The Queer Problem

Seriously, THIS, and not just because she’s the boss lady:

You had it, and we worked hard to give it to you, and we see you calling things impossible which are just very hard, and we get fucking annoyed, because we don’t get to get away with that shit. Not at our jobs and not in our lives.

We’ve all of us been running some variant of that loop the last few weeks, and we all will probably continue to, and weshould.

But the loop in my head goes off into my own personal cul-de-sac, and I get that it’s at the very least not just a bit selfish, not to mention somewhat counter-productive, even downright presumptuous, but here in my private angry cul-de-sac, it’s just me and the President. More specifically, me and the President and his Queer Problem.

Because whether anyone else thinks it’s right or not, whether it’s rational or not, in my heart, I hold Barack Obama personally responsible for letting us down. Letting us down about same sex marriage, about DADT, about ENDA. I hold Barack Obama personally responsible for choosing cynicism and expediency over principle on these issues that for me and mine, are profoundly central to lives, not to mention our experience as engaged citizens.

Because yes, we needed strategy and a coalition and policy prowess, but even more we needed a champion, we needed the personal political authority and leverage that only a POTUS can bring. And our POTUS has a Queer Problem. I’m not saying he is homophobic, nor do I actually think that, but I am saying he simply doesn’t seem to believe gay rights are human rights.

I think part of this is owning up to just how invested I was with my queer expectations, about my hopes for this charismatic, principled candidate to address some redress, to be a champion. I mean, what’s more “hopey-changey” than righting wrongs, ensuring basic human rights?

The sand started trickling out on those expectations pretty early on. As the midterms came on, I knew I would vote no matter what. It’s a personal choice and my ingrained choice isalways going to be to vote, but this year I couldn’t condemn the many pissed offGLBTQs who abstained. I still completely disagree with the political efficacy of their choice, but goddamn I do feel the rage, and goddamn I did struggle against that anger even as I pulled into the parking lot at my polling place yesterday.

Because Barack Obama has a Queer Problem.

He doesn’t seem to think the despair and despondency of our GLBTQ youth is an emergency. Oh sure, he made an It Gets Better video.AFTER everyone else and their dog did.

Sure he’s spoken out in favor of repeal of DADT but seems incapable of understanding the whole “fierce urgency of now” with respect to the hundreds of ruined military careers of gays and lesbians who continue to volunteer to put their lives on the line.

He has spoken in favor of a trans-inclusive ENDA, he’s appointed a lesbian to the EEOC but tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, queers can still get fired for being queer in 28 states, and in 38 states, it’s still legal to fire someone on the basis of gender identity. In 2010. It’s still legal to discriminate in the country you lead in 2010, Mr. President.

Last week, the POTUShinted to some DFH bloggers that he actually thinks about same-sex marriage, that his “attitude” has evolved. This from the man who thought it was okay to make the distinction that “God is in the mix” only when heteros stand up in front of their friends and family and commit themselves to each other. Some people considered it an optimistic signa but the first thing I did was look at the calendar and count back from Nov. 3. But hey don’t worry, Mr. Obama, you’ve got time. After all, Dick Cheney will likely die pretty soon so people will probably stop pointing out how he’s more progressive than you about the queers getting hitched.

On a related note, it’s flat out presumptuous of me to assume to know what someone born in an interracial family believes or thinks about marriage. I do get that, but I still wonder why, if Mildred Loving herself can say

“I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people civil rights”

that Mr. Obama does not make a similar personal connection and having made that connection, publicly bring his personal understanding to bear on the issue of marriage freedom, similar to the way he often spoke so eloquently about how his mother’s experience as a cancer patient influenced his advocacy for healthcare reform. My guess, again cynical, is that even if he does have personal insight about the freedom to marry based on his family’s experience, to speak about it publicly might pose the additional political risk of emphasizing his “foreign-ness.”

Barack Obama has a Queer Problem. Sure, he’s said a lot of positive supportive stuff and made some key appointments and theHRC thinks he’s superswell, but when it comes down to it, time and again, over and over, the POTUS has simply failed to prioritize gay rights as human rights, failed to afford them that urgency, or any urgency at all.

As a result, as these midterms will certainly underscore, from here on out the queers officially have an Obama Problem.

14 thoughts on “The Queer Problem

  1. Fortunately, he’s got two years to fix things, in between dodging subpoenas and special prosecutors now that there’s a few new sheriffs in town.
    Unless the Log Cabin Republicans do it for him.

  2. Ya know I felt uncomfortable pulling into the polling place as well and this post expresses that in part. Thanks Virgo
    The other part is expressed below by A.
    As I left the parking lot I thought…they just didn’t DESERVE my vote. But I had to vote because at least Russ deserved it

  3. thanks scout. I told myself Lloyd Doggett deserved it (and he won) and the two progressives running for the Tx school board deserved it. They ran their damn hearts out but both went down.

