Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pinkwashing Democrats -- 'Tis The Season

The Democratic Party's faithful apologists at NGLTF have long pushed a Democratic Party agenda over the interests of LGBTQ people, and we've written about that here extensively. However, NGLTF head honcho Matt Foreman penned this editorial, another pleading blog post begging Democrats to, well, stop being Democrats and actually stand for something.

The best? Let's start with the title.

Democrats 2008: Déjà vu, all over again?

Do we really have to answer that question, as though it wasn't obvious?


OK, let's push on through NGLTF's spin.

The first chunk of spin-worthy goodness:

The Democratic candidates for president, as a group and individually, express more support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues and legislative and policy initiatives to improve our lives than any prior set of presidential candidates in the history of American politics.

That's clearly not true. Not only are the Libertarian Party candidates for president, who are running at the same time as the Democrats, all better on gay issues than any of the Democrats, but when Bill Clinton was signing the Defense of Marriage Act waaaaay back in 1996, Harry Browne was calling for marriage equality.

The striking thing about the Libertarian Party isn't how much our candidates' positions have changed, but rather, how much they've stayed the same! Libertarians have always fielded the best candidates on gay issues from a contemporary perspective, and Libertarians continue to lead the Democrats on any gay equality issue.

no major Democratic candidate has made the kind of sweeping statement of inclusion as did Gov. Bill Clinton in 1992, when he declared to a huge crowd of LGBT people in Los Angeles, “I have a vision for America and you are part of it.”

Too bad that President Clinton didn't mention that his principal vision of "our part in America" would consist of being banned from military service under the DADT policy he signed, and having our relationships legally declared null and void in a DOMA law that he signed (and campaigned on).

His words brought tears to the eyes of the audience and rang out across the United States. Even the most skeptical of us in the LGBT community knew that we heard something previously unspoken by any major political figure.

I wasn't in the audience, but if I had been, I'm sure my tears would have been of despair and frustration, perhaps wondering "how many more times are queer people going to be suckered by these Democratic politicians and their duplicitous rhetoric?"

We also know and painfully remember that Clinton’s vision of America did not translate into much of anything positive for us at the federal level.

Translation: Clinton and the Democratic Party lied to and screwed the gay community, and as a direct result of his actions, and those of his party, LGBTQ people emerged from 8 years of his administration even less free -- and more legally targeted, at a federal level -- than any time in prior history.

That's a bit more than "not translating into anything positive at a federal level."

But Foreman, as you might imagine, is oh-so-forgiving of the Democratic Party.

All of this misery has been exacerbated exponentially by the spinelessness or unwillingness of all but a few national leaders to take a stand for us and denounce the animus unleashed on us. Many of our “friends” have simply looked the other way.

I hope that Mr. Foreman is speaking for NGLTF when he says "us." While his Democratic allies were waffling, flip-flopping, or hiding when the right-wing jihad was unleashed in the 1980s and 1990s, Libertarian Party politicians, activists, and members were fighting the good fight in the trenches. Gay people who were turned away from the Democratic Party, told that they were "too much of a liability" simply because they were gay, found political homes in the Libertarian Party.

I can say that the Libertarian Party, as a base of millions of American voters, has always had my back as a gay man. I have never once seen a situation where Libertarians didn't stand, strongly, as a party and as an organization, to take on the religious right's efforts to use government power to attack LGBTQ Americans and our families.

Too bad Mr. Foreman cannot say that about his party.

we are still waiting for the country’s political leadership to defend our right to live and thrive as a matter of principle

Again, "we" being Democrats and Republicans.

Libertarians have had great names in the past (Harry Browne and Michael Badnarik), and a bevy of pro-gay candidates seeking nomination today, who have done that both in politics and in everyday life.

We deserve and we must demand from the Democratic 2008 presidential candidates the simple and straightforward statement that our humanity requires full respect and fair treatment by all

Don't hold your breath. . .

and, further, an equally simple and straightforward condemnation of those who seek to use our lives for political gain.

Come now, Matt, they're not going to condemn themselves!

We need leadership. We need strength of vision. And we need to know that the promises of reform come from the candidates' understanding of LGBT people as inseparable from the national community in which we live. There can be no more equivocating or silence about the goodness of our personhood, our families, our relationships. Period.


That's why LGBTQ people should vote Libertarian. We've got leaders with strong vision and who accept that LGBTQ people are no more, nor less, than equal. Our front-runners have a history of standing for gay people, with no compromises. They tackle anti-gay laws, anti-gay politicians, and anti-gay media personalities. They support complete equality in marriage, immigration, and parental rights -- all issues that their analogues in the Democratic Party fail miserably on, to this day.

In short, the vision that Foreman hopes the Democrats embrace in 10 or 20 years is the vision our party has had since 1973.

Postscript. . . And if that wasn't funny enough, check out this quote from the first entry in the comments section:

Yes, Mr. Foreman. I'm experiencing deja vu, too. But it's less what you wrote about than "Nader Raiders 2000." Remember them and their scorched earth, all or nothing strategy which succeeded only in raiding enough votes to throw the election in dispute and throw Bush in the White House?

I'm also experiencing extreme indigestion from your stew of indignation, exageration, contradiction, and misinformation. Your boilingrant is all the more surprising after the release of the Task Force analysis of candidates' positions showed all Democrats essentially the same except in the area of marriage. Unfortunately, your latest oratory serves only to muddy the perceptions of those who have not seen that report and, therefore, is untruthful, unnecessary, and counterproductive.

Translation? "Shut up faggots, who cares what you think or how we've ruined things for you?!?! You're going to ruin EVERYTHING!"

Why would any LGBTQ person want to be part of a party where such a philosophy is mainstream (and directing the campaigns of all of the frontrunners)? What queer folk need is a party that stands for their equal rights, every time -- not one that takes umbrage to being asked to do anything beyond the "tell me you love me" politics being exhibited by Foreman.