Thursday, January 31, 2008

Donkey Season! Elephant Season!

Recently I saw a couple of comments on a LGBT-related website that brought back such memories.


I suppose I wouldn’t mind feeling preached at so much if I shared the cynicism and despair pervading the sermon. Sure, I’d like to see the electoral college reformed, too, but with three strong (and yes, electable) Democrat candidates vying for the Presidency, is this really the time for liberals to complain it doesn’t matter who captains a sinking ship? Can anyone not wearing a Utilikilt as a matter of principle seriously think Clinton, Obama, or Edwards are interchangeable with Romney, McCain, or Huckabee?

I think it is time for a whole generation of liberals to grow up. It isn’t enough to just question authority. Sometimes, you have to become authority. Kucinich is a great guy and I get off on the idea of having a first lady with a piercing, but we need to win because I’m not ready to have President Huckabee changing the Constitution to define me out of the definition of family. We need to win, and that means a President that can govern the whole country, not just the minority of people who share my little subculture’s politics.

I’m a little fatigued with those elitists who think that the Dems are just rearranging the furniture when really such issues as ENDA (ya know some equal rights protections for queer folk), and climate change and global warming (ya know saving the planet, for real), and a few little crumbs to possibly provide homeless people with a place outside of the freezing rain and snow to get protection…

Yes, in the pure political worlds, the dems suck…..but in the real world where every little bit of change leads to more change, and perhaps hope for change, and perhaps energy to make more change..there’s a HUGE difference between when ANY Dem is running this country and ANY repub is running it.

“Elitists”? I’m not sure where that came from, except that we all know that elitists are bad, and anyone who criticizes the Democrats is bad, and therefore must be an elitist, Q.E.D. But in American politics, “elitists” more properly refers to the Democratic Leadership Council, the Democratic National Committee, and their Republican counterparts. One could add the corporate media to the list (they never will be missed).

But not those people who want to see the US out of Iraq, those who want to see Bush impeached, those who rated the Democrat-controlled Congress even lower than Bush last year: they (we) are a majority. We’re a majority that doesn’t register on the radar of the Democratic Party or the corporate media, but we’re here, and there's an election coming up. I wonder who is the “we” in the first commenter’s remarks, and why she thinks that Clinton or Obama in the White House will be a victory for “us.” I suspect that she identifies more with the Democratic Party than with the American people at large, or even with that “little subculture” and its politics.

I shouldn’t be surprised any longer, but I can't help wondering how so many GLBT people can have forgotten what Bill Clinton gave us between 1992 and 2000: DOMA, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (and increased numbers of queer military expelled), and the Communications Decency Act (fortunately struck down by the Courts) – not to mention NAFTA, welfare “reform”, an economic bubble that didn’t improve the financial condition of most Americans, and the undermining of the Kyoto Treaty (so much for “climate change and global warming”). And those are just the high points. Since the Democrats retook Congress in 2006, they’ve basically collaborated with Bush, supporting his increasingly unpopular war and refusing to do anything about impeachment (though at least a significant minority, and probably a majority of Americans favor it). These are not marginal, subcultural issues or concerns, and anyone who tries to spin them as if they were is collaborating with the Democrats, and ultimately, objectively, with Bush.

I noticed during the leadup to the 2000 Presidential election that Democrats weren't satisfied if I agreed merely that Gore was not as bad as Bush. I was not supposed to consider him a lesser evil, I must adulate him as the New Hope. I thought their hostility was interesting: is this how the politically savvy try to win over a reluctant voter? The same thing happened in 2004: those of us who were unenthusiastic about Kerry were vilified, not courted. (Other writers noticed this too; I’ll try to find some links.) So I take the comments I quoted above as the opening salvo in the 2008 election, even before this cycle’s uninspiring candidates have been finally chosen. Already the Democrats are trying to alienate voters who are genuinely critical of Bush and want an alternative, a choice. But if that's the way they want it...