Michael Hamar

Don't Be Played for a Sucker, Again

Filed By Michael Hamar | June 25, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics

Following various blogs and e-mails, the grass roots LGBTQ fury at the Congressional Democrats and President Obama seems to be continuing to escalate, and rightly so.

Obama courted the gay and lesbian vote in his campaign for the presidency but only now - after he took our money, our grassroots work and our votes - do we get the rest of the story, to quote the late Paul Harvey.

It seems that Obama wants to leave the delivery of equal rights for LGBTQ Americans - be it Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the Defense of Marriage Act, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill - up to Congress, and he has no apparent intention of using his bully pulpit of the presidency to exert some leadership on the issues.

Meanwhile, the mealy-mouthed leadership of the House and Senate majorities - particularly Senator Harry Reid of Nevada - sit on their asses and whine that they are waiting for leadership from Obama.

The result? Absolutely nothing of true substance is happening - other than Obama inviting "leaders" (a/k/a sycophants of the LGBTQ community) to the White House for photo op functions that will then be cynically used to provide cover for Mr. Obama and the Congressional Democrats - even as they are throwing LGBTQ citizens under the bus.

By way of example of Obama's cynical disregard for our lives and our rights as citizens, in response to a letter sent by 77 House Democrats, Obama threw the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't tell (DADT) back to Congress.

Here are some highlights from the Advocate:

Seventy-seven Congressional members led by Democratic Representative Alcee Hastings of Florida sent a letter to President Barack Obama Monday urging him to take immediate action to stop the investigations of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" violations. The letter does not call for an executive order halting discharges, but rather a change in how the policy is implemented within the Department of Defense.

And what was the White House response?

President Obama remains committed to a legislative repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which he believes will provide a durable and lasting solution to this issue. He welcomes the commitment of these members to seeing Congress take action.

It is enough to make one want to vomit. Fortunately, the boycott of the DNC fundraiser seems to be gathering steam. Hillary Rosen is the latest to bail, and now SDLN is planning not only a demonstration outside the DNC fundraiser, but also a march on the White House on Saturday in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

Here are some highlights from the SDLN's press release:

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and its allies will commemorate the 40thanniversary of the Stonewall riots by leading a march of 265 veterans, service members and supporters to the White House 2 p.m. Saturday, June 27, to urge President Obama to break his continued silence on repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." The 265 marchers represent the number of service members discharged this week since the President and the new Congress were sworn in.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell underscores that discrimination against gays and lesbians continues, 40 years after the Stonewall riots, and reminds us that many challenges remain in the fight for full equality," said Aubrey Sarvis, SLDN's Executive Director. "Like those who stood up for freedom at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, we will stand up for the freedom to serve. We need to tell President Obama that 265 is enough."

SLDN has been urging the president to speak up and send a bill (the Military Readiness Enhancement Act) to the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader that overturns DADT and replaces it with a policy of nondiscrimination. As long as the president remains silent on the repeal of DADT, men and women in the military will continue to be fired at a clip of two per day on average. The sense of urgency is palpable.

In this atmosphere of betrayal and cynical game playing, what can regular LGBTQ citizens do to register their displeasure?


Actually, there are a number of things.

First, tell every solicitor for contributions for the DNC or Congressional Democratic groups that unless and until Congress and Obama take substantive action, not one penny will be donated.

Second, contact your members of Congress and give them Hell.

Third, send your hard earned monetary contributions to other worthy recipients. Here in Virginia, for example, consider supporting Creigh Deeds so that Bob "Taliban Bob" McDonnell does not win the governorship come November. Or send your money to Jody Wagner, the Democrat nominee for Lieutenant Governor.

Fourth, donate funds to state LGBTQ equality organizations, rather than HRC and other national groups that care more about access to power than seeing that anything substantive is done.

Fifth, with the down economy, many HIV/AIDS charities are seriously hurting for money - send your hard earned dollars to them rather than the disingenuous DNC.

The bottom line is that the DNC, Congressional Democrats and Obama will not support us until we turn off the gay ATM that they love so much.

They need to get the message that we will not be played for suckers again.

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In addition, I think our LGBT rank and file needs to start connecting more directly with their Congressman and Senators. If you don't know the name of your Congressman's receptionist and legislative aide, find out.

The telephone number to call your Senators and Representatives is 202-224-3121. I have it as #5 on my speed dial.

I helped give Mike, my Congressman's intern this summer, some useful lessons in constituent relations.