Wednesday, February 25, 2004

reaping the whirlwind

When a political party, based on true belief or cynical politics, walls off a class or group of citizens, they lose trust that is hard to restore. Look at African American voters that abandoned the Republican party, in part as a result of the "Southern Strategy" of the 1970s. Or Hispanic voters who felt attacked by the California Republican Party under Pete Wilson.

The last wave of anti-gay attacks from Republicans came in the mid 1990s when the newly empowered majority thought they could use Congress to restrict the rights of gay Americans. The so-called Defense of Marriage Act came out of that, joined in part by gutless Democrats. Only a few brave souls stood up against it. Fortunately, little else passed, in part because the country did not share in the lust to hurt gay Americans.

Since then, a lot more people have come out of the closet. In the last presidential election, 4% of the voters self-identified themselves as gay. You have to think that a certain percentage would not have identified themselves, given the reasonable fear that some live with others discovering their sexual orientation.

Now this president leads the charge or at the least agrees to amending the U.S. Constitution. Why? To save marriage or to hurt gay famlies, support the religious right, and drive a political wedge in the country before a close election? There are some leaders who understand the effects of their actions and accept the outcome. There are others who think that the outcome will be a tempest, and that the reward will far outpay the cost.

Bill Clinton will always be stained with signing DOMA in the middle of the night. He did that and we should not forget it. It will always be a part of his legacy.

Now the stakes are higher. Gay families abound. The friends and relatives of gay families know about their loved ones.

If President Bush and Karl Rove do not pay a political price for this, then I am truly afraid for our country's future. Our country has pressing problems related to its security and its economy. But if the route to successful elections is making second class citizens, then we must ask, who's next?

1 comment:

qishaya said...
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