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Yes We Can, Twice!

January 23, 2013


Four years ago, when that happened it was historic. I got chills. Through all the hate and the racism and the screaming accusations of “terrorist,” our nation rose above our hate and derision, listened to the better angels of our nature, and elected a black man to the presidency. We looked at a man named Barack Hussein Obama, a man with dark skin, a man with a white mother and a black father, the living embodiment of the white  racist’s greatest fear, and we made him the leader of the free world. We looked at him and made him the leader of our nation. We looked at him and said “yes, this is the face that we want to represent our people to the world.”

We did that.

Then we did it again.

Barack Obama Sworn In As U.S. President For A Second Term

It wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t a one off. It wasn’t a moment of madness or a single moment of the nation living on hope. We looked back at the four previous years of this man and what he had done and we once again selected him as our face to the world.

This is just who we are now. We are that people.

The Arc of History

Well done, America.

In the course of his inaugural address, for the very first time, our president spoke to and of the LGBTQ community. OK, technically he just spoke to and mentioned lesbians and gays. A lot of people online tried to squash that complaint but I think it’s a valid one. The BTQ members of our community have never had anyone speak to or for us on this level and that matters. When the president spoke out in favor of marriage equality, it mattered, not just on a political level but because someone saw us. We were acknowledged as part of society.

This isn’t just a matter of marriage equality. It’s a matter of safety and acceptance for our trans, bi, and queer brothers and sisters. I’m sure I’m missing some group and it is honestly out of ignorance. I apologize. Correct me and I’ll add.

The lack of that overt acknowledgement, for the rest of our community is a valid thing to be upset about. It’s entirely rational that everyone refuse to accept the erasure of a whole section of the people who fight with and for us.

I presume that the lack of acknowledgement from the president comes out of ignorance as well. Many, many people don’t realize that gay and lesbian are not the only categories of our movement as they do not realize that marriage equality is just one part of our struggle. Further, many people don’t realize that Stonewall wasn’t some non-violent civil rights protest. It was a bar fight with cops, started in response to the horrible treatment of trans individuals by the NYPD. And they won.

It is the absolute duty of those of us who are acknowledged to speak of for those who are not, to remind people who, out of ignorance or malice, refuse to see the full tapestry of who we are. We must, because if we do not, we fail those who came before.

We have so much to be proud of today, we must live up to that pride. We cannot fail them.

While we are living up to that pride, there’s one more subject we need to look at.

Republicans are trying to make sure we can never do this again.

Today, while the nation was watching the inauguration, and one member of the  Virginia Senate was at the ceremony, the rest of that body, redrew the districts of  their state and eliminated exactly one district. Guess which party it consistently votes for. If you said Democrat, give yourself a gold star. Had that member of the Senate been there today, the vote would have been a tie. This was just underhanded.

This isn’t a fluke either. This is Republican strategy. If they cannot win, they will cheat. Unless we stop them.

Here is the contact information for the governor of Virginia. He has been talking around whether or not he is willing to sign the bill. That means he is totally going to sign the bill. Here is the contact information for the members of the Virginia House. It’s a work day people. Let’s do a job.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2013 7:35 AM

    Ignorance is something that it takes time to change. I am proud to say that my daughter’s high school had a course in LGBTQ literature. She was shocked by how dark and unhappy so much of the subject matter was. Because it is so accepted here, she was unaware how different it is in parts of our own county.
    And while I agree that the behavior of that specific group of Republicans, and many Republicans is bad, do keep in mind that all Republicans are not like that. Labeling Is labeling, and is usually a bad thing and perpetuates the us against them. I would be much more likely to be moved by a bipartisan call to action against the bad actions of this group of people than one that tags me by the same broad brush of being the bad guy. Please remember that Republican does not equal bad guy, bigot or what ever stereotype you have in your mind.
    In order to truly win this battle we need to learn to see each other as people. Denounce wrong actions as being wrong, do not apply labels. For me it was a victory because a President spoke to a greater segment of the population and supports equality.

    • January 23, 2013 11:09 AM

      ” Please remember that Republican does not equal bad guy, bigot or what ever stereotype you have in your mind.”
      I understand with what you are saying here, I really truly do. I grew up in a conservative republican household. My parents saw politics as something that was fairly private so they didn’t ever state that they were republican but they would absolutely refer to talking points and espouse the values that are associated with the republican party.

      As a child I participated in pro life marches, my mother directed a pro life play that I played a very small part in until I was too old. My parents were very active in their community in this regard, and by extension so was I.

      As an adult I held to the republican party for a long time, but as time went on I came to the conclusion that they left me behind. in 2008 I registered as a democrat because I no longer wanted to be associated with the republican party.

      As a gay woman I find that the republican party as a whole has no room for me at their table. I have found that every time the country sends the loud message that they have gone too far in their beliefs and platform the response has been to go even further to the right. So while many of the values that should be at the core of the republican party are values that I hold dear, I will not give them my support. I will not allow my name to be associated with them.

      I don’t believe that all republicans are gun toting bigoted twats who are actively seeking to crush my spirit and line their pockets. I don’t even believe that most of them are.

      I do know that there is ample evidence that people aligned with the republican party continue to support the people in office who deny me my civil rights. I do know that people aligned with the republican party are actively voting against the things that will make my life safer and will legitimize me as a full citizen of this country. I do know that the republican party as a whole stands on a platform that I cannot support.

      So Rennata I don’t know you. I don’t know your beliefs, I don’t know how you live your life. I have no stereotype in mind of who you are or how you behave. I do know that you are still willing to associate yourself with a party who stands in opposition to what I hold dear. I do know that you stand in defense of a party that actively seeks to deny me my rights. I do know that your willingness to do so means that there are many areas that you and I will not be able to agree on. Or, if you do agree with me your convictions are not strong enough to cause you to disassociate yourself from the party that no longer represents you.

    • January 23, 2013 4:54 PM

      Labeling Is labeling

      No it isn’t. LGBTQ, black, and disabled are all labels that circumstances applies to you. Republican is a label one chooses to apply to oneself. Anyone who decides to belong to a group that hates several groups of Americans, by doctrine, doesn’t get to complain about the fact that they are labeled. They are the ones taking on that label. If that is a problem, for those Republicans who are “not like that” leave the hateful group.

      • ann permalink
        January 23, 2013 11:08 PM

        And don’t forget – by choosing to remain in that group, people are in fact giving the world a certain amount of information about themselves. Not every “bad guy” is a highly-visible public figure. The ones who decide that they can comfortably sacrifice someone else’s rights (or their own, although they may have Stockholmed themselves into blindness) in order to get along? Yeah. Those people count as “bad guys,” in my book.


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