I apologize for the fact that a number of the posts in the next month or so will probably be referencing events that have long passed and been blogged about, but I’ve been amassing things I want to talk about, and I still want to! The first of these is the New Yorker cover that had everyone up in arms a few weeks ago. People were freaking the hell out before it even showed up in my mailbox, and my reaction was “uh, really?”
As the cartoon in the Post and accompanying comment by Howard Wasserman point out, there is context here. It’s the New Yorker. It’s irreverent. I thought it was pretty darn clear that the point of the cover was to poke fun at the absurdity of equating Obama’s race, “fist jabs,” and middle name with terrorism. I found it funny. I think a lot of other New Yorker subscribers would agree. The Daily Show did a great piece on the ridiculousness of it all, as well.
But the first things I heard of the cover were from Feministe and Feministing. Commenters on both blogs recognized the joke, but argued that only the “elite readership” would get it and that it was inappropriate as a “recruitment poster for the right wing.” Frankly, I’m not so worried. I think people, elite or not, are smart enough to know that Obama is not a terrorist. Considering the barrage of images and suggestions those who watch the television media get on a daily basis, I can’t imagine that the New Yorker would have a greater impact – unless, of course, mainstream media decided to latch onto the cover and talk it to death until people started wondering if… oh, wait.
I’ve been wanting to start this blog for a while, and the last thing I expected to start it with was a political rant. However, my mom sent me a link to this interview with Senator Obama in the Advocate and it annoyed me enough to need to rant about it.
I do appreciate that Obama is finally speaking to the “gay media,” and he does agree with me on some key issues. I get that Hillary has pretty much shot herself in the foot, and as much as I really want her to be President, at this point I doubt it’s going to happen (in 2008, anyway). But the bottom line is, I don’t trust Obama. I’m not voting for McCain, but I haven’t made up my mind yet on whether I’m going to vote in the first place. I know I should, and I get the whole “not voting is voting for the guy you don’t want” argument, but frankly, it makes my stomach hurt and my skin tingle to vote for Obama.
For a while, I haven’t trusted him on gay issues. The whole scandal with Donnie McClurken, which got far less media coverage than I expected, made me very worried. Why didn’t the campaign just apologise? I don’t think Obama himself is anti-gay. I’ve never thought that. However, I do think that he would, in some situations, be willing to abandon his stance on gay issues. I think Hillary was bold and upfront about gay issues in her campaign. She said things I didn’t agree with, but she was straightforward. Obama’s doing too little too late. He knows he has to have a stance on LGBT issues, and he takes one, but it’s couched in vague, general language. Yes, I think it would be great if our country were at a point where “equality” in general terms could be used instead of addressing issues that plague specific communities. It would be great if sexuality didn’t matter. But unfortunately, it does, and I’m not convinced that when pushed comes to shove, Obama won’t just let gay issues slide in favour of “general equality” – aka, not ruffling feathers
I don’t think it’s fair to say “silence” on gay issues. The gay press may feel like I’m not giving them enough love. But basically, all press feels that way at all times. Obviously, when you’ve got a limited amount of time, you’ve got so many outlets. We tend not to do a whole bunch of specialized press. We try to do general press for a general readership.
Fair enough. I understand that the candidates have limited time. If that were all it was, I’d shut up and blog about things I’d much rather be talking about (believe me, politics doesn’t normally get me going like this).
So I actually have been much more vocal on gay issues to general audiences than any other presidential candidate probably in history.
Uh. I’m not sure this is true. I think Hillary’s probably spoke as much about gay issues as he has to general audiences. Either way, framing it like that seems a little fishy to me. Let’s say, for example (I’m making these numbers up entirely), Hillary talked about gay issues 20 times with gay audiences and 10 times with “general” audiences. Now let’s say that Obama talked about gay issues 20 times with general audiences. Guess what? That’s still fewer times.
I guess my point would be that the fact that I’m raising issues accordant to the LGBT community in a general audience rather than just treating you like a special interest that is sort of off in its own little box — that, I think, is more indicative of my commitment.
Gay rights are not “special rights.” If that’s what the Senator is saying, I wholeheartedly agree. However, the fact is, though gay people are asking for rights that all people should have, the fact is that we don’t have some of those general rights, just like other minorities and women. I don’t think we should be put in a box, but you do need to address certain rights in a particularised way. Then, on whether he’s seeking a full repeal of DOMA:
I don’t know. But my commitment is to try to make sure that we are moving in the direction of full equality, and I think the federal government historically has led on civil rights — I’d like to see us lead here too.
As I said, I think the LGBT community has every right to push for what it thinks is right. And I think that it’s absolutely fair to ask me for leadership, and my argument would be that I’m ahead of the curve on these issues compared to 99% of most elected officials around the country on this issue. So I think I’ve shown leadership.