12.20.2008

there is no centre ground when it comes to equal rights

I have a letter in today's Globe and Mail.
John Ibbitson writes that Barack Obama's choice of Rick Warren to deliver an invocation at his inauguration reflects Mr. Obama's efforts "to craft an administration that hews to the centre." This implies that same-sex marriage is an extreme position, pitting anti-gay right-wingers against a radical left.

But equality under the law is not a radical idea or a leftist idea. Equality under the law is supposed to be a bedrock value of the United States. There is no centre ground when it comes to equal rights. One either has them or one does not.

The bullshit I was responding to is here.

I remember when Bill Clinton was first elected in 1992, how thrilled we were that the Reagan-Bush era was over, how hopeful we were for change. Fellow activists who were older than us were more muted. I remember a friend saying, "I'm very happy that Bush is out of a job, but I don't expect much to change."

Then in his first weeks in office, seemingly one day after the next, Clinton betrayed us. Haitian refugees, gays in the military, anti-choice judicial appointments. And that was before NAFTA and welfare. It wasn't that Clinton himself was particularly duplicitous. But he was a standard-issue Democrat, doing what Democrats do.

I hope everyone's hopes do better under Obama, but it isn't looking very promising.

11 comments:

Amy said...

The selection of Warren to participate in the inauguration pains and disappoints me. I remember the same reaction when Clinton announced don't ask, don't tell. Why is it that the gay population is so easily disregarded and disrespected by Democrats when they are always among the most loyal supporters? It's inconceivable that Obama would have picked a minister who was a known racist; why is it so easily accepted that he picked someone who is homophobic?

I hope this is not a sign of things to come. But I am worried.

West End Bob said...

For the GLBT community the "Change We Can Believe In" is "More of the Same".

Once again, the dems live up to their record of saying one thing and doing another or nothing.

A pox on all of them . . . .

John A. Ardelli said...

You know, it's starting to look to me like the President of the United States is nothing more than a figurehead, as if the real power is somewhere deeper in the government and the President just carries it out. That would explain why nothing ever changes no matter who's in the Oval Office...

David Cho said...

Rick Warren is not your typical conservative Evangelical. In fact, he is catching a lot of heat from the Evangelical Right as well for wanting to expand Evangelical social action to include poverty, global warming, and AIDS. He is not by any means another Pat Robertson or James Dobson.

He did endorse Prop 8, which I thought was a sham. But can't be dismissed is his departure from the old Religious Right.

Looks like both Warren and Obama are catching a lot of heat for this. Operation Rescue is the latest to condemn Warren for sharing the stage with Obama who they have dubbed the "most pro-child killing president in US history."

L-girl said...

Rick Warren is not your typical conservative Evangelical.

That's well known. The story I linked to outlines that, as do all the stories being written about this. Nevertheless, he is a homophobic bigot. He doesn't have to be the most extreme, like Phelps or Dodson, to be repellent.

Tom said...

Thanks for writing the paper. It really bothers that people don't think Warren is an extremist simply because he believes in Global Warming.

The man is a very powerful and dangerous bigot.

impudent strumpet said...

I don't know if you've seen Death or Cake? (which is not the same thing as Cake or Death), but that's what this reminded me of.

And I envy your ability to get printed in the Globe & Mail. They never print me, which I ordinarily wouldn't mind except that they sometimes print letters with the thesis of "Look at me, I thought of a pun!"

David Heap said...

Great letter, and greater still that they published it. This "balance" nonsense reminds me of when the peace movement would try to get a speaker into a school to discuss the arms race, only to be told that we would have to have it "balanced" by the "other side". Always left me thinking "right, so we need one speaker opposed to nuclear annihilation and one speaker in favour of it."

L-girl said...

And I envy your ability to get printed in the Globe & Mail.

I do have the formula down, such as it is. If my letter doesn't make it in, then another that says the exact same thing will, which is just as good at this point.

They never print me, which I ordinarily wouldn't mind except that they sometimes print letters with the thesis of "Look at me, I thought of a pun!"

They love that stupid stuff! They'll print anything with a rhyme or a lame pun, anything with a supposedly clever comparison between, say, government and a donut. What a waste of space.

L-girl said...

Thanks David :)

This "balance" nonsense reminds me of when the peace movement would try to get a speaker into a school to discuss the arms race, only to be told that we would have to have it "balanced" by the "other side". Always left me thinking "right, so we need one speaker opposed to nuclear annihilation and one speaker in favour of it."

Indeed. In the US, at least, it's only the supposedly liberal side that needs to show this balance. It's not like the Cheney Administration appointed some decent people to some agencies, or some liberal judges. They stocked the whole government with their own industry lobbyists and hand-picked judges.

Then Obama comes in (and before him, Clinton did the same thing) and for some reason has to show "balance" by appointing a mix of wingnuts and liberals. All this time, liberals still haven't learned to stop apologizing for themselves.

And the centre keeps shifting ever rightward...

Cornelia said...

Laura, yes, I also know about the grievous mistakes that Clinton made in order to appease conservative swingvoters and I regret that these horrid things ever came to pass and even more, that a Democrat didn't stand up to the right-wing idiots when it would have mattered!!!

Great letter, and greater still that they published it. This "balance" nonsense reminds me of when the peace movement would try to get a speaker into a school to discuss the arms race, only to be told that we would have to have it "balanced" by the "other side". Always left me thinking "right, so we need one speaker opposed to nuclear annihilation and one speaker in favour of it."

Thanks so much, David. This really helps me to get some things clear.

Indeed. In the US, at least, it's only the supposedly liberal side that needs to show this balance. It's not like the Cheney Administration appointed some decent people to some agencies, or some liberal judges. They stocked the whole government with their own industry lobbyists and hand-picked judges.

Then Obama comes in (and before him, Clinton did the same thing) and for some reason has to show "balance" by appointing a mix of wingnuts and liberals. All this time, liberals still haven't learned to stop apologizing for themselves.

Thank you so much likewise, Laura. That is very clarifying for me and yep, it does get to the point!