Michael Hamar

A Pox on Both Political Parties: So Where Do We Go From Here?

Filed By Michael Hamar | September 22, 2010 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: Barack Obama, broken campaign promises, Congressional Democrats, DADT repeal, Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal, Glenn Nye, lies and liars

In the wake of yesterday's debacle on the defense authorization bill which included DADT repeal and the DREAM Act as amendments, like many others, I felt like vomiting.

The Democrats, naturally are saying it's all the GOP's fault. One Democratic blogger and paid cheerleader sent me a message that said in part "The problem is the GOP, end of story." That is certainly the message the Democratic Party establishment wants the LGBT and Hispanic communities to lap up like sheep or trained circus dogs. And if one looks solely at today's roll call, that ploy makes initial sense.

The cynic in me, however, tells me otherwise. Both political parties are all too happy keeping the status quo - regardless of the lip service the powers that be in the Democratic Party may say to the contrary.

Perhaps a better depiction of the situation would be to take the picture above and insert LGBT Americans on the receiving end under the Democratic Party donkey. Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin reflects some of my feelings on the matter:

This was never a serious attempt to pass legislation in the best interests of the American people. It was nothing but political theater, and everyone on both sides were eager actors in the drama. All the Senators had a role to play, and everyone played to the audience. Even the White House had a bit part. They issued a statement calling for an end to the fillibuster, but according to SLDN's Trevor Thomas, there was no lobbying behind the scenes.

And now that the vote was taken, the play moves on to its second act: everyone now gets to go home and use it on the campaign trail. Republicans, even those who support DADT's repeal, will be able to brag that they stood up to the evil Democratic machine. Democrats will be able to blame the evil Republican machine for blocking legislation that three-fourths of the American population agree on.

Yes, that's right. Yesterday played out exactly how the congressional democrats and the White House wanted it to. Now, they can use this vote to depict the GOP as the bogey man yet again and try to wring votes - and more importantly, money - from LGBT citizens and Hispanic voters. They killed two birds with one stone if you will.

So where does the LGBT community go from here? As one well know blogger queried earlier, do we have any long term plan as a community? I suspect the true answer is no, we do not. I likewise suspect that the Democratic Party establishment hopes that we're as dumb as they hope/think we are and that as a community we continue doing exactly what we've been doing: sending votes and money to Democrats and buying the story line that they are our champions.

The problem is that the approach that the Democrats hope we resume clearly has gotten us nowhere. If there was any doubt of this reality, the last 18 months have demonstrated that the Democrats really have no desire to repeal DADT, repeal DOMA (even the new DNC website seems to confirm this) or pass ENDA. With 60 votes in the Senate for much of 2009, a majority in the House of Representatives, control of the White House, and polls showing around 75% of Americans supporting DADT repeal, nothing was accomplished. Nothing!

Frankly, given the desire of the Democrat establishment to keep the LGBT community as the party's serfs for the foreseeable future, I believe that as a community we may be far better off diverting moneys now going to the Democrats and groups like HRC - which time and time again has given political cover to the White House - to groups that are willing to litigate for our rights. Sadly, it's in the courts where there are rules of evidence and set burdens of proof where we prevail.

Among the Congressional Democrats - and I include Barack Obama in this category as well - they simply don't give a damn whether or not LGBT Americans ever see full legal equality under the nation's laws. Oh, they will make pretty speeches and pretend to be sincere, but it's really all about keeping gays subservient to the Democratic Party and keeping the money flowing.

My Glenn Nye yard sign is now in the trash can, the event the boyfriend and I were to host on Sunday is canceled, and I am debating resigning as a LGBT liaison to the Democratic Party of Virginia.

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" . . . I believe that as a community we may be far better off diverting moneys now going to the Democrats and groups like HRC - which time and time again has given political cover to the White House - to groups that are willing to litigate for our rights. Sadly, it's in the courts where there are rules of evidence and set burdens of proof where we prevail. . ."

Memo to HRC (and the rest of us for that matter)

Engage your legendary lobbying efforts (and budget) to create, and lavish extravagantly, a legal dream team that will execute a simultaneous multi-pronged attach on the courts across the country. Such a team shall be led and directed by Ted Olson and David Boies.

It’s fair to say that HRC’s efforts to lobby its “allies" in the democratic party have not worked out so well, yes? Perhaps now it’s time to spend some money where it will perhaps yield enduring results??

That’s of course assuming that HRC really wants to do right by the LGBT community at all.

That would be "Attack" as in . . . You Want a Culture War, We'll Damn Well Give You One.

Let me add preemptively . . . Andrew - shut up

You can waste your time lobbying your friends and neighbors for tolerance. To those who council patience . . . patience my ass - I wanna see the rightwing
(c)hristian wingnuts sued into oblivion.

Please read slower. I didn't say anything about "tolerance" or "patience."

Good luck suing Jesus.

"With 60 votes in the Senate for much of 2009, a majority in the House of Representatives, control of the White House, and polls showing around 75% of Americans supporting DADT repeal, nothing was accomplished. Nothing!"

