8.10.2007

Democrats Debate on LOGO

History was made last night. The Democratic Candidates running for President were on Logo last night discussing their stance on LGBT issues. My, how things change in three years. In the last Presidential election John Kerry made some half-hearted completely unclear statements about Civil Unions in which he tried to throw a wink at LGBT's to let us know he was secretly with us while attempting to appease the homophobics on the right who were actively legislating against gay marriage. His murky stance on this one LGBT-related issue is pretty much how he treated any issue in his campaign. And yet, he still managed to pull nearly 49% of the popular vote. Isn't that amazing?!?!



Anyway, last night was a first. Every candidate except Bill Richardson (who unexpectedly imploded onstage) supports the LGBT quest for equality. Only two of the candidates support Gay Marriage. All the rest (except Bill Richardson) support LGBT Civil Unions with the full legal rights of marriage. This is a tremendous leap forward in my quest for equality. It really is amazing. Three years ago I thought it was conceivable I'd have soon have to sport an armband with a pink triangle on it! (It's what the NAZI's did to the gays during Hitler's reign).

Last night, as I sat on my sofa watching the intro to the program I got a little misty-eyed. I was surprised by how much it meant to me to have these candidates discussing issues that directly effect my life, the lives of my children, and the life of my spouse.

Because I know someone in the blog-o-sphere cares about what I think about last night's proceedings...here's my two cents.

The candidates appeared in the order in which they confirmed. They were each given 15 minutes and faced one, sometimes two, questions from three panelists. Joe Solomenese: Executive Director of HRC, Melissa Etheridge: Rock Star, and Jonathan Capeheart: Journalist.


BARACK OBAMA

He remains very impressive and gets big points for being the first to confirm. He supports equality for everyone, not just LGBT's. That said, he won't go so far as to say "I support Gay Marriage". He's smart, he's articulate about issues (kind of like Bill Clinton was), and he's not easily rattled. By the end of his 15 minutes, he was just ready to get going and seemed bummed to have to leave the stage. I liked that. There was no "whew! I'm off the hot seat." Of all the candidates, he and Hillary Clinton were the ones who seemed the most Presidential.

Barack has very skinny ankles.


JOHN EDWARDS

I think he was the second candidate to take the stage - although Kucinich might actually have come second. Not a fan. And not because of his performance last night....although, he didn't help himself any in my book. Here's the feeling I get from John Edwards on all things: he starts to care about any particular issue a few weeks before he's going to speak about it. Depending on how important he thinks an issue is to voters - the more he engages with it. Last night, he talked about visiting the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center just two weeks earlier and how moved he was by his visit there. Ultimately, he claims, if more people could've seen what he did (the Center offers housing to displaced queer youth) they would change their mind on LGBT issues. He was stunned that people could (and do) disown their children when they come out. Ugh. I mean, I'm glad he visited the Center. It is an amazing place and they are doing some really great work for everyone in the LGBT community. But they've been doing it for over 20 years!!! He just learned about LGBT kids getting kicked out of by their parents two weeks ago?? So there you have it: ONE VISIT to the Center. Hmmm...for the AFL-CIO debate he claimed to have walked picket lines for the past TWO years. That's probably because he learned in the last election that in order to get the union vote, you have to actually do something to support the unions!

Please, Breck Girl has a long way to go. And being called a fag by Ann Coulter doesn't mean you automatically get the love (and votes) of LGBT's!


DENNIS KUCINICH

What's not to love?!?! This guy is a political wet dream for me. I just love him. Do I think he can be an effective President?? I'm not sure. He and I are, politically, separated at birth. I loved all that he had to say earlier in the week at the AFL-CIO debate. Last night, he had this sweet misty-eyed little speech about how devastated he'd be if he were unable to marry the person he loves. I think I have one of the Baby Bjorns I used for the girls in the garage someplace. I want to dig it out and just carry that Kucinich all over the campaign trail! He looks like he's wearing his dad's suits, like he needs to wash his hair, and that he smells of musty b.o. masked by patchouli....but I just LOVE him.

Thank God he's in the Senate doing great work. Yay Dennis!


