I will no longer be used. Will you be?

It should now be apparent by those who are aware of the recent and not so recent sweep of history that a few facts have been coming into focus.  And if it is not, it should be.

Both major political parties of the United States use GLBT people.  It’s not that they ignore us, it’s not that they regard us as an inconvenience.  No, they actively use us to achieve the only thing that is important to them: achieving and maintaining political power, which power is used to enhance the wealth and status of selected groups in our society.

And if you look at the flow and ebb of political power, and what is done with this power with respect to not just GLBT issues, but women’s issues, immigration issues and all manner of social issues is this: Both parties have an interest in keeping the political game going.

It is well established among GLBT folks that the Republican Party has been and continues to be hostile to the well being and first class citizenship of our people; this is not and has not been in dispute for a long, long time.  They are hardly blameless in the game of American social values football, while they tend to be neglected because their position is and has been so clear for so long.  Nonetheless, the interest is in not so much oppressing GLBT people as using them.  Using our existence for fundraising, for demagoguery and for all manner of pandering in order to win elections; to keep and hold power.

Nonetheless, this leads to extremes of social discourse that tend to slide under the perceptual range of the average American; there are things we notice and pay attention to that average people who are not so much interested in GLBT issues tend to ignore, less those that spend inordinate amount of time on liberal political radio and so-called “liberal” blogs and websites.

Extremes such as this.

If you asked me, I would agree with a few propositions, were they brought to me by my GLBT friends and gay allies:

1.  Yes, there are people who genuinely hate and/or fear GLBT people, even people who occupy political office, and that for those people, this is not a game, given the opportunity, they would destroy us, and possibly have all of us killed.

2.  Yes, those people (who want to destroy us) tend to be concentrated on the far right, and that those people in the political center, or to the left of center, where anti-gay, tend to want more to use us and keep us from advancing, than they want to “destroy” us.

What is not so clear, however, to the average politically unengaged American, is the degree to which prominent Democrats, and the Democratic Party, also use GLBT people to their political ends, all of which makes the tolerance among Democrats to far right extremes doubly disgusting in that these extremes of hate and fear might not exist but for the fact that Democrats use this debate to keep and enhance their power.  

Remember, my proposition is the Democrats and the Democratic Party in general are using us despite full knowledge of the degree of damage this hate does to the social discourse.  And that this is a political game played out among Democrats and Republicans, not to settle the social debate on one side or another, but to keep the debate going, to serve their political ends.

This may be somewhat obvious to the average poster on Docudharma, but I would point things out that might not be so obvious to the average American.

In furtherance to the proposition, I would offer the following assertions:

1.  The Democrats are much more clever than Republicans at playing the social values game in order to maintain and attract political power, that the chief weapon of those who use GLBT people in the Democratic Party is the memory hole.  The memory hole is the degree to which average Americans either don’t notice or tend to forget specific series of actions and their chronology which quite convincingly demonstrate this to be true.

2.  The primary motivation of both political parties with regard to the national debate over social values is to maintain and enhance their respective political power.  For Democrats this means to promise positive change, while also pandering to socially regressive forces, to let this pandering slip down the memory hole, and then to deliver miniscule positive change with respect to their promises.  For Republicans, the inverse is (mostly) true.  The Republicans method is to promise what we GLBT people, women and others would think of as negative change, to also openly pander to socially regressive people, and then to minimally deliver on their promises of negative change.  In the case of Democrats, they know that too much positive change would mean the debate would be over, and that interminably frustrated social progress would no longer be the driver for Democratic politics as it once was.  In the case of Republicans, they know that too much negative change would lead to explosions of hate and violence, that too much negative change would affect the average American adversely, and that it would tend to backfire.  And also, most obviously, that bigots make up a big part of the Republican base, that the erosion of their bigotry would erode the Republican base, and that the Republicans would have to look elsewhere to justify their existence as a political party, inasmuch as the existence of hate and bigotry also benefits Democrats, who in many cases are cynical enough to not want it to go away too quickly lest they lose people who hew to the Democrats out of fear of the big Republican boogeyman.

