(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
I’d like for you to try a little experiment for me.
It’s a very simple experiment, one that doesn’t involve stoichiometry, Bunsen burners, p values, test tubes, or access to hydrochloric acid. It’ll be fun, I swear.
Fantastic! Let’s begin.
Think of five “liberal” or “progressive” Obama supporters you know. Try to include as many queer and transgender Obama supporters in that list as possible. It shouldn’t be too hard to come up with a list of ardent queer and transgender Obama supporters in the wake of the Pope of Hope’s hope-inducing HRC speech, not to mention his current–and sudden–screeching about his plans to overturn “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (which is in no way a cynical effort to shift the national debate away from his “failed” “attempt” at health care reform, nor is it a strategy to prevent “progressives” from starting to notice that over the past year he has fought–with a Democratic super-majority in Congress–to advance a hawkish neo-liberal agenda that is breathtaking in scope; and no, it has nothing to do with the U.S. military’s inability to recruit and retain enough prospective corpses for his ongoing wars of aggression).
Call each of the Obamaniacs on your list and read the following statement to them:
“Obama has been President for one year now, during which time the Democrats have had a super-majority in Congress. Candidate Obama presented himself as a harbinger of change: the anti-Bush, if you will. Yet over the past year, Obama has (1) continued and/or strengthened a range of the very Bush administration policies that, as a “liberal/progressive”, you once ardently opposed; (2) Enacted (or threatened to champion) paleoconservative policies that, had they been enacted by Bush, would have pissed you off so much that you might have thrown down the gauntlet and attended a peaceful protest or a candlelight vigil! Here are just a few examples:
(a) Obama extended and strengthened the Patriot Act, including key provisions of the Act that infuriated you (and which candidate Hope and Change claimed to oppose) when Bush shoved them through Congress post-9/11. To wit,
- Obama extended the provision allowing the government to obtain private information about civilians through warrantless wiretapping of phone calls and emails
- Obama extended the provision giving the government unfettered access to your personal information from credit reporting companies, banks, internet service providers and libraries.
- Obama actually loosened the Bush administration’s conditions under which someone can be accused of providing “material support” to terrorists. I guess he thought ol’ Dubya was a bit of a softie on civil liberties.
(b) Obama extended Blackwater’s contract to allow that company of fundamentalist Christian war profiteers to remain in Iraq indefinitely.
(c) Despite pledging to end the Iraq war, Obama has actually escalated it by increasing the number of “troops” in Iraq–he simply replaced US troops with so-called “private contractors”, otherwise known as mercenaries.
(d) Under Obama, the number of “private contractors” in Afghanistan has increased exponentially, and they outnumber US troops. In fact, the Obama administration is responsible for increasing the number of private contractors in Afghanistan to the highest recorded percentage of contractors used for any conflict in US history.
(e) The government has been secretive about amount of money it is spending to pay for these private mercenaries in Obama’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the cost may well exceed $1 billion for Iraq alone.
(f) It is understandable if you do not recall Obama signing a bill to authorize spending money to escalate the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (by hiring Blackwater and friends), but you likely watched him sign it on tv. The name of the bill was the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Well, actually its official name was, “To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2010 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, to provide special pays and allowances to certain members of the Armed Forces, expand concurrent receipt of military retirement and VA disability benefits to disabled military retirees, and for other purposes”. But the other name made it sound like the DaliObama was finally proving his progressive street creds, which helped pacify puzzled “progressives” who were finding the new emerging discipline of Obama Apologetics increasingly difficult to master. Plus, it was much easier to say.
(g) Obama increased amount of taxpayer funds for the Wall Street bailouts that began in the final months of the Bush administration. He also bragged that he was going to convince a furious American public to go along with the largest theft and transfer of wealth in recorded human history (i.e., from most of us to the top .01%) by “rebranding the program”. This is one reason why the media stopped discussing the bailouts. There were no more bailouts, you see, because they were replaced by the Troubled Assets Relief Program (or TARP).
(h) Obama publicly stated that he was eager to sign a bill into law that would have enacted a de facto ban on abortion for most women.
(i) The Obama administration vigorously defended DOMA, a law you despise, when it was challenged in court. Twice. The first time, the Obama administration argued that same-sex relationships were comparable to incest and child rape.
I could go on if you like, but let’s leave it at that for now. Since Obama has proven his presidency is little more than Bush’s third term at best, why do you continue to support him if you hated Bush so much?”
Record the Obamaniac’s answers.
Quite straightforward, no?