LGBT-issues have never had 60 votes in the US Senate.

Please stop with the juvenile quoting of national polls - in the US Senate it matters what people think in THEIR STATE.

Maybe the LGBT Community is finally waking up - you are correct we don't have a "long-term plan" and we don't even have a short term plan.

We've wasted a lot of time, money and energy falsely believing that lobbying (HRC), protesting (GetEQUAL) or calling, faxing and emailing politicians had any value - it doesn't.

Not a single vote changed in the US Senate during the last two years - not one. There was no "pressure" put on anyone and nobody paid any attention to "demands," no matter how good the street theater stunt.

Politicians base their beliefs/vote about LGBT issues on two things: the majority beliefs of their constituents and their own religious beliefs. Nothing else matters.

Hopefully, this latest let down and the massacre coming in November will inspire us to take a real, honest and objective look at our tactics, methods and strategies. Hopefully we'll embrace accountability and adopt a strategy to WIN, not to simply "fight" or continue to fund non-profits that are more concerned with fundraising than finishing.

Enough is enough.

Michael, I like the new seal for the Republican Party ... but the Donkey should be on its back, yelling, "Oh yeah! Harder! Harder! Harder! ..."

Stop debating, Michael, just resign.

Remember "Yes, we can." (1)

The Democrats can escalate war, bailout the rich, impose austerity or workers and the poor, refuse to build a green economy, sit on their asses while the environment is permanently degraded, refuse health care to imported workers, deny federal funding for abortions, support FISA and the Paytriot Act, kidnap, torture and murder political and military prisoners and defend DADT and DOMA in court.

The Democrats can't pass ENDA, repeal DADT and DOMA, repeal NAFTA, reregulate predatory banks, give us decent health care, house the homeless or find green jobs for the 15 million long term unemployed or the additional underemployed and discouraged workers (2), regulate the energy industry, save the lives of GIs in harm's way to make the rich richer or stop their mass murder of civilians from Palestine to Pakistan.

(1)"¡SI, SE PUEDE!, a slogan stolen by Obama from the United Farmworkers to give the impression that he wasn't just another Republican in drag like Bill Clinton.

(2) http://portalseven.com/employment/unemployment_rate_u6.jsp

Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is a step forward in our struggle for equal rights. The complete silence from the White House is disturbing.

Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is a step forward in our struggle for equal rights. The complete silence from the White House is disturbing.

Since the Repubs are solidly against allowing service to our country with honor and integrity and the Dems so far can't even manage to vote themselves out of a box with a majority in the senate, I believe the federal courts will provide us the justice our great constitution affords us. Besides, congress has more important things to bicker over, like who's fault it is that our economy is still on the skid. No worries....

I whole heartedly agree that litigation is the way to go. The federal courts have begun to recognize that we don't have to
"sue Jesus", that we have a right and a rationale to sue our government for systematically disenfranchising us from our US constitution.

Michael- I really admire your passion for our causes and the work you do for them. I also agree that you should resign from anything Democrat party related. I will not vote for Republicans, except maybe Fred Karger, and I am not willing like some I know to be blindly willing to stick by the Democrat party as if they have really done much of anything for us. To attend their cocktail parties and help raise money or donate money to them is a waste. I will only support candidates who support us and mean it and groups that do so but certainly not the DNC in any shape or form. Plus to me it has been obvious for over a year that Obama is a liar playing games and stringing us along. I had one person I know get angry at me for demanding Obama do somethign to end the discharges and was told he has only been in office for six months so be patient. How long are we supposed to be patient with this liar?

genderqueer riff raff | September 23, 2010 8:54 AM

WE need to focus on lawsuits and getting the Helms amendment repealed as unconstitutional and the Civil Rights Act of 64 expanded to include Gender Expression (ID) and sexual orientation. The religious intolernce is systematic and demonstrable. Both Parties will promise us everything and continue to exploit us as a wedge issue, just like they do reproductive rights - its a cash cow.

For the record, I have decided to resign all affiliations with the Democrats and have e-mailed the 1st Vice President of the Democratic Party of Virginia to that effect, I will be doing a formal resignation letter to the DPV explaining my reasons in detail that I will post here at a later date.

Rev. Tara Lee | September 23, 2010 10:09 AM

I too have resigned from the democratic party. I was the female coordinator for the NCFLorida district of the Florida GLBT democratic caucus. I got tired do to the sellouts on corporatate bailouts, the wars, GLBTQ issues and health care sellout.

I have been saying for years that our only hope is through the courts. The Florida adoption case where the courts so far have said the ban on gay adaption is unconstitutional, The Prop 8 law suit, the suit in Mass. overturning DOMA and the court case that just overturned DA,DT further reaffirms our only hope is throught he courts.

In this situation we must remember cases like Brown Vs. Board of Ed, Topeka and the Loving Case. These 2 cases ended segregation and ruled interracial marriage bans unconstitutional. Give to fund actual lawsuits. Forget the Dems and the Repukes. Both are so owned by the corporate interests whose existance relies on maintaining the status quo. The courts are our salvation, our promised land!!!!