3.  A second weapon that the Democrats employ to use GLBT people is the promise and then the walkback.  For example, one might promise that the DADT policy is being remitted to be less socially repressive, and then, immediately, walk back those promises to the effect that they had no or little meaning.  The goal, as always, is to do as little as possible to advance the social values debate, as to keep the game going.  And that the way in which the game can be kept going, is to keep the average American from realizing that the Democrats are tolerating the hate and destruction, deliberately, in order to advance themselves, politically.  They keep the average American from understanding this by making the false positive change memorable, while almost no one but the GLBT community is allowed to notice as much as the former, the withdrawal and betrayal of positive action and promises.

4.  That the damage caused by this political theater is huge and broad ranging in our society, they destroy the discourse, enhance hate and fear, not just among or for GLBT people, but for others as well, and that the Parties are not exemplifications of this division, hate, and fear, but actively work to foster it for their own benefit.  Both major parties.  They do not want to settle the debate, and left to their own devices, they never will, either way.

If one looks at the sweep of events, it becomes readily apparent the degree to which the memory hole is used by Democrats to advance not GLBT equality, but Democratic political power.

In October 2007, Barack Obama’s political campaign employs ex-gay homophobes to advance his campaign in South Carolina.

As part of the politically self serving justification for an event that paid precious little respect to the principle of separation of church and state, in addition to openly insulting and disrespecting GLBT people by openly pandering to hate, and an open acknowledgement of  the influence of the homophobic ex-gay movement, candidate Obama promised that the event was the beginning of a “national conversation” about homophobia, and that also the celebration of hate sponsored by Obama would be balanced by the appearance of an openly gay preacher.  However, the event was an explosion of homophobic defamation, the openly gay preacher did not address gay issues, and the event did not create any kind of “national conversation” that was furthered by the Obama campaign, except certain statements made in speeches later..

(There was no real, quiet, sincere attempt by the Obama administration or campaign to ever foster such a “conversation” in the absence of political usury and demagoguery.  Such a thing has never occurred, nor will ever occur, and remember: a conversation is more than just one person or group blowing wind.  Silencing one side is not “conversation”).

While most Americans don’t remember this, this was not the end of candidate Obama’s pandering to hate, even during the campaign.  Do most or many Americans remember the name Kirbyjohn Caldwell?  I do, but I doubt most Americans do.

During the inauguration, he employed a similar series of actions to first choose Rick Warren (who, due to his furtherance of behavior that may eventually lead to the mass murder of gay people in Africa, later became an embarassment) to deliver the invocation to his inauguration, and also offered “balance” that wasn’t delivered, offered the weak tea of a “national conversation” about homophobia and other social values as an excuse for his pandering.

In a walk-back of the hateful rhetoric which Obama allowed during his campaign, in July 2009 made a speech in which he decried the hurtful effects of homophobia in which he famously said there were “no excuses” for such behavior.

Racism, he said, is felt “by African-American women paid less for doing the same work as colleagues of a different color and gender. By Latinos made to feel unwelcome in their own country. By Muslim Americans viewed with suspicion for simply kneeling down to pray. By our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights.”

(physician, heal thyself?  Obama said there would be no excuses.  But when pressed on why there is little positive action on GLBT rights without immediate walkbacks and stymied promises, all reflexive Obama supporters, Democratic partisans and the Obama administration itself offer is excuses).

Nor is merely symbolic behavior the sole extent of this administrations base duplicity on GLBT affairs.  While telling most Americans, who believe him, that his administration is working behind the scenes to repeal DADT, we learn through Alcee Hastings that his attempt to work on the issue was not welcome.

