The tubes have been clogged the past few days with a couple of very important issues. One is the turmoil after the Iranian "election," and the other is President Obama's continued refusal to take a bold stand in defense of GLBT rights.
We all think the Iranian election was stolen. Millions of Iranians have taken to the streets, to protest. The future of Iran's theocratic leadership now seems tenuous. If there is no radical change, in Iran, it may be because there will be a radical crackdown. It is an historic moment.
Back at home, we once again have an intelligent, talented, and generally progressive president. But he has disappointed many of us with his compromises. Many of us feel that he should act as if he won a big election. Because he did. Many of us feel like he should act as if he were enormously popular. Because he is. Many of us think he should act as if the Republicans are deeply unpopular. Because they are. Many of us think he should use his enormous political talents to sell controversial policies to a divided public. Or on some issues, such as the public option, simply pursue a policy on which the public already is very much sold.
I've seen a lot of criticism, these past few days, directed at the GLBT community and their supporters, because they refuse to be patient as the president kicks DADT down the road, extends federal benefits without extending the most important benefits, and talks about repealing DOMA without actually doing anything about it. Many still don't understand why he didn't take a very public stand against California's Proposition 8, as Presidents Carter and Ford both did, a generation ago, against Proposition 6. Some wonder why he has been inclusive of bigots like Donnie McClurkin and Rick Warren. Would those who have defended the president feel the same if he were inclusive of bigots like David Duke and Tom Metzger? Granted, it's a moot point. Which is exactly the point.
But some seem to think that the GLBT community should just be patient. Good things will happen. Eventually. All evidence to the contrary. Just wait. You'll see. Just because we finally have a president who generally has his head and his heart in the right place doesn't mean we should pressure him, or be upset with him when he doesn't come through. Patience. If not this lifetime, maybe the next. Right?
So, I'm thinking about Iran. How many of you are full-throated supporters of the possible revolution in Iran? How many of you agree that the Iranian people have had enough, and that it's time for them to have their political and legal rights? Now, try to imagine what it's like being GLBT, in America. Try to imagine what it's like not being able to marry the adult with whom you share a mutual love. Try to imagine what it's like to not be able to share your medical benefits with that person. Try to imagine what it's like not to be able to share retirement benefits with that person. Try to imagine what it's like to live every day of your life as a second class citizen, and to have an intelligent, compassionate, and enormously popular president who is not making serious efforts to give you the same basic rights shared by everyone else. Look at the pictures of the protests, in Iran. That's what's going on inside every one of these hurt and angry members of the GLBT community.
Update [2009-6-18 18:53:30 by Turkana]: In the comments, pico writes:
Might I recommend people contacting their Congressional representatives to support the passage of the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act - aka - Lieberman/Collins in the Senate - aka - Baldwin/Ros-Lehtinen in the House? It's only a stopgap measure until DOMA is repealed, but it's a valuable piece of legislation guaranteeing federal employees in same-sex relationships all the benefits that married couples have.
(It also puts Congress on a collision course with DOMA, which is exactly what we want.)