Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mixner Says - The Clock is Ticking

from 08.09.2009

Congress is in recess and soon it will be September. And we, as a community, are running out of time.

We will have no better opportunity than the last seven months to effect major significant change on the LGBT struggle for freedom. We have sixty members of the Democratic party in the Senate, the President's credibility has been high, the nation was primed for major change and people are focused on their jobs and their livelihoods and not divisive social issues. Most likely by the end of the year, most of those factors will start to change and the struggle for our liberation will become more difficult. There is no guarantee that ever again in the Obama Administration will we have so much going for us to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," repeal DOMA and continue the march to the envitablity of marriage equality. Now is the not the time to pull back and wait on some neat and cozy time table.

Here we are well into the Obama administration and basically we have an executive 'memo' for federal employees rights that doesn't even cover insurance or pension. We had a good Gay Pride party at the White House and some talented people tapped for some appointments. Yet, that being said, right now not one openly LGBT Ambassador has been appointed. Hate Crimes has still not been officially passed. ENDA, which should be a no- brainer has not even been up for a vote. There has been no "stop-loss"order for our LGBT service members. DOMA still represents a major barrier to marriage equality. Obama has yet to make appearances outside the White House before LGBT groups. Not a peep has been spoken about Proposition 8 or even our victories in Iowa, Maine and New Hampshire. The White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, continues to dance around any LGBT issue. The record, so far, is dismal and sad.

It is not too late but the clock is ticking. There is no question now that neither the White House nor the Democratic Congress is going to make this easy for us. The ball is not in their court, it is in our court. We must be an aggressively unrelenting civil rights movement that will not accept any delay. Isn't it amazing that the crazies can fill Congressional Town Hall meetings waving tea bags and idiotically chanting "Just say no!", yet as a community after all the money spent over the years we still can't fill rooms at Town Hall meetings with people quietly and intelligently demanding justice and freedom for the LGBT community? Just exactly what are we doing? Can you imagine 250 Town Hall meeting packed with hundreds of people demanding an end to this American Apartheid? Where are our people? Where are our leaders? We have increasingly become invisible in this first year.

This is one of the reasons that I believe October's March for National Equality is so important. I have no idea how successful it will be nor how many will attend. I am encouraged, I am hopeful, but only a fool would give a sound prediction. But this I do know: Speaking up and making a statement in Washington on October 11 is better than silence and enabling our oppressors. 100,000 in Washington DC on October 11 is better than empty town hall meetings with our members of Congress. Gathering as a tribe to inspire our young and create a sense of community as we enter the next phase of our struggle for freedom is better than writing statements to urge our young to wait. These things I know without a doubt.

Next year we will be told that the LGBT community must be patient because we have to re-elect a Democratic Congress. After all, the Speaker has to get all those "Blue Dog Democrats" elected so we can maintain control and the President can continue his good work. I promise you they will be asking us to wait until 2011 and give us more empty promises.

Now is the time. No more "Oh Lord, Not Now" leadership. Fill a bus, fill a plane, get your straight friends and supportive family members and get to DC on October 11 and make some noise.

The clock is ticking.

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