As with any experiment, however, one should have a set of hypotheses about its outcome. Here are my hypotheses about how the Obamaniacs will respond to the above script (please note the rules that follow each hypothesis–they are for your own safety):
H1: The Obamaniac will not answer the question. Instead, s/he will become enraged and either start yelling incoherently and/or reply with some variant of “Well McCain/Palin would have been worse.”
(Note: Remain silent! Do not antagonize this brand of Obamaniac under any circumstances)
H2: The Obamaniac will not answer the question. Instead, s/he will pretend s/he didn’t hear a word you said, and s/he will respond with some version of the irrelevant yet popular liberal retort, “My god, what is wrong with you? The man has only been in office for one year! Cut him some slack! What, did you really expect him to come in, wave his Obama wand, and magically fix everything overnight?”
(Note: Calmly say, “I agree that 1 year isn’t much time. But he’s actually accomplished a lot in 1 year.” Then re-read the above script. Proceed with extreme caution.)
H3: The Obamaniac will concede that Obama “has been disappointing in certain respects”. S/he will then begin to lecture you about the powerful symbolic value of his election and its implications for race-relations in the US. Then, s/he will taunt you and defy you to deny the symbolic value of his presidency (note: Obamaniacs generally start to display a trademark smirk when making this evasive and irrelevant argument. They view Identity Politics(c) as their trump card, and they believe that you share their belief that this “argument” entitles them to declare “Checkmate!”)
(Note: Just nod and smile)
Most likely, you will receive a mix of 1 or more of the above responses. I am primarily interested in H2 and H3, but I will focus mostly on H3. As for responses that conform to H2, I have grown weary–no, make that “sick and fucking tired”–of the “only one year in office” argument. I thus felt it necessary to demonstrate how much Obama has managed to accomplish in “only one year”…and I barely scratched the surface. For example, I could have talked about his policy towards Cuba, his hyper-Zionist stance on the Israeli occupation of Palestine, etc., ad nauseum.
My particular interest in the response posed in H3 stems from the way that many liberals and “progressives” reacted to the strongly-worded objections that I made over a year ago when Obama decided to kick-off his presidency by honoring Rick Warren, a major financial backer of the anti-queer forces in Uganda that are trying to legalize the extermination of queer people in that nation. Warren classified the massive donations he knowingly sent to support their cause as part of his megachurch’s “AIDS ministries” (you can find links to sources by conducting a search of this blog- I am getting sleepy and will add links later). Warren recently issued a belated and perfunctory statement saying he thought it was “bad” to execute all queers (although he reiterated that he doesn’t “support homosexuality”) in an effort to disassociate himself from his foot soldiers in the fight to ignite the Ugandan genocide. He only did so after a prolonged (and mostly ignored) outcry from some sectors of the US public roused the corporate media from its coma long enough to make it roll over and angrily hit the snooze button (i.e., mentioning Uganda in a footnote somewhere in the recesses of that commie liberal rag called the New York Times). Apparently, even genocidal zealots like Warren fear the possibility of a minor backlash and/or slight public humiliation. After all, they are cowards by nature.
Liberals and “progressives” paid little attention when those of us on the queer and transgender “left lunatic fringe” tried to get someone–anyone–to understand that the DaliObama had chosen to symbolize the beginning of his presidency by bestowing one of the highest honors upon a man with known financial ties to people who were–and are–actively trying to carryout the genocide of LGBT people in Uganda, thereby conferring an aura of legitimacy upon such sentiments and efforts. I mean, Obama has the fucking Secret Service at his disposal, and he won’t even blink without consulting his advisors on the relative political fallout from blinking versus not blinking. There is no way he could have not known what the Fuhrer of Saddleback had been up to over the past decade. No matter what we said about why we were angry, liberals and “progressives” told us that we were actually angry because Warren opposed gay marriage. I lost count of the number of heteros who felt the need to “educate” me by lecturing me on how Obama had stated his opposition to gay marriage throughout the campaign , so it was factually inaccurate for me to call him a “hypocrite”. It was cute how they always rushed through that part to “inform” me that His O’ness does support civil unions, though, which would be the equivalent of marriage, “just with a different name”.
Apparently, they thought I gave a fuck.
It still amazes (and saddens) me how my “allies” mysteriously and consistently went deaf whenever I replied that a man who campaigned as a “fierce advocate” of LGBT people while chilling with his “ex-gay” and anti-gay posse and who later gave one of the most powerful bully pulpits in history to the Christofascist financier of a “final solution” to the “queer problem” was by definition a “hypocrite”. That is, unless I missed the part where Obie said he was a fierce advocate of curing or killing us.
