Kip Williams

Sarah Palin wants YOU to point fingers and shut up

Filed By Kip Williams | February 08, 2010 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: Barack Obama, Congress, Sarah Palin

I just watched Sarah Palin's speech to Tea Party Nation on MSNBC. She is a used car saleswoman. A deceiver. And she doesn't care about people of color or queer folk, poverty or children in jail. Her message is self-serving and mean-spirited even tho she wears a smile on her face. She makes fun of her opponents, and acts like she's just being folksy. She doesn't once mention bailing out bank execs or selling out healthcare reform to insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry. But she reminds us over and over to be afraid of terrorists and to strive for upward mobility. She deflects all blame from our broken Congress, and places it squarely on Obama's shoulders.

The racist and small-minded teabaggers applaud and catcall, and the media goes wild. Sarah Palin just might win the White House in 2012.

We LGBTQ folks and our allies are rightfully angry at the lack of action for civil rights since Obama took office last January, but our critiques lack analysis, and we have yet to really do anything more than talk. This video from Lawrence Lessig and put some things in perspective for me.

Key excerpt:

On every front, Obama has tried to enact the substantive changes that he promised, but on every front he has been stymied. Why? Well some say the problem is the Republicans - that they've become too extreme, that they're unwilling to compromise, that they're abusing the privileges of the filibuster, that they care only about partisan gain and not about America.

That view, in my view, is hopelessly naïve. Republicans of course have different views about what's good for America, but the problem of America is not the problem of different views. And it's not the problem of just one party. After all, the Democrats have a supermajority in Congress. Nothing gets done - or nothing gets NOT done - without them as well.

The problem isn't Republicans, the problem isn't Democrats; the problem is what both parties have allowed Congress to become. Our Congress has become the fundraising Congress. Members are obsessed with raising the money they or their party needs to get re-elected. They openly, and routinely, and grotesquely take piles of money from the interests they regulate, producing a Congress that seems not to care a squat about what makes sense - instead, only what raises campaign dollars.

Of course, Lessig doesn't make one mention of LGBTQ folk, or of civil rights. We're not counted among his list of of "substantive changes that [Obama] promised," and President Obama certainly has not been the "fierce advocate for equality" he declared himself. But there is a deeper point here that all of us should be concerned about: Congress is not a political entity that debates serious ideas and serves the people; it is a tool that corporate money and special interests use to steal money, resources, labor, and power from the people. At the end of the day, it's the banks, the insurance companies, and the pharmaceutical industry that have won big over the last year - not the Republicans or the Democrats, and certainly not the People.

Indeed, we should ratchet up the pressure on Obama and Congress. There are real steps that Obama could take to show decisive leadership. For example, he could issue a moratorium on Don't Ask, Don't Tell right now to show us that he's got our backs, but he hasn't even done that yet. So let's give 'em all hell. It's not enough to "Talk, Write, and Meet," as my friend Rea Carey of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force called us to do in Dallas last weekend. It's also not enough to withhold money from candidates or from the DNC. We should do all those things, but we've also got to hit the streets, take risks, disrupt business as usual, and break the rules if we want to make change.

Let's stop lamenting that President Obama has failed us. It's harder to hold everyone accountable than it is to target him with our frustration, but we can't take the easy road if we want to win. Let's also get over the idea that simply boycotting the DNC or punishing specific legislators will get them in line. While turning up the real pressure on our electeds, let's fix our broken Congress and restore trust in our government. Then we'll have space for a legitimate political debate among liberals, conservatives, progressives, independents, and everyone else.

Our problem got much worse a couple weeks ago when the Supreme Court took a bold step to abolish democracy in Citizens United. Corporate personhood?! At this rate, corporations will be able to marry before same-sex couples! But out of the ashes from that disaster, Lawrence Lessig and our friends at are building momentum for a two-part solution:

  1. Get Congress to pass the Fair Elections Now Act.
  2. Call a Constitutional Convention.

You can learn more and get involved at both and

If we don't want Sarah Palin's faux populism and her thinly veiled facade of a White Supremacist movement to take power in 2012, we have work to do. Let's turn up the heat without calling President Obama a failure and placing blame squarely on his shoulders, and let's provide him some cover from the Left when he does lead. Let's speak the truth, take risks, and break rules. And let's fix Congress so that when we win the White House again in 2012, our Congress is accountable to us.

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Well, then the blue northeast can secede just as the south always threatens to and we can join Canada or the UK. I still kknow the words to God Save The Queen

John Maddox | February 8, 2010 8:25 PM

But Obama has failed. He certainly shares SOME of the blame for driving Democrats to voting for Republicans. We can, and we MUST, be able to criticize both Palin AND Obama. Frankly, neither one of them gives a shit about lgbt people. I really hate this Democratic Party propaganda bullshit where Democratic Party operatives are sent out to point fingers at the crazy Republicans so as to deflect criticism from the most powerful man in the world, Barack Obama. Obama has the power to meet all of our demands RIGHT NOW. He chooses not to for a reason and instead he chooses to send his pink brigade of queer defenders to kill the movement. LGBT people who defend Obama right now and point fingers at the right wingers are repeating the same fucking mistakes the movement made during the Clinton admnistration. If you guys refuse to learn from history, that's fine. But when you become an obstacle to MY equality, you are not a member of the lgbt movement, you are a propagandist and apologist for the Democratic Party.

Scott Murray | February 8, 2010 8:31 PM

"Congress is not a political entity that debates serious ideas and serves the people; it is a tool that corporate money and special interests use to steal money, resources, labor, and power from the people."

