Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sick and tired...

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

President Obama, who campaigned on promoting gay equality (even though he and almost every other Democrat repeated again and again  that marriage was an institution between a man and a woman) has now become the obstacle for repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  A summary:  Last week, a judge ruled that DADT was unconstitutional.  The Obama Administration filed an emergency appeal (yes, that's right- an emergency appeal) to block the decision.  The emergency appeal was denied.  But late Wednesday, the appeal was heard by a higher court, and was granted. DADT is in place again.

What this means:  LGBT people who enlisted, or who came out during the brief period of time when DADT was suspended, will now be discharged.

Here's what Newsweek, a magazine whose subscription we ended because we thought it was too conservative, said about the need for Obama to defend DADT in the courts:
There are two different arguments for why Obama could choose not to enforce the law. The first one: he could say it was unconstitutional. At the time that DADT was passed, it was constitutional because there was no Supreme Court precedent establishing that homosexual relationships are protected under the implied privacy rights of the Bill of Rights. Then, 10 years later, the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas overturned an anti-sodomy statute on the grounds that it violated the privacy rights of gay couples... 
Obama’s other option: simply using his executive power to decide how the laws will be, or won’t be, executed. So Obama could simply order the military to stop applying the law, or to use it much more narrowly and infrequently. “There are a lot of laws on the books he doesn’t rigorously enforce,” notes Geoffrey Corn, a military law expert who teaches at South Texas College of Law."
I've read a lot of praise for the "It's Get Better" Project, which has presented videos on You Tube to tell LGBTQ teens that life gets better.  This program is great.  But actions speak louder than words.  What can a  teen conclude who hears, "Yea, you're okay for the military, not you aren't, yes you might be"?  Hillary Clinton has even recorded a "It Gets Better" video.  And yet, she, like Obama, campaigned on the notion that marriage wasn't for gay people.  It gets better?  Great words, but, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama, how can a gay kid possibly believe you when you haven't stepped forward to truly support equality in all areas?

It may get better, but many people in power right now aren't helping.  And this ping-ponging back and forth about DADT can only be hurting.

President Obama is now crossing the country trying to energize his supporters for the November elections.  I recently heard Joe Biden lament that (actually, he scolded) progressives were not energized for the election.  I am a progressive.  I donated money to the Obama campaign.  And I am a gay man.  Tell me, please: why should I be energized except to defeat the Tea Party?

Yes, I will vote.  And I will vote for Obama in 2012.  I just didn't expect to do this with regret.


  1. To be honest, I'm somewhat disillusioned with the whole "It Gets Better" project in general, not just in terms of the sort of political hypocrisy you're talking about here. It's all very well for people for whom things have improved to share stories of how exactly things "got better" in their own lives, but that's far from a universal truth about queer people. In some cases, sure, but what about the less lucky people for whom adult life turns out to be just as full of bigotry and nastiness? Framing "it gets better" as a Big Truth about growing up queer sort of negates the reality that for these people, it didn't.
    Perhaps I'm being over-careful here. It just feels like a slap in the face to people who don't have the "it gets better" experience, and maybe even the kids who haven't gotten to the "getting better" part yet and are experiencing real pain.

  2. I like the "It Gets Better" project, I think is a great message to give and send. There is also a "make it better" movement starting which I think is even more inspirational and proactive.

    As for Obama and his admin looking to reinstate DADT, it is cowardice, not leadership. He takes the gay vote for granted, because there are no real options.

  3. Asa-- I think you are so right. I've heard Dan Savage (who started the project) basically tell a gay teen that it was her own fault if she didn't get out of her small town after high school. This was in front of about a thousand people. She kept saying, "It's not that easy. I have no job and no money." He kept saying, "Just do it, for Christ's sake." So weird. In its own way, it was a form of bullying.