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Author Topic: Andrew Sullivan Post - "The Fierce Urgency Of Whenever"  (Read 1306 times)

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Offline freewillie99

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Andrew Sullivan Post - "The Fierce Urgency Of Whenever"
« on: May 13, 2009, 12:48:25 PM »
I'm an Obama fan and voted for the man, but Andrew has, imo, nailed it here.  I hope he's wrong, but suspect he's all too correct (again).

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/05/the-fierce-urgency-of-whenever.html

I lived through eight years of the Clintons and then eight years of Bush. Through it all, gay people were treated at the federal level like embarrassments or impediments. With Clinton, we were the means to raise money. With Bush, we were the means to leverage votes by exploiting bigotry. Obama seemed in the campaign to promise something else. I listened to him in the early days and found him sincere about ending discrimination by the government; and I came to respect, while vehemently disagreeing with, his position on federal civil unions. He seemed genuinely distressed that gay servicemembers should be treated with contempt and persecution by their commander-in-chief, that gay couples should have to fight for basic human treatment - like entry to hospital rooms, or being able to stay in the same apartment as their late spouse, or forced into cruel separation by immigration laws that treat gay couples as threats, rather than assets, or if you had the temerity to survive HIV, being treated at the US border the way Jesse Helms always wanted people with HIV to be treated - like perverts and pariahs and threats.

It is quite something to have a government stamp in your passport, as I do, that will tell any immigration or police officer with a connection to a government database that I have HIV, that I am therefore a threat and can be arrested and detained and deported at the border if necessary. I'm a big boy with money and a robust self-esteem as an HIV-positive survivor, but I think of thousands of others far less powerful and wealthy than I am who are afraid to enter or leave the US because their HIV status renders them criminals. I think of how the US is the only developed country - and one of only a handful of undeveloped countries - that still tells the world that people with HIV are dangerous pariahs, who need policing at borders and deporting if discovered. And yet this is the current policy of the Obama administration on global HIV and AIDS.

And it's tedious to whine and jump up and down and complain when a wand isn't waved and everything is made right by the first candidate who really seemed to get it, who was even able to address black church congregations about homophobia. And obviously patience is necessary; and legislative work takes time; and there are real challenges on so many fronts, especially the economy and the legacy of war crimes and the permanently restive Iraqi and Afghan regions we are constantly in the process of liberating from themselves. No one expects a president to be grappling with all this early on, or, God help us, actually leading on civil rights. That's our job, not his.

But I have a sickeningly familiar feeling in my stomach, and the feeling deepens with every interaction with the Obama team on these issues. They want them to go away. They want us to go away.
Here we are, in the summer of 2009, with gay servicemembers still being fired for the fact of their orientation. Here we are, with marriage rights spreading through the country and world and a president who cannot bring himself even to acknowledge these breakthroughs in civil rights, and having no plan in any distant future to do anything about it at a federal level. Here I am, facing a looming deadline to be forced to leave my American husband for good, and relocate abroad because the HIV travel and immigration ban remains in force and I have slowly run out of options (unlike most non-Americans with HIV who have no options at all).

And what is Obama doing about any of these things? What is he even intending at some point to do about these things? So far as I can read the administration, the answer is: nada. We're firing Arab linguists? So sorry. We won't recognize in any way a tiny minority of legally married couples in several states because they're, ugh, gay? We had no idea. There's a ban on HIV-positive tourists and immigrants? Really? Thanks for letting us know. Would you like to join Joe Solmonese and John Berry for cocktails? The inside of the White House is fabulous these days.

Yesterday, Robert Gibbs gave non-answer after non-answer on civil unions and Obama's clear campaign pledge to grant equal federal rights for gay couples; non-answer after non-answer on the military's remaining ban on honest servicemembers. What was once a categorical pledge is now - well let's call it the toilet paper that it is. I spent yesterday trying to get a better idea of what's intended on all fronts, and the overwhelming sense - apart from a terror of saying anything about gay people on the record - is that we are in the same spot as in every Democratic administration: the well-paid leaders of the established groups get jobs and invites, and that's about it. Worse: we will get a purely symbolic, practically useless hate crimes bill that they will then wave in our faces to prove they need do nothing more.