Barack Obama, finally, attended the National Prayer Breakfast sponsored by a nefarious shadow organization known as the “Family” in which he made a speech decrying the persecution, in impersonal terms, of GLBT people, by calling it “odious”.  It is unknown whether he actually had pancakes and mimosas with people who wish to actually engineer a mass murder of gay individuals in Africa while obliquely chastising them for their hateful attempts.

How’s that memory hole coming?  How many people will remember the negative acts perpetrated by the Obama administration, the statements of support and positive change that are remembered, coupled with the walk-backs and deliberately engineered obstructions that are not?  How many Americans would remember the names of Alcee Hastings (in a positive sense), or those of Kirbyjohn Caldwell and Donnie McClurkin, in the negative?

This is by no means exhaustive; and it is not my intent to single out Barack Obama and his administration for this pattern of positive statements coupled with pandering and deliberate slow-down actions on GLBT rights.  Indeed, an exhaustive chronology would indicate that the Democratic Party as a party, and many people in the party, including some who are gay themselves, are duplicitous on gay rights to the effect that they want to do as little as possible for as long as possible.

Indeed, there is no space in this essay for such an exhaustive list.  Although Obama supporters would point to the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act as an example of “positive change” with respect to GLBT rights, the point is that for both political parties, this is a bit of theater.  (And as an aside I will note that the justification for non action such as “he’s the president”; yes, but he is also the de-facto leader of the Democratic Party and Commander in Chief).  

My point is, whatever party is in power, neither the homophobes get everything or even much of they want nor do the social issues advance enough to terminate the social values debate advanced by far right wing American conservatives.

By engaging in false equivalency, one might say that the Democrats are being “balanced” by neither pandering too much to the forces of social regression, who want to make this country a “Christian Nation”, who want to have murdered every gay person in Africa, and who want to put every gay person in this country in jail, and want to otherwise treat women and immigrants as subhuman creatures, and want to teach every American youth that “intelligent design” is a rational scientific theory, nor advance too much the arguably more enlightened social groups that argue that people should not be treated differently by our government based on the people they choose to establish relationships with, that the government has no business telling people what to do with their bodies, and that a nation that turns its back on scientific truth is a nation in decline.

However, this false equivalency, even to the degree accepted, would mask the obvious truth that Democrats as a Party, the Party leadership, as well as the Republicans, keep this extremely damaging and destructive debate, in which people are murdered, their careers destroyed and their lives are sometimes lost, solely for maintaining political power and political gain, going.

Finally, the DAMAGE:

1.  Womens rights, and their right to control their own bodies, will also continue to be used as political football.

2.  Separation of church and state will continue to erode; the primary weapon of destroying separation of church and state being pandering to religious bigotry, which includes homophobia, not as an end unto itself, but as a weapon to further this far right agenda item of turning America into a “Christian Nation”.

3.  People will be murdered in this country on a daily or weekly basis out of nothing more than perceived gender identity, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

4.  Anti-intellectualism will be advanced.  False controversy, false equivalency, lies, scientific know-nothingness, provincialism and social arrogance and greed, will all continue to gain steam and be expressed in the national conversation, using homophobia and misogyny and transphobia as weapons to advance this cause.

5.  Distraction.  This country has some very serious problems to address with wealthy people stealing the national wealth, sending it overseas, destroying the purchasing power of everyday Americans, destroying unions, turning us all into serfs.  To the degree that the social debate dominates the discourse, people are distracted by the shiny object of their social prejudices and fears.

6.  Pursuant to the active support of anti-intellectualism, scientific decline preceding and abetting national decline and the pell mell destruction of our national education system will advance.  Do we really want to be arguing whether global warming is occuring, whether the earth is really 6,000 years old, and whether Jesus rode Dinosaurs to Bethlehem?  Well, keep up the false controversy, enabling the pushers of these ideas, and see what happens.

The above are all reasons why the social values debate needs to be settled.  It needs to be settled right now.  And both parties will suffer or benefit by its settlement.  It is time to move the national debate in a new direction.  It is time, as a country, to shear off the distractions that keep us from solving our real problems as a people.

