Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hey Dems, Where Are You When We Need You Most?

As a straight, married (25 years), mother of three, I am rather new to the fight for equality the GLBT community has had to wage pretty much on their own for years. One of the biggest shocks for me was realizing how much politicians use the GLBT community for their own personal gain, and I include politicians on both sides of the aisle in this accusation. There are the politicians who gladly hold out their hand and accept Gay and Lesbian dollars and votes in return for empty promises of support. And there are the politicians who use Gay and Lesbian issues as divisive, destructive, and hateful wedge issues to gain and maintain a political edge. I am ashamed at how blind and naïve I was about all of this. And even more shameful is the fact that I remained ignorant (maybe on purpose) about it until I found out I had a personal stake (my beloved gay son) in the battle. It is just disgusting to me how few people we elect to public office to represent us in government are willing to take a stand in favor of controversial issues like gay marriage. It is as though their job, once in public office, is to defend and protect their jobs rather than to look out for the people who put them in office in the first place (yes, gay people vote and so do their families).

There was a day when Democrats had the courage to take what at first were unpopular stands and fight like hell for those whose rights were being trampled. But those days obviously ended a long time ago in another era. Now I know there are exceptions to what I am saying, but try as I might, Senator Feingold is about the only name that comes to mind as I type. What I want to know is what the hell happened to the Democrats? I thought they were supposed to be the champions for the little guy. For the most part the Democrats up on the Hill today look like a bunch of spineless, mealy-mouth people who weigh and measure every word out of their mouth to make sure the number of people they curry favor with outweigh the number of people they offend. They put their wet finger in the air and decide whether an issue is politically advantageous to take a stand on and if it is not, they scurry for cover like a bunch of cockroaches. I can only thank God that most of this sorry group of politicians was not around during the Civil Rights Movement. No wonder the GOP has been so successful in making the Democrats out to be spineless, stand-for-nothing, cowardly people. Note to Democrats: today’s GOP are horrible, valueless, scoundrels, but on this you make it easy for them to look like they have a valid point.

Because we just moved to a new home, I had to re-register to vote. I knew I was going to change my political affiliation (I held off from doing this sooner only because I liked the phone polls I got to participate in), but when the moment of truth finally arrived, I found myself in a true dilemma. I just could NOT see myself ever wanting to claim this pathetic Democratic party as the party to represent me so I punted and decided to call myself an Independent. I am just a mom, but I want people in office who will fight for all of my children with the same fire and fury that I would. This group of Democrats has flunked the test. No politician will ever get my dollar or my support until he/she proves to me that their job security takes a back seat to the little guy, all little guys, not just the ones that help their poll numbers. Pam constantly makes the point that we cannot look to today’s Dems for support on gay issues. As she says:

Maybe the Dems will … come to the realization that gays, those in favor of reproductive freedom, and citizens concerned with privacy rights (just to name a few disillusioned portions of the Dem base) will refuse to vote for sellout Dems.

Now I am a glass-half-full kind of person and I do have hope, not in today’s out-of-touch politicians, but in everyday Americans out there living everyday life and interacting with everyday people. I recently read an article that Pam pointed to on her blog written by Cokie and Steve Roberts. What was refreshing about this article was their admission that they had changed their minds and their stands on gay marriage after actually getting to know two people whose lives we heterosexuals feel we have the right to control, oppress, and degrade. This article gives me hope that the day in which gay equality is a reality and not a goal is getting closer and closer.

Snippets from the article:

As Kevin told us: "Each of us has found what most people spend a lifetime looking for -- the one person who knows us better than any other, the person who will sacrifice for the other, the person who will care for and protect the other." Adds Grant: "Marriage is about creating family. Kevin will be my family after July 8th."

Ironically, the invitation to the wedding party (the actual ceremony will be in Canada, where gay marriage is legal) came just as the Senate was debating and rejecting a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. "Marriage is under attack," thundered Sen. Bill Frist, the majority leader, and he has a point (think of the disposable men in "Sex and the City" and the disposable women of "The Sopranos"). But it's not under attack from the likes of Kevin and Grant. In fact, the precise opposite is true.

These young men embody all the values of tradition and tenacity that foes of gay marriage say they believe in. The whole idea that they endanger the institution of matrimony by wanting to join it is absurd. And they are hardly unusual.


We've always supported civil unions, which give same-sex couples certain legal rights. But we shared the concerns of our good friend, Rep. Barney Frank, an outspoken gay leader, who worried that America was not ready for gay marriage.

His fears are still justified in many parts of the country. And we don't think religious institutions should be forced to perform or recognize same-sex ceremonies.

But the trend line is clear. According to the Gallup poll, 39 percent of Americans now approve of gay marriage, an increase of 12 points over the last decade. Despite all the over-heated rhetoric about gays "undermining" marriage, real-world experience tells a very different story.

Same-sex unions have been legal in parts of Canada for three years and that country has hardly collapsed into social anarchy. Even the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has adapted, assigning gay couples near each other. Jason Tree, a Mountie who is marrying his partner this summer, told the Washington Post: "Just look at the last 10 years to see how far we have come in Canada. I'm hoping some day soon this will all die down."

So are we. Virtually every American has gay friends (sometimes without knowing it). Vice President Cheney has a gay daughter, who says the Republican Party should "wake up" and recognize the growing tolerance for same-sex relationships. Like Kevin and Grant, she deserves to marry her own partner and create her own family. And be boring.

So when the day finally arrives in which gays and lesbians enjoy the same rights as everyone else, I don’t think we will be sending thank you notes to the Democrats cowering up on the Hill today. Sadly, this could have been their time to really shine. History will show them they really missed an opportunity to show the world once again what the Democratic Party is supposed to be about.

It seems Gary Hart is also frustrated with the Dems up on the Hill.
He wrote a blistering piece for the Huffington Post today: "There is something in life a lot more important than holding on, at all cost, to a Congressional seat. There is integrity, there is conviction, and there is courage. History's jury will sit in judgment today on those Democrats and will find wanting those without the conviction and courage to say enough."

Hat tip to Political Wire


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