As for the HIV ban, legislatively lifted by overwhelming numbers of Republicans and Democrats almost a year ago, this is the state of play from an Obama HHS spokesman:

“The Department of Health and Human Services has submitted for OMB review a notice of proposed rule-making to implement this change.”

Translation: we're doing the bare minimum to make us look no worse than Bush, but we have no real interest in this and are letting the bureaucracy handle it, and we guarantee nothing. On gay servicemembers, the president is writing personal notes to those he has fired and intends to continue firing. Will he write some personal notes to the people with HIV he deports? Will he write personal notes to the gay spouses suddenly without a home or their late spouse's savings or forced by his administration to relocate abroad because he has no intention of actually fulfilling his promises?

I recall my old, now dead, friend Bob Hattoy, who toiled in the Clinton administration. He was going to write a memoir of working with people who thought of homosexual rights as wonderful things to say you support (especially if you're fundraising or at a Hollywood dinner party) but far, far too controversial to ever do anything about, let alone risk anything for. In the end, of course, the Clintons enacted a slew of brutally anti-gay measures - passing DOMA, doubling the rate of gay discharges from the military, signing the ban on HIV-positive tourists and immigrants - and expected standing ovations as pioneers of civil rights. The pathetic gay rights leaders gave it to them, so delighted were they to have their checks cashed. The proposed title of Bob's book was a summary of the priorities of the Clinton years:

It's The Economy, Faggot.

I have a feeling he died laughing. What else are you gonna do?
Beware Romanians bearing strange gifts

Offline madbrain

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Re: Andrew Sullivan Post - "The Fierce Urgency Of Whenever"
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2009, 07:17:21 PM »
I'm an Obama fan and voted for the man, but Andrew has, imo, nailed it here.  I hope he's wrong, but suspect he's all too correct (again).

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/05/the-fierce-urgency-of-whenever.html

Thanks for that post. Depressing to say the least.

Offline randym431

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Re: Andrew Sullivan Post - "The Fierce Urgency Of Whenever"
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2009, 10:06:26 PM »
I too have a bit of this same doomed feeling. Mentioned it in one of my other posts.
The only hope I see here is that courts and law are on our side, finally and for once.
As we slowly march forward, it would be wonderful to have vocal support from a
president that once "promised vocal support". But regardless, I guess when it comes
down to it, it’s up to us. Obama may possibly wake up and take note on the progress we
are slowly making, and decide to take an active part. Maybe not.
Sadly, it boils down to plain bare politics. Obama does not seem to have any desire to
take on the civil rights issues.

How about McCain on the Sunday news this past weekend. When asked about the don’t ask don’t tell policy, if it needed change? McCain said the military is just fine as is. No need to change or tinker with
policy. "We have the greatest military now than ever before. Don't change anything".

Naturally that was very insulting to Gays. It was like saying the military would fall apart if policy were to be changed. Just keep the bigotry going. As far as we advance, it becomes clear how much further we have to go. How many more presidents and promises?

Offline Dennis

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Re: Andrew Sullivan Post - "The Fierce Urgency Of Whenever"
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2009, 10:50:31 PM »
I'm still optimistic about the Obama administration. Afterwall, he has only been in office a little over a 100 days. Can we really expect him to touch on every single issue so early in his presidency? While these issues may be important us (the gay community), there are much larger issues to tackle which affect the entire nation as a whole. Honestly, I rather him focus on stabilizing the economy which will have a much larger impact on my life in the future than legalizing gay marriage or revoking the don't ask don't tell policy.

Reminds me of one of Obamas jokes he told at the White House Correspondents Banquet. It went something like this..."I believe my next 100 will be so successfull I anticpate completing them in 72 days. And on the 73rd day I will rest."

Here's the link for anyone who missed it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEtOT1IpjTw&feature=related

He's accomplished much in such a short period and  I have no reason to believe he won't conquer these social issues when the time is right.

Ciao,
Dennis
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 10:52:55 PM by Dennis »

Offline RAB

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Re: Andrew Sullivan Post - "The Fierce Urgency Of Whenever"
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2009, 12:40:58 AM »
Hey Willie:

Let me begin by saying I agree with your overall premise.