Do you know why I’m largely unsympathetic to Democrats screaming about the hate of people like Tea Partiers, even though I agree with the Tea Partiers on very little and am also hostile to them?  Because they brought this on themselves.  They brought it on themselves by refusing to deal with and settle the idiotic assertions of the right on the culture war with a basic insistence to act to solve it legislatively and culturally when they had or have the power to do so.  Because they have not acted and will not act decisively on positive social change, we have come down to this.

And, is it worth it?  And they ask us for political support and donations.  For this.

Why is it not time to confront both parties?  Will reflexively hewing to the Democrats, because the Republicans are such famous haters, solve anything or change anything about our straits (heh) as GLBT people?

I think not.

I, for one, will no longer be used.  I will not be used either by those who knowingly embrace hate for political gain, nor by those who gratuitously wave around the kewpie doll of a hate boogeyman with no intention of actively doing much of anything to destroy the foundation of hate, when they could and had the power to do so.


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  1. See Democrats and liberals tell Fred Phelps he’s a hater!

    Better donate to and work for the Democrats, lest Fred Phelps win!

  2. this session.

    It would be too much progress, too fast.

    Also, certain bigotries, once revealed as socially benighted and unacceptable, and also in certain situations legally sanction-able, are very difficult to advance.

    The Democrats know this.

    But our second class citizenship is the average unengaged American’s continued unwilling participation in this interminable social values debate, with all the ills (not just GLBT second class citizenship) that come with it.

  3. Because they hate Fred Phelps.

  4. Obama takes punishment of the left to a whole new level of humiliation, unimaginable by any republican.  Only Nixon can go to China.

  5. really believes in GLBT rights. His heart is in the the right place. I truly believe that.”

    Or, at least, that’s what they would have you believe.

    It’s a strange trick to play on people’s minds, huh? Don’t follow what a politician actually does, but trust “what he believes in his heart of hearts.” As if that’s what counts.

    Like he, “is against these wars, in his heart of hearts, I truly believe that,” or “he really does care about Main Street, but his hands are tied,” or “I’m sure that he wants a public option, but he doesn’t have the votes.”

    Agree with the hate crimes act being largely theater. The real effect of that law will be to drive people into prisons for longer periods. That, to me, is not civil rights progress.

    Progress to me would be an end to DOMA, federal workplace equality protections, and adoption protections. Those might be real laws with teeth.

    DADT is important because the armed forces set the tone for workplace and social equality, or at least they did post WWII with regard to African-Americans.

    And I won’t vote for Democrats whose actions reflect anything but a solid commitment to GLBT rights. That’s a promise. It’s not about my heart of hearts either.

    So yes, I agree. Good essay. Very good.

  6. once again the useful culture war was being pumped up by both the parties. However this new manifestation of the right is apparently way more serious and dangerous then the Bush coalition from hell and must be pandered to? which makes no sense at all.. The worst excuse I heard from Obama was when he said that DADT repeal could not be done because the generation who were in charge of the military were too old to be able to handle this. (paraphrase). This is absurd if we had to wait for all the bigots in power to die off before civil rights laws could be enacted they would never be passed. It seems like the Democrat’s use the lowest common denominator to establish consensus whether it’s inside the government or in our society.

    Having someone like Rick Warren speak at the inauguration gives this bigotry and hate, backed by religion, equivalency with people’s civil and human rights. They do the same with the torture and war advocates, by not directly opposing and denouncing their goals and agenda they become a legitimate point of view and it also keeps the people in a perpetual state of fear and loathing. This has never seemed to be a logical maneuver for the Democrat’s as if the right is so scary and awful why bend to the these haters/bigots legislatively  or culturally. They can’t have it both ways if they are hater then do not give them credence or use them to hide behind or scare with if you do not intend to stop their hateful agenda when you have the power to do so.                      

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