Friday, August 10, 2007

The LOGO Debate: Why Marriage Is NOT The Only Question

Watched the majority of the Human Rights Campaign + LOGO Presidential Candidates Forum last night.

Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic has "A Reported Blog on Politics" with a post-HRC/Logo entry entitled The LOGO Debate: Marriage Is The Question which really was mainly an overview of what the candidates said, mainly about the issue of gay marriage.

Ambinder writes that " It’s helpful to look at this debate through two lenses: the hopeful lens of the gay community and the skeptical lens of the pundit who is always peering around the corner at the general election."

One commenter wrote: "The LGBT community will never accept John Edwards as long as he keeps up with his stump speech about how "conflicted" he is over gay marriage."

But as Ambinder writes " marriage – that’s the holy grail for many (though by no means all) of the gay community."

I couldn't agree more. And that's what I wrote at Marc's blog too:

Am I disappointed that Edwards is not more 'developed'? Sure, but I have not completely dismissed his viability as an electible presidential candidate. I for one am not a single issue voter, or okay, i am RARELY a single issue voter.

Something I would argue is valuable to keep in mind about what John Edwards does bring to the table: Economic Justice issues for working and middle class folks -- that includes most of us in the GLBT community, some are far more privileged and economically elite, but most of us are not.

Here's why I believe Edwards should not be completely dismissed: His focus on the economy and economic justice, health care and his national economic stimulation plans to put people to work for more than minimum wage and to make sure workers no longer suffer while the richest and greediest -- the friends of Bush and Cheney -- become even wealthier at the expense of all the rest of us.

When the majority of regular working people begin experiencing and reaping economic benefits which currently are not available to most working people, zero to poor people and most are not being experienced by many other middle class working families -- i.e. the less stressed, less crunched they feel and the less economically stressed they actually are -- the more open to change, the more generous their attitudes in many areas toward social progress, social justice including GLBT issues.

Kevin Phillips and others have well-documented Republican administrations' devastation to working families (especially pointed beginning with Reagan) -- it has become far worse under Bush Cheney despite the happy talk. Look what is happening in the financial markets right now. None of these people give a crap about whether middle class, working, much less poor people have houses, health care or jobs. All they care about is whether their investments make profits. That is the real republican mandate. They obfuscate that truth and hide it from the stupid evangelicals with emotional sleights of hand to keep them from understanding and knowing their own economic issues.

How/Why do we fail to understand the same thing?

While their own economic survival is at stake -- which it very much is at this point in our country -- It is harder for people to feel generous and tolerant toward others.

When people feel/believe/know/experience the very real economic devastation this administration has wrought on working people and on this economy for the past seven years (helped along by Bill Clinton's kowtowing to the global profiteers and multinational corporations via NAFTA), they do not/are not feeling very 'secure' and thus less tolerant, less generous, less sure about what this means for them.

Couple that with the mean-spirited divisiveness -- the republicans have known exactly how to keep americans divided, stressed, fighting, fragmented and NOT focusing on the most foundational important issues, especially the utter lack of concern that the republican party truly has for anyone but the truly wealthy. Right now they are demagoging the color of brown people and immigration BECAUSE it takes our eyes off the economic devastation they have inflicted upon this citizenry.

I do not condone Edwards' lack of progress in the marriage issue (Hillary and Obama are no better in their explanations), but I believe there are underlying foundational issues -- ECONOMIC ISSUES, THE ECONOMY, ECONOMIC JUSTICE -- to consider which have a critical impact on how people view/experience/talk/feel about not only OUR issues, but others such as: WAR, DOMESTIC SECURITY, IMMIGRATION, INTERNATIONAL POLICIES...etc

These are especially interconnected and extremely linked to how working families are doing economically (in addition to the leadership of our so-called leaders, grassroots efforts, personal relationships that folks have with their GLBT family members and friends....)

There are historical trends (yellow scare, brown scare, civil rights, womens rights, gay rights) which are deeply linked to economic (and educational and legal) progress as experienced by the masses in industrial societies.

I'm actually far more concerned about first tackling economic justice, health care, restoring pensions and benefits to retirees and workers, getting jobs to inner city -- and RURAL -- citizens and youth....because if our economic foundation crumbles further (like our infrastructure is doing), you can bet there will little or no mass support for OUR issues -- which will seem irrelevant to many many people.

If the republicans and their toadies continue to destroy the working families of this country (including GLBT families), there will continue to be accelerating, even more rapidly growing legions of our fellow citizens who are living in perpetual violence, despair, base indignities, who have children who are starving, dying, murdering, being murdered, parents who cannot get health care or elder care ... this is the road we are headed down at this moment unless there are major changes toward putting people in this country back to work at jobs that pay more than McDonald's or Walmart pittances.

That is why I will still listen to what John Edwards has to say despite his lack of progress at this point -- he has the capacity to learn and grow -- just like Obama, just like Clinton -- and one of these three -- or hell if only Gore would jump in, i'd support him -- but more than likely one of these three (none of whom has the perfect position on our issues) is likely to be the candidate. Sure I'd love Kucinich, but it's not realistic.

I for one am sick of the evil of the republican demagogues and if Edwards can win key voters in key states that Hillary and Obama can not, then his economic justice and health care platform combined with his commitment to full legal rights, is a major step in the right direction. I have no doubt that just as america will come along over the next five years (like Gravel stated), Edwards will grow too.

I could be wrong, but that's my take on things at this point. I'm not willing to count Edwards out yet.

Ambinder's Atlantic blog on the topic is here, my specific comments (mostly the same as above) here. And HRC Back Story Blog has some analysis and linked stories, too.

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