23rd 2008
It’s a Festivus Miracle!

Posted under: American history, Gender, GLBTQ, Intersectionality, women's history

Via TalkLeft, Richard Cohen in the Washington Post this morning:

I can understand Obama’s desire to embrace constituencies that have rejected him. Evangelicals are in that category and Warren is an important evangelical leader with whom, Obama said, “we’re not going to agree on every single issue.” He went on to say, “We can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans.” Sounds nice.

But what we do not “hold in common” is the dehumanization of homosexuals. What we do not hold in common is the belief that gays are perverts who have chosen their sexual orientation on some sort of whim. What we do not hold in common is the exaltation of ignorance that has led and will lead to discrimination and violence.

Oh, you mean like this story (via Corrente) about a lesbian being gang-raped last weekend and left naked on the street in California?  Yeah, that sounds like violent discrimination to me.  Over to you again, Richard:

Finally, what we do not hold in common is the categorization of a civil rights issue — the rights of gays to be treated equally — as some sort of cranky cultural difference. For that we need moral leadership, which, on this occasion, Obama has failed to provide. For some people, that’s nothing to celebrate.

We don’t negotiate with terrorists, so we shouldn’t negotiate with people’s civil rights.  (Especially not other people’s rights.  Nor should we vote on them, because no one else’s civil rights are ever as vital or as important as yours, are they?)  Even Richard Cohen understands this, people!  How much more conventional do you really need your wisdom? 

(Cake via Cakewrecks.  There’s a place for us–somewheres!)


9 Responses to “It’s a Festivus Miracle!”

  1. GayProf on 23 Dec 2008 at 11:49 am #

    After the tepid interest Obama showed in GLBTQ folk during the campaign and the crushing vote on Prop 8, we all were deeply concerned that he would toss us aside as a political expedient. The unapologetic invitation to Warren only escalates those concerns.

  2. Historiann on 23 Dec 2008 at 11:59 am #

    Right on, GayProf. It seems to me that Obama could have included Warren in a task force on poverty or global warming, if he really wanted to reach out to him in a very manly and heterosexual fashion, rather than honoring him with this particular gig. I heard someone defend this call recently as “well, evangelicals are Americans too and they deserve to be included.” Right on to that–but have evangelical Protestant Americans really felt themselves denigrated and not included in the American body politic over the past several years? Although many of them may play the victim and pretend like they’re a persecuted minority group, they’re not. There are, however, other people in the Dem coalition who have explicitly been told that they’re not American: Arab Americans, other brown and black Americans, and gay Americans, just to name a few hundred million.

  3. koshem bos on 23 Dec 2008 at 1:21 pm #

    A long line of groups have been tossed under the bus by Obama. LGBTQ is the most visible and talked about, but jailed Americans, half of which shouldn’t be a jail, are next (Holder is for tough crime policy). The poor and anyone else not in the middle class has been under the bus for a while. Lately, since Ken Salazar’s ascension to the interior, mines and forests were also relegated to the under the bus.

    Actually, it’s quite crowded under the bus, while in the bus there are a handful of revelers.

  4. Judith on 23 Dec 2008 at 2:54 pm #

    Well said. I’m getting a bit queasy about all the people who keep reminding me that we’re an Obama Nation and that “hey, Obama mentioned gay people in several of his speeches! He says he cares about you! Isn’t that enough progress for you?” No, it’s not. This is what kept me from feeling entirely proud and happy when I filled in the bubble next to his name on Election Day. I knew that when push came to shove, if he was looking a deal in the face and we were the ones that had to be thrown under the bus, then under the bus we’d go. He’s a good guy, but sadly I can’t trust him. It’s Clinton and DATD/DOMA all over again. (Hillary 2016?)

  5. Roxie on 23 Dec 2008 at 3:58 pm #

    Amen, everybody. It occurs to me that if all of us who are under the bus start pushing and lifting and lifting and pushing, we might just be able to roll the damn bus right over. It would serve them right, those smug few revelers who are left in the bus.

    Meantime, the drivers of Roxie’s World still have the Hillary stickers on their bumpers. Ready to rumble in 2016, if not sooner.

  6. Emma on 23 Dec 2008 at 6:03 pm #

    “It’s Clinton and DATD/DOMA all over again.”

    Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was forced on Bill Clinton by a hostile Democratic Congress, led by GA Democrat Sam Nunn who led televised tours through submarines to demonstrate that the narrow passageways would inevitably lead to sexual assault of straight sailors by gay sailors who wouldn’t be able to restrain themselves in such intimate quarters.

    Also, I was a lesbian in the marines prior to don’t ask, don’t tell. I had gotten out prior to Clinton’s election. Believe me, DADT was an improvement over what had gone before. No, it’s not great and abuse still happens. But it wasn’t Bill Clinton that sold us out.

    Please don’t propagate the lie that Clinton sold out with DADT. DADT isn’t the least bit comparable to Obama’s affirmative decision to provide a homophobic, sexist bigot the presidential seal of approval. Clinton was forced into a compromise. Obama chose this path of bigotry after a crushing election victory over McCain. There are real, material differences here.

  7. prof bw on 24 Dec 2008 at 9:35 am #

    I am deeply concerned about both Warren and the other Pastor Obama has invited as neither support gay marriage or homosexuality. Alarm bells started when he coldly dismissed a teary-eyed college student at one of his talks for asking about gay marriage. I think what began as privilege (ie not questioning what choosing Warren means) has turned into unapologetic acknowledgment that not so deep down he does gay rights are less relevant than other issues . . . The text of his initial response and then his official statement also seem to resurrect the “two Americas” of the Republican platform in which GLBTQ people are just “disagreeable” left coasters. Given the burden of blame laid at the feet of black people for prop 8 (despite rapidly and oft debunked CNN exit poll numbers), his decision has the further problem of tearing down tenuously rebuilt allegiances and further entrenching the underlying offensive assumptions on both sides that tore those allegiances apart in the first place.

    (this is my wordy way of saying “ditto. and thanks for writing this.”)

  8. Priya on 25 Dec 2008 at 6:58 pm #

    Not so much a miracle, unfortunately. Richard Cohen’s sister is gay, hence his seemingly intelligent take on the Rick Warren choice. Otoh, it’s nice to know he isn’t being inconsistent, right? I like consistency!

  9. Historiann on 26 Dec 2008 at 8:16 am #

    Richard Cohen has proved to be profoundly stupid on any number of topics over the last several years, although it’s good that his lesbian sister may have steered him correctly on this one issue. (Just go to and search “Richard Cohen” if you want to see the atrocities documented in real time by Bob Somerby.)

    So, any time Cohen makes sense–it’s a miracle!

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