Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Emmy award winning actress Patricia Clarkson gave a rousing speech before the Human Rights Campaign in New Orleans the other day, and it worth your while to listen to it:

All across this country, regular Americans who were born and bred in towns where a gay couple wouldn't dare walk down a street--all over these American Main Streets--something is changing.

Blue-collar guys are looking up from their work, grandmothers are speaking up at the dinner table; and they are saying something to members of their family, and co-workers, who are against gay marriage.

They are saying in one, increasingly-loud American voice, "Honey, rather than worry about who someone else loves--and why, think about who you hate--and why!"

[Thanks to the Huffington Post.]

Although I feel that this was a very good speech, I think that she's overly optimistic about the homophobic and/or indolent politicians and reactionary religious leaders looking ridiculous. They have a lot of followers and, although "the train has left the station," the next stop is many miles ahead, and the train will need a lot of pushing by activists to get it to that final stop.

For example:

The Democratic party at its homophobic, spineless, cynical best. Obama won't do squat on Don't Ask Don't Tell, he says it's the Congress' job. Harry Reid won't do squat on Don't Ask Don't Tell, he says it's Obama's job. And neither Reid nor Obama plan on doing anything to make anything happen on this issue.

It's not a priority for either of them. They'd rather pass a health care reform bill that excludes gay families from benefits.

[For the full article, see here.]

And, as I have written before, Obama could rescind DADT right now if he wanted to do so!

So we have a "liberal" President who is passing the buck to Congress," and we have a "liberal" Democrat passing the buck to Obama. This political shell game shouldn't inspire confidence in even the most fervent Obamamaniac!

Clarkson aptly quotes Winston Churchill: "Americans are always ready to do the right thing. After they have exhausted all the other possibilities."

Churchill hit the nail on the head, but the unfortunate fact is that the strident homophobes have not exhausted "all the other possibilities." Not by a long shot!

And without meaningful coordinated grassroots and organizational activism by LGBT people and allies who know that we will have to go through that "season of suffering" that Martin Luther King emphasized, that dark night of America's collective soul, and the continuing second-class citizenship of LGBT people, will last much longer than any of us would want.

And the Obamas and Reids of the political world will continue their political machinations at the expense of LGBT people; homophobic clergy will be able to continue to spew their hateful rhetoric with impunity as well.
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genevieve said...

The next to last paragraph is what is needed (and being done). It needs to be done in medicine, law, education, and media.

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi genevieve: I think that with the Calif. Supreme Court affirming the vote on Prop. 8, along with the lack of repeal of DADT and Obama's aggressive defense of DOMA in the recent federal court case, a critical mass is being built up for just such much-needed coordinated activism at both the grassroots level and the organizational level. Take care, Jerry.