But having said that, there's something I'm confused about.

In your opening paragraph you posted:

I'm an Obama fan and voted for the man,

But then later you mentioned this:

Quote
Here I am, facing a looming deadline to be forced to leave my American husband for good, and relocate abroad because the HIV travel and immigration ban remains in force

Forgive me if I'm guilty of being naive.

So please correct me if I'm wrong.

But in order to "vote" you must be a U.S. citizen. 

If you are a U.S. citizen then why in the world would you be facing the possibility of having to "leave your American husband for good"?

Again, let me emphasize I support much of what you are advocating.  I'm just confused about the justification you seem to be advancing.

RAB


Offline md

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Re: Andrew Sullivan Post - "The Fierce Urgency Of Whenever"
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2009, 01:10:11 AM »
Hey Willie:

Let me begin by saying I agree with your overall premise.

But having said that, there's something I'm confused about

Only the first sentence of that post was written by, and refers to, freewillie99 who is, presumably, a US citizen.

The rest of the post is a copy of Andrew Sullivan's article and Sullivan is not a US citizen.

Offline Robert

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Re: Andrew Sullivan Post - "The Fierce Urgency Of Whenever"
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2009, 02:04:49 AM »

rab

I think freewilly is quoting Andrew Sullivan.  Willy cites the source(http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/05/the-fierce-urgency-of-whenever.html) and then quotes the article.  I think it's andrew sullivan who is not an American citizen.

Anyway, I gotta admit I'm more concerned about torture, war, (and holding people responsible) and the economy. 

Also, think about this.  Obama has reversed his course about releasing the pictures of torture which ticks me off.  He's also said he's not going to go after those who wrote the memos.  That ticks me off too.  As far as I know, though, he hasn't reversed anything pertaining gay marriage, rights, civil unions, etc.  He's just put in on the back burner.  I can wait.  I've waited this long
 
..........

Offline freewillie99

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Re: Andrew Sullivan Post - "The Fierce Urgency Of Whenever"
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2009, 08:19:49 AM »
Again, let me emphasize I support much of what you are advocating.  I'm just confused about the justification you seem to be advancing.

RAB

RAB,

My comment was at the beginning.  Below the link was Andrew's article.  He's British, btw.  Sorry for the confusion.

Thanks for that post. Depressing to say the least.

MB,

Yes, it is a bit.  I suppose the point, at least to me, is that given past history nothing can be taken for granted.  We must take responsibility and apply consistent pressure on the powers that be.  Wasn't one of Obama's points during the campaign that real change was more effectively driven from below rather than above? 
Beware Romanians bearing strange gifts

Offline freewillie99

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Re: Andrew Sullivan Post - "The Fierce Urgency Of Whenever"
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2009, 08:21:43 AM »

How about McCain on the Sunday news this past weekend.


I saw that.  Coming from the man who created the Palin monster, I expect no less.  What a jackass.
Beware Romanians bearing strange gifts

Offline Inchlingblue

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Re: Andrew Sullivan Post - "The Fierce Urgency Of Whenever"
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2009, 05:20:29 PM »
I think Sullivan has some legitimate grievances but really, it's too soon to pass any sort of judgement. It's healthy to remain skeptical but I wouldn't be surprised if there are plans addressing all these things behind the scenes. Timing is key, he won't be another Clinton.

On Real Time With Bill Maher they were talking about how Obama might name an openly gay man or a lesbian to the Supreme Court. Not sure if there's anything substantial behind the rumor, maybe the administration has said they're open to that possibility?


Edit:

Just noticed a thread on this subject already, inspired by an article in the NY Times:

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=27042.0
« Last Edit: May 15, 2009, 01:20:05 PM by Inchlingblue »

Offline freewillie99

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Re: Andrew Sullivan Post - "The Fierce Urgency Of Whenever"
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2009, 06:42:38 PM »

Timing is key, he won't be another Clinton.


I hope not.  History does have that pesky way of repeating itself.


Beware Romanians bearing strange gifts

 


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