Of the few people who bothered to pay attention to our outcry, the most vitriolic attacks came from the Amerikkkan gaysbien homotocracy. Where else?
“What’s the big deal? Obama is just trying to show that there is room for everyone under his big tent. Yeah, it sucks he chose to honor Rick Warren, that evil opponent of gay marriage, but it doesn’t really matter because it is just a symbolic gesture to the Christian right. You are going to judge him based on nothing more than this symbolic action? What the fuck is wrong with you? He is the fucking gay Moses, dumbass! Give the man a year, and you’ll see…we’ll be getting married, joining the Marines to help kill ragheads without having to suffer the indignity of the closet, and Obama will have declared Harvey Milk Day a national holiday. You clearly have the intelligence of a potted cactus if you are unable to see that Obama is just being strategic! When Obama finally reveals his inner Che Guevara, you’re gonna have a lot of egg on your face. Now fuck off so I can do my bump of crystal and get back to the circuit party which, I’ll have you know, is donating a portion of its proceeds to AIDS charities or shelters for homeless gay teens in Darfur or Haiti or something!”
I almost….almost…feel sorry for them. Most HRC-sexuals still sing the Obama administration’s praises even after he showed up and gave a witty–and let’s not forget “hopeful”–speech (“ohmygod he like, totally referenced Lady GaGa”) at their pricey little din-din. Then, after he managed to escape the building where they were hosting their gala for blueblooded cornholers and carpetmunchers with his man-hymen still intact, he turned around and mocked them. Repeatedly. First, one of his errand boys referred to those painfully assimilationist asshats who took part in the big gay equality march on Washington (aka “the million moron march”) as “the Internet left fringe…[just] bloggers who need to take off the pajamas, get dressed, and realize that governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult.” That statement deeply offended me, because I thought I had won the “gay left fringe” title fair and square. But alas, it turns out that Pam Spaulding is the real lunatic with delusions of being a general in the gay Symbionese Liberation Army. Then, he openly ridiculed a contingent of pro-gay marriage-military-adoption-priesthood demonstrators in a speech he delivered in LA (click on that link–the video is hilarious). The Pope of Hope clearly got a little miffed when some fag (a student at a Lutheran seminary on a military scholarship no doubt) yelled at him to “keep your promises”. So during his speech, the DaliObama quipped, “One of them said, ‘Obama keep your promise. I thought, ok that’s fair. I don’t know which promise he was talking about…'” The audience howled with laughter. Finally, in an act clearly intended to be a less than subtle way of saying “fuck off already, can’t you see that you people make me sick”, Obama made a huge production out of granting the same-sex partners of federal employees certain benefits (minor things like health care were excluded)…benefits they already had. I would beg them to stop humiliating themselves, but I am having way too much fun watching them act even more surprised with each successive insult.
I do believe, as our hypothetical circuit-party queen who tweaks for gay Haitian orphans (or whatever) stated, that one should focus on substance over symbolism, especially when one has no reason to believe that the symbol stands for something nefarious like, oh, let’s say…malevolent intent towards an entire class of people. For example, most reasonably well-informed individuals would have very different reactions if they encountered any of the following people sporting a swastika: (1) a Tibetan Buddhist monk; (2) a devout Jain; (3) an Indian devotee of the creator-god Brahma; (4) a recent ex-con with “Rahowa!” tattooed on his shaved head, complete with combat boots, “white power” t-shirt, a tendency to scream “seig heil” every 10 minutes, and a dog-eared copy of Mein Kampf. Notice they are all brandishing the same symbol, but that symbol has a very unique (and I think it is safe to say “nefarious”) meaning when our neo-Nazi is displaying it. Virtually anyone (especially racial/ethnic/sexual minorities) could tell you why it would be fucked up–not to mention terrifying–to run into him and his swastika flag at a rest stop in the middle of the night somewhere in rural Illinois.
