From LGBT delegates at the Democratic National Convention, and from good numbers of LGBT bloggers, great excitement is being expressed. Via the Dem Convention:
LGBT Caucus Boasts Most Delegates in Convention History
Hundreds of delegates and supporters gathered at the Charlotte Convention Center today for the 2012 Democratic National Convention’s LGBT Caucus, with much reason to celebrate history. This year the Convention plays host to more than 500 LGBT delegates, more than any other Democratic National Convention … .
Of course, political party national conventions are about excitement, more love fest and cheering sessions than anything else. They are not the place or the time you expect serious advocacy to take place. That’s certainly true in Charlotte for the LGBT contingent. LGBTs have the biggest presence, including on the platform, ever. So, I get it, that no one wants to talk about anything but Obama the LGBT hero, or at least, the president who has “done more than all other presidents combined for LGBT equality.” And there are legitimate accomplishments, and to the extent Obama has helped bring them about: Yay!
But, one more time: Obama has done more for LGBT equality than all other presidents combined because 1) LGBT advocates and allies have done incredible amounts of work for such equality over decades, and 2) Obama happened to be in the WH at this particular moment, and was willing to build on the work already done. He deserves credit for that. He does not deserve adulation and halos. And one more “one more time” statement: we need Obama, and Electeds in general, to be held accountable and pushed, both from within and without the Democratic Party.
The DNC is not the time or place for such “pushing,” however much I wish it could be. Actually, what I really wish is that the incredible amounts of money spent in Charlotte, and earlier in Tampa, and by our entire electoral politics system, would be ended.
Anyway, what follows are a few examples of what some LGBTs are thinking in, or at least about, the Convention in Charlotte.
Zack Ford, at Think Progress”:
As was originally drafted, the finalized platform includes full support for marriage equality and employment nondiscrimination protections.
Bil Browning, at Bilerico:
… LGBT attendees of this week’s Democratic National Convention are among the most enthusiastic supporters in town. Bolstered by the Democrat’s 2012 party platform that specifically endorses the freedom to marry, many supporters feel fully included for the first time in political history. …
While many LGBT people have been upset at President Obama during his first term in office and complain that he hasn’t accomplished enough for the community, you’d be hard pressed to find any naysayers in Charlotte.
Browning provides a list of some of Obama’s “accomplishments.”
At Box Turtle Bulletin, Jim Burroway provides an overview of the Democratic platform as related to “several planks of interest to the LGBT community.” He looks at specifics related to health care, civil rights, marriage equality, and under “advancing universal values,” at “Gay Rights as Human Rights.”
Jeremy Hooper, at Good As You reports from the LGBT Caucus. Among those addressing the caucus: Brian Bond; Special Adviser Valerie Jarrett; HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (seen in photo above); “out, married NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn … (introduced) as the next mayor of New York”; Minnesota state senator D. Scott Dibble; Rep. Tammy Baldwin. Among those recognized were “transgender delegates.” Which is quite a big deal.
According to Trans United for Obama, there will be “at least 12 transgender people in official roles” at the convention. I’m going to indulge myself: I know one of those people, Dr. Marisa Richmond, from Nashville, who is an At Large Delegate for Tennessee. It’s Marisa’s second convention as a delegate. I personally know no one who works harder from the “inside” to make changes toward equality happen.
Finally at Houseblend, Pam Spaulding writes:
Democratic Party Platform – light years ahead of the GOP’s hot mess
While there are plenty (of) reasons why some folks might be unhappy with Obama – on the left or the right – there is no way that you can say the parties are ‘the same’ or one is the lesser of two evils. …
… I’ll take a party that is willing to put in its platform that I should not be fired for being LGBT and that I have the right to marry over a party that thinks women are incubators and rape receptacles and LGBTs, well, aren’t even given a shred of dignity never mind any legal rights heterosexuals take for granted.
I have tremendous respect for Pam. She was one of those who consistently called Obama out when his actions were not those of the “fierce advocate” for LGBT equality, as he’d claimed. So when she now supports him and the Democratic party so fervently, it’s as someone who has done the work, from inside and outside. I do disagree with her, however, when she says “no way … you can say … one (of the two parties) is the lesser of two evils.” It doesn’t work for her, and I respect that. But yes, I and good numbers of others, can talk about “lesser of two evils,” based on our perspectives of what’s happened to the Democratic Party.
One more thing: contrasting Democrats and Republicans isn’t the only, or in my opinion, the most accurate way of evaluating our legacy party system. Especially when limiting assessments to that formula, we’re playing the political game by the Duopoly rules.
As for the convention, and the rest of the campaign season, I don’t expect the love fest to end and actual advocacy begin, at least in general, until well after November. Probably until well after the inauguration, assuming Obama wins. If he doesn’t, a whole new game plan will come into effect.
(Photo: Katheen Sebelius addresses LGBT Caucus at DNC via DemConvention)