The schadenfreude surrounding Scott Brown's Massachusetts Senate win is the final confirmation of the current LGBT leadership's betrayal of 50 years of progressive politics. It began within minutes of Coakley's concession speech: A volley of "I told you sos" by her haughty Carolina highness, Pam Spaulding. Mock-shock and caustic concern from the dirt-dishers over at Queerty. Dispassionate dispatches from those "just-the-facters" Towleroad, Joe.My.God and the AMERICAblog. And finally -- a muddled, misanthropic, self-serving and -- obvi! -- Obama-bashing brief from David Mixner.
That Brown won should have come of little surprise to these LGBT "leaders" or their devoted fan base. After all, Spaulding, Queerty, Mixner and Co. practically cheer-led the former Cosmo-hunk to this critical triumph. Having officially turned on their president, these netrooters have conceded the greater good for their own shortsighted image-inflating. Well aware of the monumental consequences of a Republican win, Gay-stream media nevertheless continued their Dem-dissing and Obama-bashing with little concern for its election-day implications.
Now those implications are quickly becoming clear: Health care is at risk following the loss of the Democratic Senate majority. Additional Democratic senate seats are vulnerable to attack by an emboldened Republican party. Progressive White House initiatives may now be scaled back as Obama is forced to downsize his populist platforms. And -- most crucially -- the very LGBT issues these leaders triumph have never been more threatened by political rollbacks and the potential for voter-led regressive propositions. Our very economic, civil and physical liberties are imperiled -- and all Spaulding can dish up is an "I told you so". All Mixner can muster is yet another MLK-mooching missive on HuffPost.
The real "I told you so" actually began back in November, when John Corzine lost the New Jersey governorship to that right-winger known as Chris Christie. Corzine's defeat ended New Jersey's quest for same-sex marriage -- all but guaranteed by the ex-governor and a supportive legislature before the election. Corzine knew this, Christie knew this and so did the Gays. Yet rather than rallying behind Corzine, the Gay-stream endlessly bashed his greatest supporter -- Pres. Obama, who made numerous Jersey visits stumping for the ex-Goldman Sachser.
Two months later, a near repeat: Critical election, crucial causes -- but LGBT cynicism instead of support at the appointed hour. Arabs may be fond of saying "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," but the Gay voices must clearly believe that "the friend of my enemy is my enemy".
The sobering truth is that the real enemies of LGBT Americans is actually their useless leadership -- if they may be called that. Their uselessness is as vast as it is dangerous: Devoid of any real and realistic political platform. Corrupted by an unfortunate (and unprecedented) conflation of technology and ideology. Desperate in their embrace of short-term allies with little concern for long-term benefit (Cindy McCain, Ted Olson -- come on!). Unrepentantly racist and race-bating on the White side; complicit, silent and homo Tom-like on the Black. Steeped in anger whilst mired by impotence. And shamelessly borrowing from earlier civil rights movements with zero respect or understanding of what they were truly about.
In fact, it's time to stop with the niceties and simply tell it like it is: Enough with the Loving v. Virginia references and its "Blacks got their rights too" reductivism. End the Mixner-styled "Gay Apartheid" hysterics and endless take-downs of the Black church. It's boring, it's tired, it's obnoxious and it's offensive.
Most crucially, same-sex marriage advocates must finally understand they cannot equate their struggle with the African-American battle for Civil Rights or South African movement to end Apartheid. Not because Marriage Equality is not a noble goal, but because they are simply not the same thing.
And -- yes, I'll dare say it -- because they simply have not earned it!
A century passed between the end of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement's first major successes. The anti-Apartheid movement took at least half that time. I only hope Gay folks won't have to wait so long.
Along with all that bigotry, the greatest offense of the past Gay 12 months has not been the sheer self-induced defeat. Rather, it's been the complete and total intolerance for any sort of critical or original thinking by Gay leaders. Coming from a tradition of Wilde and Stein, Baldwin, Bowles, Kramer and Foucault, this is a truly 21st century state of affairs. Gays and Lesbians have an honorable history of liberation literature and intellect which seems, sadly, to have died during the AIDS years. Today, Gay media -- both big and small -- have become a marriage-focused monolith for whom nuance and subtlety are simply nonexistent.
It's an "us-or-them" mentality leaving little room for the actual complexities of real LGBT life -- which is often messy, scary and especially for young people and urbanites very, very lonely. Marriage is a goal -- and a beautiful one. But I can't help but think that for many homo-singletons, a simple Gay second-date -- and not Gay-marriage -- is a far more immediate concern.
Just ask them.
As the White House and Pres. Obama enter this much-needed period of introspection, it's time the Gay-stream did so as well. Although the Prop. 8 trial trudges on in California, the harsh reality is that the marriage equality movement is slowly dying in the rest of the nation. Along the way, its mean-spirited mantras are beginning to wreck potentially irreparable damage on America's Left leaving the nation -- OUR NATION! -- truly vulnerable to Right Wing take-over.
The bitterness and vitriol filling LGBT attacks on the Dems must come to an end, replaced by a respectful and actionable solutions-based agenda. Most crucially, major LGBT institutions must learn from their previous mistakes and work to rectify them, rather than settling for sloppy repeats. Case in point: The glaring omission of a single Black Gay leader on the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) advisory board. Yes, Julian Bond is the head of the NAACP and it's lovely to see him there. But considering California is the state where the whole "Blacks vs. Gays" debate had its sorry start, the inclusion of a Gay-Black voice would have gone far towards much-needed reconciliation.
Also needed: A drop of critical thinking from folks like Spaulding -- who blindly pimped the AFER line-up without once critiquing the exclusion of minority Gay voices like her own!
I am American, mixed-race, Jewish and Gay. I am, you could say, an ultimate minority. Because of this I do not take my liberties for granted -- and I will fight relentlessly against anyone who imperils them. This includes reckless LGBT leaders concerned more for their own bloated public images than the greater public good. Leaders like Mixner and AMERICAblog who would seem to truly want this White House to fail -- yet fail themselves to offer any sort of realistic back-up plan. Or even explain why.
Nonetheless, I believe equally as strongly in the rights of all citizens and I, like my LGBT brethren, expect those rights to be honored at the highest levels of government. LGBT Americans are certainly fighting a battle for civil liberties and I stand ready to form that first phalanx. With the future of our nation now literally at stake, however, it's high time our LGBT leaders began showing this monumental campaign the intelligence and gravitas it deserves.