Before you have a PC heart attack, NO, I am not calling Obama a neo-Nazi, nor am I comparing him to a member of Aryan Nation. That would be stupid. I mean, they wouldn’t even allow him to join their group. He’s not qualified. snort
My point is that if there is an objective record of someone consistently expressing a genuine affinity for a particular referent (e.g., by attending numerous NASCAR races, desperately sending out applications for employment in a pit crew, attending town council meetings to argue passionately that the council members should issue a permit for the construction of a super speedway, or donating money to whatever charity Dale Earnhardt Jr. happens to be promoting at the moment), then it is reasonable to make certain inferences about that person’s beliefs, attitudes, motivations, and/or likely future behaviors when s/he repeatedly produces something that symbolizes the referent. The symbol may take the form of an object (a Dale Earnhardt baseball cap?) or behaviors intended to demonstrate affinity for the referent (e.g., drunkenly firing your rifle at the tv after your 29th can of PBR because your guy drove around in circles too slow, or making a very public donation to the local chapter of the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Fan Club). Either way, it would be justifiable to conclude that our hypothetical NASCAR fanatic’s symbolic displays of all things NASCAR are indicative of a passion that runs very deep. Furthermore, it would be quite reasonable to predict s/he (a) plans to attend NASCAR races in the future; (b) devotes a portion of his or her disposable income to purchasing NASCAR memorabilia; (c) may even do something extreme to promote NASCAR if s/he was in a position of power, such as issuing a decree to make NASCAR the official national sport.
Conversely, if I showed up at your dinner party with a mullet and a temporary NASCAR tattoo on my forearm and, upon being asked how I was doing, I replied in an exquisitely snuff-drenched Southern accent that, “I was feelin’ finer than a frog hair split four ways ’til that 32 car got sent off to the daggum’ Big Red Trailer not even 3 fuckin’ laps after the boogity boogity boogity on account of they suspected him of illegal weight jacking”, you’d probably laugh or have me committed. In the unlikely event that someone at your party knew anything whatsoever about NASCAR, they would instantly intuit that I must have googled “NASCAR slang” only to mangle it beyond recognition. Hell, I don’t even know what “weight jacking” is, nor do I have a clue if it can be used to violate NASCAR rules.
My actions could still be viewed as symbolic depending upon the context, but the symbolism would differ dramatically from the symbolism of our die-hard NASCAR fan. If I showed up at a sports bar in the South to watch the “big race” with my fresh mullet and my NASCAR-to-English Dictionary and started talking about my undying love for NASCAR, the regulars would be skeptical about my motives, and rightfully so. I fucking hate NASCAR and most NASCAR fans, and my thinly-veiled derision would be apparent for a couple of reasons. First, the bar happens to serve free beer from 5pm to 6pm to NASCAR fans whenever there is a big race. As much as I dislike NASCAR, my love for free beer is stronger than my disdain for that “sport” and its fans. Oddly, I only seem to come around to the bar to proclaim my love for the races during the hour on those days when they happen to be serving free beer. Second, the more I talk, the clearer it becomes to the other patrons that I don’t know–nor do I care to know–jack shit about NASCAR. But I sure do chug a shitload of beers during that hour and I almost never glance at the tv. My words and behavior were designed to symbolize a (non-existent) love for NASCAR to (hopefully) appease the bartenders just long enough for me to get my drunk on. When I no longer have any use for them, I leave feeling disgusted by their NASCAR cooties yet slightly superior to them because they bought–or pretended to buy–my hollow symbolic gestures and I got what I wanted from them.
I can hear you thinking, “Okay, make your damn point already.” So here goes…
As far as I am concerned, candidate Obama’s history of fraternizing with leaders of the so-called “ex-gay” movement counted as an objective record of his affinity for a specific referent: a hatred of queer and transgender people (read all about it here, and here and here and here). This symbolic behavior seemed to genuinely symbolize his hatred of queer and transgender people precisely because of how unnecessary it was for him to win the election. Some may argue that this is objective data, but thin objective data. I’ll concede that point because I don’t feel like providing a content-analysis of every ad that the Obama campaign used to flood the LGBT community. In my view, that analysis combined with his love for all things “ex-gay” is rather solid objective evidence. However, when president-elect Obama chose to follow up this behavior by dropping the symbolic bombshell of Rick Warren (and remember…the argument that Obama was unaware of Warren’s goals for Ugandan queers doesn’t pass the laugh test considering how thoroughly the bastards in power at that level vet everyone and everything and how deep they are capable of digging into someone’s past), I think it is perfectly legitimate to at least, I dunno, start paying attention to a set of actions and behaviors of a powerful man that now clearly symbolize disdain and perhaps even malevolent intent towards a specific class of people: namely fags, dykes, and trannies.
