An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Harvey Milk’

The Battle For Gay Marriage

It’s interesting to watch the Democrats react to the growing civil rights battle that is happening in this country.  It is interesting to see this growing battle between an old world and the new world.  The old world is gradually slipping away.  People like Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich are trying desperately not to let it go.  They want their old world because in their old world, they didn’t have to have the conversations that we are having now.  They didn’t have to listen to what they are listening to now.  They didn’t have to fight against what they are fighting against now.  The problem is that the Democrats seem unwilling or unable to also stand up and take the fight on, to fight for what is right, what is decent, and what is profoundly correct and a good direction for the future to head in.

It’s been a long time since the days of Harvey Milk.  He was the first true champion that the LGBT community had in government.  He took the fight for gay rights to a whole different level.  His famous speech that he gave, telling people that change is just around the corner, was a beacon for a community that had been leaderless and didn’t want to enter the fight.  It became the rallying cry for a group of people who were treated poorly, victims of pointless prejudice and bigotry, and really, the only reason that people hated them is because they didn’t understand them.

It is a part of human nature to hate and fear what one perceives and does not understand.  It’s not a good thing.  It is the most detrimental part of modern society, of any society, but the fact is that it is a part of human nature.  But people can rise above their nature.  The problem in the modern battle for gay rights is that Group A, that has all the prejudism and hatred, wants Group B to change.  But Group B doesn’t have to change, and they shouldn’t.  Instead, they should be the ones who have to change.

And Group A has reason after reason why they don’t want Group B to be a part of them.  They say that gay marriage somehow threatens their marriage.  They say that their religious figure calls their existence an abomination.  They says that they are going to “recruit” more people into becoming gay.  They say that being gay is a choice.  They say that it can be “cured” by making noises to their holy being.  They say a lot of things.  And now those who say those things are working day and night to make the LGBT community’s dream of being treated like human beings get further and further way.

The problem is that the Democrats are not getting into the fight, they are not supporting it publicly.  Every once and a while you get the stray senator or congressman/congresswoman who will say they are for it, but the bulk of them just say “let the states decide.”  It is the cheap way of getting out from under the bus of a changing world.  Why do they do this?  The answer is simple – they want to get reelected.  They want to keep their seat in office, and they don’t want to get all the bigots who live in this country to come out of the woodwork and make them go away.

During the 2004 election, Bush won when Karl Rove decided to make gay marriage the big issue of the election season.  He decided to bring gay marriage up in a bunch of states that would never have considered doing this before because the LGBT community knew that this would be a losing battle.  That was how Bush beat Kerry.  Cheap, tasteless, and almost inhuman, but that is how conservatives in this country operate these days.

My friend John Aronno said that the modern conservative strategy has been to fight completely insane battles for the most ridiculous and hardcore positions possible.  This is to keep the Democrats fighting it out with them, and not thinking about or trying to fight for the things that actually matter, like ending the drug war, or letting people who are different be able to marry the ones that they love.

Keith Olbermann did a “Special Comment” on his show last night.  He pointed out up-front the thing that people need to realize.  The young are starting to figure it out, but the old aren’t – that ten years down the road, this issue isn’t going to matter.  Ten or twenty years from now, gay marriage will be legal everywhere.  This is a battle, yes, but the fact is that the margin of people who support gay marriage is growing every day, not shrinking.  There is a saying that bad ideas die.  But that’s not true.  As Richard Coughlin put it, “people with bad ideas die.”

Here are the facts, as listed by Keith Olbermann –

It won’t destroy the democracy, it doesn’t destroy the family, it strengthens the institution of marriage and it’s principle premise of fidelity, and it increases the number of people living in stable and loving homes.”

That is the absolute truth.  And anybody who says otherwise is just a bigot who doesn’t seem to realize that their hatred of this group of people is not only unfounded, it is ridiculous.  But that battle needs something more in order for it to finally be won – for the Democrats to get off their butts and to stand up and say that they are in support of these people!

The LGBT community has NO true representation in Congress or the White House.  It has NO party who is directly behind them, fighting for them.  There are the odd senators here and there, or Congress people, but the fact is that they stand alone against a tide of hatred that is slowly waning, but as those who are dying away go, they are now trying desperately to not lose this America they think they need so desperately to progress.  They want us to regress, not move forward.  But life is about moving forward.  Nature is about moving forward.  Moving forward is what humanity does.

I think I’ll end this with a quote from Harvey Milk’s Hope Speech –

 I can’t forget the looks on faces of people who’ve lost hope. Be they gay, be they seniors, be they blacks looking for an almost-impossilbe job, be they Latins trying to explain their problems and aspirations in a tongue that’s foreign to them. I personally will never forget that people are more important than buildings.”

Peace out,

Eli

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