Perhaps the title is too declarative. I’m still not sure.
Perhaps this image is a bit too harsh.
Again – I’m still not sure.
What am I sure of?
Its July 2010.
Someone with less credibility than Joe Solmonese declared me to be an idiot some weeks back. The orifice of origin of that declaration speaks for itself, so I’m not as concerned about it as I am about something else.
Was I an ObamaBot?
Why does that matter?
Well, the recent anger – at Pam’s (here, here, here, here and here) and Bilerico – directed against pleas not to stop giving money to the DNC, not to mention the reality that, as I type, ENDA is like the four-headed, man-eating haddock fish-beast of Aberdeen, makes me wonder about what led to this reality.
A comment on one of the threads at Pam’s:
That might be a very solid case that people who supported Obama over CLINTON were wrong, but not that McCain/Palin would have been a better choice than Obama.
Ah yes…Barack vs. Hilary.
Remember that? The question of which of the two was more LGB(T)-friendly?
Plenty of people insisted that the woman I referred to as HRC’s HRC was the only one who could be trusted. Plenty of people said it was Obama.
How to decide?
Well, I focused on this, the trans-inclusive Illinois version of ENDA, which was passed early in 2005, during the final days of the 2003-04 legislativbe session:
Public Act 093-1078
SB3186 Enrolled LRB093 20455 WGH 46241 b
AN ACT concerning human rights.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
(O-1) Sexual orientation. "Sexual orientation" means
actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or gender-related identity, whether or not
traditionally associated with the person's designated sex at
birth. "Sexual orientation" does not include a physical or
sexual attraction to a minor by an adult.
Barack Obama was still in the Illinois Senate during that session.
However, by the time that that bill took its whirlwing trip through the Illinois Senate and Illinois House - and on to the shadow of Rod Blagojevich's hair - Obama had left the Illinois Senate for the U.S. Senate.
So, that bill did not stand as evidence of his feelings about LGBT matters one way or the other. However, earlier that same session there had been SB 101:
LRB093 04011 WGH 04050 b
1 AN ACT concerning human rights.
2 Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3 represented in the General Assembly:
4 Section 5. The Illinois Human Rights Act is amended by
5 changing Sections 1-102, 1-103, 3-103, and 3-106 and the
6 heading of Article 1 and adding Section 1-101.1 as follows:
9 (O-1) Sexual orientation. "Sexual orientation" means
10 having or being perceived as having an emotional, physical,
11 or sexual attraction to another person without regard to the
12 sex of that person or having or being perceived as having an
13 orientation for such attraction, or having or being perceived
14 as having a gender-related self-identity, appearance,
15 expression, or behavior, whether or not traditionally
16 associated with the person's designated sex at birth.
And, perhaps most importantly, there is that bill's official history:
Senator Obama did not cast a vote on SB 101, but he did sign on as a co-sponsor of it - which, for purposes of determining the gay-friendliness (not to mention the trans-friendliness) of presidential candidate Obama, should have been even better than a record vote.
And it should have been indicative of the future.
Yet, here we are in July of 2010, and the federal ENDA still is like the four-headed, man-eating haddock fish-beast of Aberdeen.
Is President Barack Obama the one to blame?
I still can't bring myself to heap upon him the derision that I rightfully direct at those such as the Rhode Island Avenue Cesspool, St. Barney, The John, Gramma Frumpp, The Shamvocate, the Luna-Tick, Queer Channel Media and the entirety of the overpaid, underworked transphobic gay mafia.
I will, however, deride the term "fierce advocate," because I simply do not see any fierce advocacy in favor of anything that will alter the legal status quo that allows this multiple-degreed, multiple-law-licensed, frequently-published-in-scholarly-journals, 45-year-old woman to be professionally marginalized into economic oblivion - and which allows me no legal recourse against those who take advantage of that status quo.
And look, I get it - there are no absolute guarantees. Moreover, we can't say 'our money bought ENDA.' That would be, well... You know what that would be.
But I do think that, even if there were no campaign dollars at issue, in light of just how much noxious shit that George W. Bush wanted and was able to ram through far-lesser-majority Republican Congresses than that which Obama saw on Capitol Hill in January 2009 (What did he not get? The FMA and total privitization of Social Security, but what else?), I think all of us had a right to expect at least a vote - a committee vote - on a real ENDA (and I won't even talk about DADT, DOMA, et. al.) So I think we had a right to expect that our Democratic president - even taking into account that his name is Barack Obama and not Lyndon Johnson - could at least cause some movement on ENDA in Congress.
Did Rahm - or someone else - convince him that that would be 'spending political capital', and too much of it?
Well, I think the votes of the LGBT populace counts as 'political capital.'
And I think that that 'political capital' has definitely been lost - not spent, but flushed.
We have nothing to show for it - and congressional Democrats can't expect to end up with anything to show for it in November.
I hope not.
Maybe I was an ObamaBot, but I still don't think so. My support for him was based on a verifiable track record - a verifiable pro-LGBT history not then shared by either Bill or Hillary (she had been in the Senate for over a full term; where was the more-than-the-nothing-we-were-getting-from-Ted-Kennedy support for T-inclusion in ENDA?). I stand by it: My support for him then was justified. The next-to-nothing that has happened since then doesn't change that.
It does, however, make me very sad.
I assume we all remember Animal House? And what happened to a certain car that Flounder was responsible for?
Otter: Flounder, you can't spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You fucked up... you trusted us! Hey, make the best of it! Maybe we can help.
Flounder: [crying] That's easy for you to say! What am I going to tell Fred?
Otter: I'll tell you what. We'll tell Fred you were doing a great job taking care of his car, but you parked it out back last night and this morning... it was gone. We report it as stolen to the police. D-Day takes care of the wreck. Your brother's insurance company buys him a new car.
Flounder: Will that work?
Otter: Hey, it's gotta work better than the truth.
Bluto: [thrusting six-pack into Flounder's hands] My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.
The truth is that the Democratic control of Congress is only going to be less come January - if not completely gone, converted into a Boehner-orange blur of corporate-christianist psychosis (Majority Whip Michele Bachmann, anyone?).
The truth is that that Democrat fate was sealed the instant that Nancy Pelosi and/or Harry Reid and/or Barack Obama made the calculation to play nice with the radioactive sludge that calls itself the GOP - and the truth is that the point of no possible turnaround on that fate became clear when the DC Dems decided not to make hay while the Democratic sun was shining. (The hate-crime law? That's not enough hay to keep even a single cow alive.)
Was trusting the Dems - whether led by Obama or Hillary - in 2008 a Flounder-esque fuck up?
No. It was the choice we had against the specter of President Fakey McMaverick and V.P. Milfy McMooseburger.
However, believing any promise that Dem, Inc., makes to appease our anger between now and November would be the equivalent of giving the keys to our car not to Otter but to Bluto (John Belushi may have died, but never forget what became of John Blutarsky - and, likely, whatever trustworthiness he may have had.)
No ENDA, no support - of any kind.