Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ANOTHER Name for Obama?

How About

"He Who Is Jack of All Issues But Master of None" or... "He Who Is Still Timid On Gay Issues?" or... "He Who Will Not Be A Diplomatic Dimwit?" or... "He Who Will be More Like A Kennedy Than A Clinton?"

I just read this:

Obama Gets New Name
by The Associated Press

Posted: May 20, 2008 - 1:00 pm ET

(Crow Agency, Montana) Democrat Barack Obama got a brand-new name as he courted native Americans in the West.

The presidential candidate was adopted as an honorary member of the Crow nation, and given a name that translates as "One who helps people throughout the land."

"What an enormous honor this is," said Obama, occasionally stumbling to pronounce the complex native American names.

Yes, it IS a great honor to be adopted by a Native American tribe. There are so few of them, however, that adoption is the only way to go these days. The article talks about Barack Obama "courting" Native Americans. Politicians "court" while good leaders listen to what the people have to say. Has Obama been listening?

He definitely has listened to what critics have to say, because he has had to fend them off as deftly as possible. The bruhaha raised concerning his statement about meeting with enemies really did get his attention and, I will have to admit, he answered it wisely:

"Here's the truth: the Soviet Union had thousands of nuclear weapons, and Iran doesn't have a single one. But when the world was on the brink of nuclear holocaust, Kennedy talked to Khrushchev and he got those missiles out of Cuba. Why shouldn't we have the same courage and the confidence to talk to our enemies? That's what strong countries do, that's what strong presidents do, that's what I'll do when I'm president of the United States of America." -

But has he listened to the gay community? Here's what he said in February in a letter:
Feb. 28, 2008

"And as president, I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The letter goes on to say that if elected president he would use the bully pulpit "to urge states to
treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws."

But he also said "I personally believe that civil unions represent the best way to secure that equal treatment."

I think he's faultering there. He gets marks for listening on ENDA and adoption, but not on the issue of civil unions. "The bully pulpit" will definitely not include talking to the other pulpits throughout the country about same-sex marriage. He might be a very good diplomat, but it will take more than diplomacy to right the "right" when it comes to equality for the LGBT community in that respect.

Today, I've just learned that the latest numbers reveal a 24% increase in gay bashings in the year 2007.


Will he remember that if he gets the nomination? Of course, he still has the race issue to contend with in his campaign and I can almost forgive a politician's ADD when it comes to something as heated as race: polls in Kentucky and West Virginia indicate that many voters refuse to vote for a black man and will vote for anyone else if forced to choose - or they won't vote at all.

Another Name? How about "He Who Still Has A Ways To Go"?

A personal word on gay rights.

May 21st mark the 29th anniversary of San Francisco's White Night Riots - the result of former City supervisor Dan White receiving only a six year sentence for killing gay supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone.

I was at the riots, both at the Civic Center and at the Castro. You've never lived until you've had 50 riot-helmeted policemen approaching you in a phalanx. While cop cars were burning at the Civic Center, police were indiscriminately bashing heads along Castro Street. I happened to be in a bar called The Midnight Sun. It was safe: no windows and a steel door. Someone trying to get from their motorcycle to the safety of the Sun was pounding on the door. We cracked open the door and yanked his bloody figure inside. We heard glass being smashed. Later, we found out it was a group of police crashing through the glass doors of the corner bar, Elephant Walk. One policeman went behind the bar and beat the bartender senseless. He was in a coma for months.

This is obviously not something to celebrate. But it is a time for reflection: there are many people who possess such homophobia, that they would do anything to hurt gays. Some of the pictures below are evidence. This world hasn't changed as much as many people would think.

And some people think that's a good thing.

Gay men being executed in Iran

A picture of broken ribs after a gay bashing