  4. Here in Iowa, at least there were 3 judges whom deserved my vote. Shitastic load of good it did them.

  5. I gave up on Obama when he kissed the ass of that scumbag Donnie McClurkin and then acted shocked! shocked I tell you! that anyone had a problem with him palling around with a homophobic closet case. He’s not a friend of gays & lesbians except in the most abstract “Well, OK, they don’t deserve to have their heads beaten in” kind of way and I really hope someone challenges him in 2012, I’d love to vote him out of office.

  6. “…and I really hope someone challenges him in 2012, I’d love to vote him out of office.”
    Yes, I’m sure you’ll fare much better under President Palin.

  7. Dear Democrats: don’t call me on the phone and tell me you need a filibuster proof majority, then when you get to D.C. start talking about bipartisanship. You got your bipartisanship right now. How’s that workin’ for ya?
    The good news is that we cleared out a bunch of Blue Dogs. This is great news. We need to clear out more. Got my eye on a few in the Senate: Ben Nelson comes to mind. These are the people who made real leadership impossible. When Dems said “bipartisanship,” I suspect they really meant with their own party. Sheesh. Good riddance.
    We’ve got a good rebuilding place.

  8. I have in no way shape or form “given up” on the President, nor do I regret voting for him. I think the Dems have accomplished some serious policy building that will have lasting effects.
    But he has in no way shape or form distinguished himself wrt to gay rights, he’s demonstrated being risk averse wrt to gay rights to a degree approaching cowardice, and he hasn’t got a leg to stand YET in making a legacy for himself on those issues.
    The president, the congress, any dem in public office- they aren’t Tinkerbell, people. We get to criticize them. We SHOULD criticize them when they earn it. Doing so, even loudly and in public, costs us far less than silent unswerving loyalty to deeply flawed entrenched public servants who’ve locked their balls away in a safe somewhere.
    And Southern, I completely agree some Dems should get the boot. But I disagree that good leadership was made impossible by those people. Good leadership is only impossible when the leaders cave and surrender and fall back on excuses. Sometimes a good leader is a good leader even when they fail to succeed. We had some rotten Dems that made things tough for everyone but we too often had sadly spotty leadership at all levels. And yes, I’d put the Sainted Nancy Pelosi on the spotty list.

  9. Yes, I’m sure you’ll fare much better under President Palin.

    You know that’s not what I meant, so why type that bullshit? Palin isn’t going to get elected, she’s polling WORSE THAN BP, she’s a non-factor, quit using her as a scare tactic. What I meant, obviously, is someone challenging him in the Democratic primaries, I’m sick of this “no challenges to incumbents” nonsense.
    I think he’s been utterly mediocre and not just on GLBT issues, but security and civil rights issues that Glenn Greenwald writes about and so many other things. He’s going to be horrible because he’s STILL saying “Can’t we all just get along” bullshit! When is it going to sink in to his fat head that he’s the President and that he can FORCE people to do things or he’ll cut their metaphorical balls off, exile them to the US political equivalent of Siberia? Oh, wait…let’s talk about it some more and come to a *sneer* consensus *sneer* instead.
    I don’t vote for a person to be President because I want a daddy surrogate or because I want to have a beer with ’em or because I want the secular version of a religious experience, I vote for them to destroy the Republican Party, leave it a smoldering ruin. I’ve voted (D) for close to 40 years because I have no choice (I’ll never vote R), and I’m STILL waiting for them to punch the Republicans in the throat and then kick ’em some more while they’re writhing on the ground.
    Instead, the second any Dem gets blowback, they cave like a house of cards and whine “Stop hitting me! I’ll do what you want, just don’t say mean things about me!!!”, it’s sickening. After 2008 he could have made the Republican brand toxic for 20 years but he punted. Even now the chowderhead has clearly heard Boner say “We’re not going to lift a finger to help him, we don’t care if he drives the country off a cliff, that’s a win-win for us” and what does he do? He talks about compromising with the Republicans. Pathetic, utterly pathetic.

  10. “You know that’s not what I meant, so why type that bullshit? Palin isn’t going to get elected, she’s polling WORSE THAN BP, she’s a non-factor, quit using her as a scare tactic. What I meant, obviously, is someone challenging him in the Democratic primaries, I’m sick of this “no challenges to incumbents” nonsense.”
    I understood *exactly* what you meant. You expect to challenge Obama from the left, have that person beat him, and then have that person win the general election.
    Only that person would *never* win the general election. And that is how you would end up with President Palin (or Romney, or Huckabee, or…)
    If you don’t understand that…

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