A reader writes:
I can't imagine that you really believe this. It's certainly true as you've said many times that gay rights is treated in the most cravenly cynical way by the Democratic Party as merely a means of energizing base voters, and not as an issue actually worth fighting for, sacrificing real political capital for, and I know that you're not a politician, and you have every right to be angry at the way the Democratic Party has treated the gay community and the rights of gay people in this country.
But voting for Sharron Angle over Harry Reid will not get you where you want to go. I think if you want to get gay rights to be taken seriously the gay community needs to change their approach to politics. The HRC needs to be disbanded, and the the gay lobby needs to get militant. No more buttoned-up Georgetown types; gay rights needs real radicals who simply are not willing to compromise. Period. You've said it yourself. Right now for Obama and the rest of the Democratic Party, gay rights is just another issue among many. It has to become more than that. Politicians have to be scared, legitimately scared, of fucking with the gays.
The gay lobby needs to have as much pull as the gun rights lobby. That's the only way that things change on an acceptable timeline (meaning now!). But you know all this, you've said it yourself, and it's why I said I can't really believe you believe what you said about Angle and Reid. I'm worried that you're becoming like the rest of us, horribly depressed by the current state of the world.
I was so happy when you returned from your blogging break because you immediately brought back that cleared-eyed sense of realism coupled with your unique brand of optimistic faith in the power of pragmatic adults like Obama to lead us back on the right path - however long it takes. The emphasis in that statement should be on the "s" in adults. It's going to take many of us, as you well know, to get things changed, and again as you well know the current leadership of the gay lobby is not capable of changing anything. I wish as much as you that Reid and Obama cared about gay rights enough to really fight for it, but wishing for people to care about things the way that you do is not a means for changing the world. And voting for incompetent reactionaries over cynical polls is also not a means for changing the world.
Reid and Obama and basically every politician in DC needs to be embarassed about what they have done to so many people who have voluntarily risked their lives to defend their freedom. There are people out there in this country who are capable of getting that message out there, but those people do not lead the gay rights movement. They should.
I understand you're upset. I'm upset too. But seriously? You'd rather a crazy person hold one of the most powerful positions in our gov't (that of a US Senator)? Is this the same person who day in, day out, rails against Sarah Palin? And speaks of their constant struggles with Obama's timidity but feels lucky to have him over the possibility of a crazy person in Palin?
It seems like you've let your emotions about this issue overtake your better judgment. If you had used this as a reason to primary Reid or a push to replace him as senate majority leader, I'd be right there with you. But you're arguing for voting for someone with whom you actively disagree on nearly everything of import to a six-year term just to register your displeasure with the way the incumbent has chosen to advance issues that you care about (issues which would likely not be advanced at all were Republicans to be in power).
Here's to hoping that a later vote is more successful, or that the Supreme Court advances our rights where our legislature has thus far failed. But this issue, just like gay marriage, is reaching a critical mass where I feel that the laws are behind the times. And now it just seems like a question of WHEN and not IF. It's dreadful that our system allows for such long lapses between acknowledgment by many of a need for a change and the actual implementation of that change. But that's how it is.
It seems to me that your irrational anger at Reid and the Democrats is nothing much more than cutting off your nose to spite your face. That said, I think you're dead-on accurate in your condemnation of The HRC. I used to be a "Federal Club" member of HRC, donating thousands of dollars a year to them. No longer.
As an African-American, I know a CW position is to say that the gay rights movement is similar to the modern Black Civil Rights movement. Fair enough. But I don't think we'll ever find anyone who believed/fought in that movement say that they'd vote for the bigoted opposition, because they didn't like how things went down on one of the issues (of many) with the party that they know at the end of the day was their greatest hope to get what they wanted done. They would do as they did, continue to encourage, prod, shame, etc., but never flippantly throw out notions of wasting their precious vote - real or not.
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