Um, aren't you also describing the president?

Um, Wall Street donated more money to Obama than to Hillary or any Republican candidate. And guess who got Obama's attention as soon as he became president.

Obama invited the health insurance industry to write his "health care reform" legislation just like Bush invited Big Oil to write his energy policy.

Sounds to me like someone's been bought off by the Obama campaign. How much do you get paid to do PR for Obama, Kip?

Your political naivete is offensive and harmful to the lives and health of lgbt people.

Silly Sarah will never get my vote for president.Now the Fair Elction Act you speak of is unknown to me if by this you mean one person one vote and a candidate can cherry pick which state ballots they want to be on no thank you.One person one vote and your candiates name on each ballot yes then I would agree with that.

A new convention ?????? What pandoras box are you wanting to open that up to? The first one was hard enough to write and repalce the Articals of Confedration with but a new one it would be teabagger heaven! Yes all would have to send delagates not just from liberal states but conservative ones to so becareful what you daydream of or would that be a nightmare?

I honestly plan to move to Europe if she is ever elected. I'm stunned that everyone can't see right through her. Stunned.

Obama? We're all angry with him? Not me. Rome wasn't built in a day. He's moving in our direction. It's only been one year. Why so impatient....sheesh.

She's dumber than a run over rabbit...
Okay I got that out of my system.

As for Obama and LGBT issues, they moved slowly and deliberately on removing the HIV Travel Ban "to keep the possibilities of legal challenge low." So far so good. I suspect the same thing is happening with other issues, including DADT.

But I find it incredibly ironic that Sarah Palin could even use the word naive about anyone else- she's dumber'n a bag of hammers. Oops. Thought it was out of my system....

sarahallison48 | February 9, 2010 2:33 AM

Personally, I believe this falls squarely on our shoulders. If we have our lobbyists do their job in Washington, our collective voice might be heard. It is naive to believe that a president can change a nation with a democratic system that is built upon money, not people. If the people, (us LGBTIQ)used our dollars in places where the business supports us 100%, like health care for our partners or spouses, or death benefits ,we might make an impact. Money is where it is at, as it was pointed out earlier, and we need our national interests be heard as one, not many separate issues, but one collective LGBTIQ voice.
Maybe what we need is a Million LGBTIQ March on Washington, that is if we have enough who are willing to stand up and be counted.
What we need is power, and without that power, we will get nowhere, no matter who is in any office. A show of force is required to get power, and we have no show of force, if my workplace is a cross-section of the good ol' USA, then I believe we can do it.
Sarah Robinson
From the land of 1000 Churches

To Sarahallison:

Rep Frank has been clear that congress just gets annoyed with LGBT protests like the march a few months ago...

Of course , now he says that we didn't work hard enough and we are I dont know if a march would work or not....Barney has me confused,

(this is not pointed at anyone commenting here, simply this seems like a good blog to make this comment on): I propose that we begin bitching and pointing fingers at each other now, about the outcome of the November elections of officials and Propositions. Why waste time when the 'armchair advocates' will tell you the root cause of everything, once they have finished watching the current episode of 'Glee.' Sad that the one's bitching, are the ones not involved.

sarahallison48 | February 9, 2010 12:35 PM

Well it is pointed at someone... Anyways, you are right sitting in our chairs will not solve the problems we face, and neither will finger pointing. It is said "the squeaky wheel gets the grease", lets be that squeaky wheel.
We need to do this now! There is no time to waste. The disenfranchised hard-liner republicans will get their places back in quickly, because the general public is not happy with our current dems who said they would fix everything. We need our collective voices heard on all our issues, not just one, all of them.
It's like they throw us a bone, "oh look, he wants to repeal DADT policy". Don't get me wrong, its a start, but the rep are not going to let that happen. I hope it does, but if they do, are more of us going to get killed by friendly fire? Sometimes, the benefit may outweigh the damage.

I wonder what the connection between the big money donating industries and LGBT rights is. What industry is working against LGBT civil rights legislation?

There may not be an industry working against LGBTQ civil rights, but the deeper point is that we don't have a Congress that has to be accountable to the people on this (or ANY) issue. Congress isn't against us on this issue; they just don't care about it to begin with. We're not a priority because Wall Street runs the show, and they set the agenda.

I personally do not think they care to advance LGBTQ rights. As I have said several times and at the risk at being repetitive, what is the advantage of them passing anything for the LGBTQ community? They only risk further alienating the ultra right that is currently the base Palin courts more than ever. Of course the other point is the fact if they do manage to pass it all, ENDA, remove DADT, and DOMA what do they have to pull the LGBTQ Community toward them for money the next election? As long as they have us believing the next time around will be when they will get the job done, they keep us coming back. There is one really valid point in all this and that is money. It keeps the Republicans doing what they do to keep the Ultra Right in their camp, and what the Democrats giving us the line of BS they do about caring about our rights. They only care about money and retaining their grip on playing at politics.

Term Limits. We need term limits - so that the politically entrenched are unhinged after 12 years (Senate - 2 terms), and 10 years (House - 5 terms). Not only will the old guard loose its garrison, but their staffers who really hold most of the power - will move on to greener pastures. But to make sure that pasture is not too "green" ($$$), there should be a 5 year ban on lobbying or government appointments for all former gov't employees or elected officials. Only then will we start to see government for and BY the people again.


The President only gets 8 years! And for the same reasons...