Sunday, February 17, 2008

An Open Letter to Barack Obama

Senator Obama:

I am a Democratic voter who will soon go to the polls to cast my primary vote. I want to support you. I really do. But I can't. (Nor can I support your main opponent.) I've seen you speak, had chills from the power of your rhetoric, and responded to the power of your message. But as a citizen who is gay, I believe you take my vote for granted and count on self-hatred and the fear of a Republican government to get me to the polls. You leave me unable to give you full-throated support because I am one of the Americans who does not get that same support from you.

You say that you believe that gay couples in the United States are entitled to all the rights that heterosexual couples have, but that you believe that marriage is "between a man and woman." I have no idea what that means or how that makes sense to you. I don't know if you struggle with that or state it because you believe it's a political necessity to do so. But I do know that when you say it so unequivocally, it implies is that you believe that there are privileges awarded to some and beyond the reach of the few. It reinforces, for every gay-basher or homophobe who hears or reads your words, that they are right to think that gay couples are different, unworthy, separate.

And separate but equal is not a doctrine that has worked well for us in the past. Surely you can see the way that "marriage" holds a civil rights loophole: Housing available for "Married Couples Only." Rates for hotels and vacations just for "Married Couples." Businesses and Employers who don't discriminate based on sexual orientation—oh, no—they just have different policies that take into consideration the different needs of their married employees. By setting up marriage as something reserved for the heterosexual, you leave that privilege at the top of a mountain that only some can climb. You also make it possible for those at the top to kick rocks down on those who stand below.

Let me be clear: I, personally, have no real interest in marriage per se. It is not the civil rights hill I would have chosen to die on. But I do have an interest in public rhetoric that reinforces hierarchy and gives power to a majority at the expense of a minority. You want me to be grateful that you believe I'm equal while simultaneously proving that you do not think that is so. You want me to be so grateful that you will hand me something that I might not notice what you take away with the other hand. You want me to be so fearful that the other guy will be worse that I'll hand you my only bargaining chip, my vote. You want me to call on some hidden self-loathing, walk into a voting booth and pull the lever for the one who thinks it's ok to say I'm less. I can't do that. Not even for you and all your pretty speeches.


Blogger Tom Bozzo said...

This is a powerful post, and it's a good point that this useless pander does little to influence persuadable voters while hurting what should be a core Democratic constituency. I do wonder why it's addressed to Obama specifically. His positions, if anything, are a bit to the left of HRC's (see, e.g., the Washington Blade on HRC vs. Obama on repeal of the DOMA). That said, it does make *my* head hurt to imagine how you could be for repeal of DOMA and against same-sex "marriage," but I suppose the state of the art in Democratic strategery isn't up to what strikes me as a more logical position of civil-unionizing all "marriage" for civil rights purposes, and leaving religions to their own devices.

Also, fear of more Republican government is not at all without cause -- esp. Stevens, John Paul, age of).

11:19 AM  
Blogger Acre said...

Tom, it's addressed to Obama specifically because he's the candidate I most *want* to throw my support behind. I want him to be my candidate.

I agree with you completely about the obvious logical solution wrt marriage/civil unions.

And yes, the fear of a Republican government is strong. But I'm tired of both voting from fear and being expected to vote from fear. My own candidates shouldn't be using that fear against me.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

好秘书 中国呼吸网 肿瘤网 中国皮肤网 癌症康复网 工作总结 演讲稿 竞聘演讲 就职演讲 比赛演讲 征文演讲 节日演讲 演讲技巧 方案制度 工作意见 活动策划 工作方案 整改方案 实施方案 企划文案 销售方案 培训方案 应急预案 规章制度 法律法规 材料大全 事迹材料 先进事迹 个人事迹 申报材料 学习材料 考察材料 经验材料 交流材料 个人鉴定 自我鉴定 模板范例 技巧经验 工作计划 工作规划 年度工作计划 学校工作计划 个人工作计划 财务工作计划 团委工作计划 工会工作计划 单位工作计划 德育工作计划 教学工作计划 班主任工作计划 党支部工作计划 先教活动 整改措施 剖析材料 反腐倡廉 三农问题 和谐社会 三个代表 八荣八耻 先进性教育 党团工会 党团知识 党员相关 党会发言 党性分析材料 民主生活会 入党志愿书 入党申请书 入团申请书 转正申请书 公文写作 板报设计 办公表格 谈判技巧 外贸信函 公文 秘书 广告启事 通知 求职指导 求职信 自荐信 简历封面 简历模板 简历范文 简历制作 英文简历 面试技巧 学术论文 企业文化 毕业论文 经济工作 财经金融 城建环保 教育教学 工矿企业 党政司法 合同 合同知识 买卖合同 承包合同 投资合同 招标合同 建设工程 劳动合同 运输合同 房屋合同 借款合同 销售合同 租赁合同 保险合同 其它合同 秘书 述职报告 呼吸机 氧气机 决定不掉泪 一杯咖啡 最熟悉的陌生人

8:25 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home