Couldn't agree with you more! I changed my party from Democrat to Independant several years ago.
This DADT disaster shows a total lack of leadership within the Democratic Party. The really disturbing thing is that there is no outrage coming from the White House of Democratic Congress. No Passion for GLBT issues.
Our politicians are bought and sold by big business and until we have campaign finance reform nothing will change.

Nye has been continuously supportive of LGBTQ issues- he voted FOR the repeal in the House. He could not obviously vote either way in the Senate. If that is the ONLY reason you are taking down his sign, that seems silly. Perhaps put the sign back up, or find some other reasons to dislike him.

I am well aware of Glenn Nye's voting record on DADT. And actually, I do have other issues with him as explained in this post on my personal blog, Michael-in-Norfolk: http://michael-in-norfolk.blogspot.com/2010/09/glenn-nye-campaign-study-in-arrogance.html

Moreover, as long as we do not hold the Democratic Party as a whole - and that means EVERY elected Democrat, individually and collectively - responsible for the massive failures on LGBT issues, NOTHING is going to change.

Yes, this seems harsh on individual Democrats, but the party as a whole - and this means from Obama on down - needs to know that they ALL of them will bear a price for continued failures and betrayals.

I suspect that if enough members of the House and Senate had raised Hell with Obama out of fear for their own butts, he might have gotten off his ass and shown some leadership.

DADT repeal is a moral issue for those that voted against the charade-Repeal. Nobody can put any "pressure" on anyone when it a moral belief.

The Democrats have a few very religious, very conservative members that will NEVER vote to support LGBT-issues.

It's childish to believe people can pressure, influence, threaten or embarrass a US Senator to change their mind/vote. Only polling data can do that (SEE Arkansas).

This phony repeal never had a chance in the US Senate. None. It's all been a game. Soon, Gay Inc. and the Democrats will be suggesting "we were so close, please send money." We weren't close.

Thank you, Renee, for the preemptive --
"Andrew - shut up"

I guess some bigotry is Politically Correct.

In a 2006 time magazine poll 64% of Americans said that even if science could disprove the existence of god they would continue to believe. 46% said that they didn't believe in evolution. I believe if that poll was repeated today those numbers would be even higher.I see that as being caused by two things.First Bill Clinton started Faith Based Initiative's to prevent further erosion of religious beliefs in America. Secondly they are the backlash of coming to far to quickly for most peoples comfort level.This is what we are up against.
We must become more careful and deliberate in how we approach things.With respect to religion I believe we should approach it with kid gloves. Point out it's slow acceptance of new concepts and facts. Point out that we suffer not because of god but because of how people interpret god at least in this life, god is the only one who can decide after this life. To deal with the backlash we must fight the idea that people are forced to accept us. We must show them ways to accept us and be patient in allowing them to come to the conclusion they accept us because it's the right thing to do.
I agree with using the courts instead of seeking legislation.By winning in court we establish the precedent that discriminating against us is wrong.I agree with Andrew W that we should be reaching out to friends and neighbors. But again we must be patient and allow them the time to overcome their prejudices.Change takes times and if we make the wrong moves it's going to take that much longer to get where we want to be.

Many people believe in the "idea" of God because they want to. That doesn't make them rabid, fanatical Christians. Those people make up less than one-third of Americans and their numbers are declining.

Check out Gallup Polling data and Pew research. You will see religion is changing and declining. The sky isn't falling - it's opening.

Whatever your anger may be, don't express it by boycotting the election. Staying home is the lazy way out. If the Republican in your district is a terrible alternative that you can't stomach, then vote for a 3rd-party candidate, cast a write-in vote or cast a blank ballot (a little known option for making a protest vote). Research the candidates and their platforms before Election Day, which may require a few hours on the Internet, because the mainstream media never cover the "footnote" candidates. An 80 percent turnout with 10 or 20 percent of the vote going outside the 2-party structure would truly shake up the major parties and perhaps be the catalyst for a progressive challenge to Obama in the 2012 primaries.

Nobody's vote counts in a banana republic poorly disguised as a democracy.

In 2008 Obama got a bit over 1/3 of the vote, McCain a bit less than 1/3 and the remaining 1/3 declined to participate in the two party shell game. That final 1/3 will be close to 1/2 this November insuring the defeat of the Democrats. Their capitulation to the demands of the rich to get richer at the expense or working people is one of the reasons they'll get clobbered in November.

They deserve to lose.

They and their Republican friends are responsible for mass unemployment, homelessness, poverty, a killer health care catastrophe and the deaths of thousands of GIs and well over a million civilians in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan and the refusal to pass ENDA and repeal Clinton's DADT and DOMA.

Democrat candidates - all of them - are Republicans in drag.

On Tuesday November 2nd, 2010 and November 4th, 2012 vote socialist, write in Sojourner Truth, Malcolm X or Big Bill Heywood or just sit it out (unless there are referenda you think important).

Free Clue "There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party...and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—until recently... and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties..." Gore Vidal