Over the past year, Obama has also made a number of symbolic overtures to the mainstream gaysbien community, but there has been no substance to indicate that those overtures were anything more than acts of hollow symbolism. Quite the opposite, actually. In addition to his “incest and child rape” argument while defending DOMA, we now know that Obama has an inner circle of spiritual advisers comprised of protestant preachers who are outspoken homophobes and ardent proponents of the so-called “ex-gay” movement. Much like how I would tell NASCAR fans what they want to hear for an hour to get what I want out of them (beer), Obama only slithers up to the gaysbien homotocracy and makes symbolic yet substantively empty gestures when there is something he wants…usually he just wants them to shut up for awhile and go away, and since they are not as sharp as the average NASCAR fan, they not only comply…they become giddy about it. Occasionally, he needs to use them as a distraction or a wedge issue just like his predecessor did. The difference is that Joe Solomnese and other white self-appointed “leaders” of the LGBT “community”, both nationally and locally, are willing to fight each other to the death to be HomophObama’s pawn of choice, regardless of how low he sinks.
I have two words for anyone who still believes that Obama’s behavior towards the Christofascists who want to see all of us queers executed is nothing more than strategic and hollow symbolism: pancakes and prayer.
It seems Obama–my “fierce advocate”–just cannot stomach the thought of cutting ties with his good friends who are working tirelessly to legally mandate the extermination of queers in Uganda. Either that, or this particular group just makes some damn good pancakes. Yesterday, CNN reluctantly posted the story that Obama would attend the prayer breakfast despite objections from an ethics group that thought it was, er, unethical for the POTUS and other government officials to be attending a prayer breakfast sponsored by a cult that is praying (and more importantly donating a lot of money and effort) for the chance to legally exterminate queers in Uganda and presumably around the world. The “journalists” at CNN have since made a big deal over Obama’s characterization of the death penalty for the crime of being queer as “odious”.
Gee, thanks Barry. It’s nice to hear that you think it is “odious” for a nation to pass a law requiring the execution of people like me and my partner. I just have a few questions:
(1) If you find the government-mandated extermination of queers to be so “odious”, why the fuck did you even show up at a prayer meeting sponsored by a cult that is working so hard to actualize such an “odious” reality? You are the President, so you could have gotten away with simply not showing up, thereby sending a weak indication that you actually do think what they are doing is odious. I mean, dude, I love free beers, and I fucking hate NASCAR, but I wouldn’t describe NASCAR as odious. Creepy, odd, dull, and profoundly mindnumbing perhaps. But NASCAR fans aren’t trying to orchestrate genocide, for fuck’s sake. If, however, I was showing up at a bar that had a “free beer for rapists” night and going along with the program (“Dude, it was so hot, she was like, asking for it or whatever, can I have another beer?”) until the media was forced to do a story on it, I doubt many people would look kindly on me if I continued to show up for the free beers while more or less going along with the program except to qualify my support for the event by saying that I thought rape was “odious”. They wouldn’t have to worry about it though, because unlike you, I wouldn’t knowingly attend and support an event orchestrated by an organization working towards a goal I actually thought was odious, such as legalizing rape. If you think the extermination of queer and transgender people is so abhorrent, why did you show up, pray with the fuckers, and give an underwhelming sermon where you actually fucking said God’s grace is revealed in American troops. Tell that to the orphans in Afghanistan who saw God’s grace shatter their father’s sternum with bullets. Also, is God’s grace revealed in the tens of thousands of private mercenaries you’ve hired from companies including the company formerly known as Blackwater? If not, maybe you should use our taxes to pay to have all of their rifle sights inscribed with a Bible verse. That ought to do it. Just make sure you leave out that one verse that says something like “thou shalt not kill”. That would be such a buzz kill.
(2) Why wasn’t the execution of queers in Uganda “odious” to you back when you gave Rick Warren a presidential hand job of appreciation at your inauguration? Oh, right…the mainstream media wasn’t reporting that connection, so you didn’t have to pretend it bothered you. Dumb question. Just one more…
(3) Would you have shown up at a prayer meeting sponsored by Holocaust deniers or a cult of anti-Semites who are trying to pass legislation in….well, any country….to finish where Hitler left off? No? How come? I mean, you could always show up, denounce the group’s goal as “odious”, and then proceed to participate in the festivities. You seem to be getting a pass for doing just that when it comes to queer and transgender people. I think I know why you can bring yourself to tolerate the “odiousness” of a group that is fighting for the right to commit genocide against queers, while you couldn’t do the same for a group that supported finishing off the Jews. I bet it has something to do with symbolism and which of your statements and actions symbolize the real Barry vs. which of your statements and actions are calculated, hollow symbols designed to get what you want.
There he is folks. Change you can fucking believe in.