BILL RICHARDSON

After the AFL-CIO debate earlier in the week I was kind of liking him. Not as a Presidential candidate but I thought he'd be a great V.P. for Clinton. But last night, the guy completely imploded. They asked him about saying maricon on Imus and he just never recovered. Did the guy prepare at all? Does he even know what L-G-B-T stands for?? He seemed to be so completely clueless about the issues facing the community and thought offering up domestic partnership laws in his state was plenty for us! It was just ugly. And his closing speech: I think you should vote for me because "I'm electable" and I want to do what's "acheivable" should disqualify him from the race! If he had said that onstage at the AFL-CIO debate they would've boo'd him off the stage. I think the audience last night was too stunned to boo.

It was kind of like the scene at the end of "Meaning of Life" when the obese man eats little bite of wafer and then explodes....KABOOOMMM!!!!!


MIKE GRAVEL

I didnt catch what the controversy was about his attending the event. It appears as though Joe Solomonese tried to block his participation. He and Kucinich are the only two candidates who support 100% equality for everyone. Gravel has pretty much fallen out of the race already because - it doesnt appear -- that he's a billionaire who can fund his own campaign. I liked him although in answering a question about african-americans and hiv/aids he ended up talking about drugs and the blight they are on the inner cities. It seemed like he heard african-american and went right to his drugs-gangs-all black men are in prison stump speech. It was unfortunate.

He did remind me a little bit of Ross Perot's V.P. who turned off his hearing aid during the debates. I was waiting for him to do something a little nutty.


HILLARY CLINTON

She looked fabulous. The black pants & camisole with that gorgeous, stunning red jacket. Girl, your stylist made you look hot for the gays!! Overall, I thought she did a good job. She gave a nice historical perspective to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- she reminded all of us that the passage of the policy basically ended the persecution of gays and lesbians in the military. Before "Dont Ask, Dont Tell" there was a witch hunt going on. If you were outed not only did you have to out others, you were dishonorably discharged. I appreciated that reminder. But it also goes to show how important it is to not compromise on equality. Gays and Lesbians are still being thrown out of the military -- which is stunning given the fact that they're offering up to $50,000 in incentives to get people to enlist right now!!! How can we accept anything less than full equality?? At the end of her 15 minutes, Hillary seemed like she was just getting warmed up. She was ready to talk about the issues and start a meaningful dialogue. I wish they had more time with her because I don't understand why Senator Clinton has "personal issues" with gay marriage. I'd like her to explain to Zoe & Ella (who want to plan our wedding once marriage is legal) why she believes it is wrong for her mom's to get married. Senator Clinton, I'll happily bring my kids by your office so you can explain your hateful prejudice to my children. Just let me know when.


Lastly, my round-up. I am so thankful, proud, elated, and moved that HRC and LOGO put together this forum. To LOGO, this is what you should be doing!!! Please don't be afraid to tackle political issues and facilitate dialogue/discourse for our community. I so wish the Republican candidates would've accepted your offer to attend this forum. Granted, they wouldn't have had anything pleasant to talk about!!! Don't shy away from the issues facing our community and creating an environment where they can be discussed. That was good work last night and as a free basic cable service this is how you should use your capital (to borrow from Mike Gravel). So thank you. I promise to watch your network more!


Where do I come out in all of this? Whom do I support? I'm not sure yet. If I was voting merely on social issues I'd go with Kucinich. God, I love that little guy! Talk about conviction! Otherwise, it boils down to Hillary or Barack. I think the biggest issue our next President faces is the United States position in the World. We're losing footing rapidly. The domestic issues (healthcare, education, pension reform) are important but if we don't right our international position immediately, I dont know if we'll ever recover. We need a President who can repair the grossly mismanaged war in Iraq before it bankrupts our nation, stop the devaluation of the dollar, get the trade deficit under control, regain the United States diplomatic credibility, and -- with any luck -- stop selling off our debt to China. As I see it, the most qualified candidate to do this is Hillary Clinton. She's perhaps the most qualified candidate we've EVER had. Certainly in my political life. I think Barack has the chops -- and he's certainly as experienced as many past Presidents (including Bill Clinton) but the breadth of Hillary's experience, her ability to see the big picture, her calmness, and her guts make me think she's the best person for the job. But that's this week. I haven't decided completely and, God knows, there's 450 days until the general election!! Feel free to educate me on other candidates. I'm open to it.

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