To New Zealand and Samoa! So we now have the slogan that sums up the Obama record on gay rights: Not much worse than Bush:
Obama's announcement is a gesture just days before he speaks to a gay rights fundraising dinner on Saturday and gay activistson Sunday.
Look: I'm not a one-issue person and I respect a great deal of what the president is trying to do and have supported him on many issues and will continue to. I also know that the real action is in the states; and I know that we gays have to change the world ourselves and work harder to make our case for equality. But a lot of us have done all of that for a very long time, at great personal cost, and in sickness and in health. We have moved public opinion very quickly toward understanding how discrimination still operates and how equality will help all of us. And yet the Democratic party which takes our money and counts on our votes still thinks we can be fobbed off with gestures and symbols and a nice speech. And, of course, HRC loves nothing more than that and they will milk this for more money and even plusher buildings and higher salaries for their professional Washington careerists, even as they get nothing done or passed. They like it that way. It keeps them in business. And the love-fest Saturday night will be sick-making.
But the president needs to know that speaking to HRC, a tool of the Democratic establishment, and appointing Democratic donors and machers and suck-ups to jobs and sinecures ... well, we all could have backed the Clintons again if that's what we were hoping for.
Some of us didn't back the Clintons (which cannot be said for most of the HRC board) when it was very unpopular to do so. Some of us went out on a limb for him, worked our asses off for him, and expected not miracles, but certainly not what we've gotten. And what we've gotten is not change we can believe in on civil rights, but the tired old Democratic party interest group cynicism that some of us thought he had left behind. On these issues, Obama reeks of fear. And he acts as if it's still 1993.
At best, gays are still safe victims in the Democratic party, protected from "hate crimes" by benevolent straight people, who love to brag about their gay friends and get us to decorate their homes. But we're not equals to this president or his party, whatever he says and however well he puts it. I'd much rather a president who stiffed the HRC and gave no speeches at all but actually did something for the non-coopted, non-elite, non-Washington, non-celebrity gay folks who actually voted for him and backed him when it was hard. He knows what to do. And he refuses to do it. That's more eloquent than any speech ever could be.