Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The most important election of our lives, Part 459

Cut and paste. 

That's what all the arguments in favor of 1) voting 2) for the Democrats come down to every election season.  The arguments are literally cut and pasted from the previous election.  For a community whose stereotype is creativity, this is unacceptable and intolerable.

I hate this argument because it joins two separate ideas:  1) we should vote for Democrats (today's code word is "equality-minded") and 2) we have to vote in this election.

But there something missing from the "Vote or Die" crowd:  voting and electing an "equality-minded" politicians does not guarantee that they will advance lgbt equality.  As this movement's recent experiences with the Democrats should make clear, without pressure from below, every equality-minded candidate transforms into a "reality-minded politician" when they take office.  After all, EVERYTHING takes precedence over lgbt equality in DC.

After what we've seen from the Democrats in every election since 2006, I hope there is no one who can disagree with the claim that politicians are under no obligation to abide by the wishes and expectations of the people who voted them into office.  Yes, Virgina, even the Democrats.  What we've seen from the Democrats over the last several elections is they run for office with one set of speeches and when they win, they govern with an entirely different set of speeches. 

Voting for "equality-minded" politicians is a dead end and a waste of time.  As a strategy, it will not get us to where we want to be.  One needs to remember that Richard Nixon was the most liberal president this century.  Why?  Because he was forced to respond to the social movements of the day and that is why we have OSHA, the EPA, Earth Day, affirmative action, SSI, and more.  Nixon was more liberal than Clinton.  Why?  Whereas the social movements of his day kept the pressure on Nixon and forced him to respond, Clinton snapped his fingers and the liberal groups played dead during his terms ("don't pressure him, he's got a lot on his plate") and he moved to the right.  That is the way of the Democrats.  They are a right-wing party that uses lefty rhetoric when they run for office.

To all who read this:  our movement needs to break out of its rut of obsession with the doings of rich people in Washington DC (ie the politicians).  It's not what THEY do that matters so much as what WE do.  What are WE doing?  Right now, we're begging for rights.  That's because our movement is weak (ten people blogging about the latest professional homophobe's actions and twenty people sitting in is not a mass movement).  When our movement is STRONGER, the politicians respond to US instead of us responding to the politicians.  For most of us, especially those of us who were not around to see the 1960s, this is unfamiliar territory because we've NEVER seen social movements large enough and strong enough to pressure politicians (no doubt in small part to Gay Inc's depoliticization of the movement), but it can and it must happen if we are to advance.  Can we have a moratorium on the "look what they did now" postings?

If we find it strange or even impossible to imagine participating in a social movement that is powerful enough to force the hands of politicians, then it's time to break from activism and read up on the history of social movements, especially the granddaddy of them all, the African-American civil rights movement.  We can't keep making the same mistakes and repeating the same actions every election and expect things to be different.

No comments:

Post a Comment