Thursday, September 17, 2009

Priorities, people!

(written a few weeks ago; I've been slow to publish these days, but I've been thinking and arguing along similar lines in the run up to the big gay march in D.C. so maybe I should put this stuff out there finally.)

I just when to to see what kind of political coverage we are getting from them. I've been doing this a lot lately. My eye was caught by the headline "Clinton Blames the Gays for DADT?" Read the article for the whole story, but the statement by Clinton which inspired this headline was this:

"You wanna talk about 'don't ask, don't tell,' I'll tell you exactly what happened," Clinton said. "You couldn't deliver me any support in the Congress and they voted by a veto-proof majority in both houses against my attempt to let gays serve in the military and the media supported them. They raised all kinds of devilment. And all most of you did was to attack me instead of getting some support in the Congress. Now, that's the truth," he said to significant applause.

"And all most of you did was attack me instead of getting some support in the Congress." I'm afraid that we are setting ourselves up to hear that rebuke from another ex-president down the road. People in the gay community are screaming bloody murder about how Obama hasn't repealed Don't Ask Don't Tell yet or about how enough isn't being done about gay marriage. Really? Is this really at the top of our list right now? I'm not asking anyone to roll over and play dead and forget about issues which are of particular importance to our community, but we've got a new president who inherited a shit pile from the last schmuck and years of a republican congress. Right now, he needs to get a firm hold in Washington and honestly, if people are losing their homes and losing their jobs and instead of focusing on the economy he was focusing on issues of specific interest to gay people, he wouldn't be doing us any favors.

So we want the right to get married or to serve in the military openly? Then we should be out there screaming bloody murder about the need for healthcare reform and give him some political cover. This is his big fight. If it passes in any recognizable form, he is going to have political capital to spend. If it fails, he is going to be in a hole. The republicans recognize this and are trying to sink this as a way to neuter him. He won the election talking about this issue, keeping out front and selling it. And we voted for him and through him, for healthcare reform. If we want him to stick his neck out for us, we've got to get in there and push in this fight. If we can't help deliver support for healthcare in Congress, then we aren't going to be able to deliver the support he is going to need to overturn DADT or DOMA. And he isn't this lone figure that should just do all the fun stuff he talked about during the campaign because we voted for him; we've still got to get in there and do groundwork and push and shove.