismiss the actions of anyone but the power to decide can be greatly influenced by minorities. Therein lies the need.

    I've never voted a straight ticket in my life. No one party has all the answers. All politicians should be held accountable for their actions however.

    The LGBT community has been marginalized consistently by both parties only getting tid-bits here and there. Only by vigorous exertion will we truly achieve any measure of equality.

    When lobbying, protests, and simple contacts do not work your vote is the ultimate expression of that. Everyone has to decide, on their own, if it has come to that point.

    So I say do it wisely and study the issues before you. Examine your alternatives and then vote your conscience.

  2. Strangely, for a minority group so easy to ignore outside of election season, we are being credited with the ability to tank this election for the Democrats singlehandedly. How is that possible?

    It's possible because it's happened before, recently, and in a country with a similar electoral system to the USA.

    British LGBTs' votes went a long way to tanking the general election for the Tories in May, and may well have been the deciding factor. Had the LGBT vote gone as expected just a year earlier, in mid-2009, when the Tories had a clear majority of support amongst LGBT voters, they would have won either a slim majority or enough seats to form a coalition with a minor right-wing party like the DUP.

    But over the course of the twelve months leading up to the election a series of faux-pas caused LGBT support for the Tories to plumet faster than a cartoon anvil, placing them fourth behind the Lib Dems, Labour and the Greens. As a result the Tories got a plurality but failed to get a working majority, even in a coalition with the DUP (they missed that target by 9 out of 650) and decades of antagonism with Labour left them only one possible coalition partner: the Lib Dems.

  3. Would you rather vote for a gay Republican or straight Democratic candidate?

    Would you rather vote for a Republican candidate who toes the party line on GBLT issues or a Democratic candidate who did not deliver on campaign promises?

    Would you vote for a third-party candidate, if doing so means certain victory for the anti-gay Republican candidate?

    These are the questions that matter, not revenge, not protest, not punishment. These questions matter because their answers directly impact the outcome of the election, and who gets to vote, to represent your vote, when legislation are proposed and decided.

  4. In answer to Cowboy, I would vote for a third party candidate.

    In the past presidential election, there was no way in Hell I would've voted for the McCain/Palin ticket, knowing what I did about their stances on LGBT rights (i.e., we don't deserve any). Likewise, I didn't trust Obama would deliver on his lofty promises, and could not, in good conscience, have voted for him.

    I knew if I voted for either, I'd either definitely or most likely regret it. So, I voted for a third party candidate whose policies most aligned with my feelings. I don't regret it one bit, and I would do it again.

  5. I really enjoy reading your blogs and this one in particular expresses what I have been feeling for some time. In response to Cowboy's query, me I don't vote parties I vote for the person I think will do the best job. I'm also not a one issue voter so if the Republican or the 3rd party candidate are in my view the one who will represent my interests and do the job of representing the people and not HIS/HER interests they have my vote

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  7. I understand exactly where you are comeing from but exspicaly in this election cycle I can't find one republican canadite even in the local races that I agree with, and thuse this year, unlike past years (then again there are fewer people up for election local/state wise this year) my tickt is straight demicrat. I don't like the Teaparty want to be anti labor canadit running to try to replace my demicratic Congress Men (who I happen to like and who is very pro labor and on track with my views socialy) Nore do I want Dino Rossie as my Senitor, I did not want him as my Govoner 2 years ago and he has only moved further right as well as being backwords on soical issue and Labor Issue, I most deffinitly don't want him having a hand in the fedural government now! My curant Senitor is a much better fit with my views and stays.
    Personaly I hope that Hillory runs in 2012 I liked her better during the primerys even when it was being said that all good gays should like Obama, I personaly bleave had she won, we would have gottne real heath care reform and not let the republicans filibester the congress into a stand still.

    Then again the "gay" part of my vote is only a small part compared to other issue espcicaly Labor, I suport those that are most pro labor and put quite a bit of thought into as well as value on indorsments of the canadits by my Union. Unfortanitly for the republican canadits they keep falling short and short on that key stick.

  8. I think it seems really hard to have to choose between two parties, in sweden (i don't know how much you know about this) but here almost anyone can start their own movement in politics.. Wich makes a big differnce in opinions betweene the different "sides" This year we even got a new party in to our government (or how to call it).. Anyway..

    :) Bye.