On inauguration day, the queer Democratic Party A-listers are falling all over themselves to apologize for Obama.
Melissa Etheridge is perhaps the most visible example. According to her, gay people should “prove Warren wrong” about LGBT folks by working with his charities.
Easy for her to say. She’s a millionaire, and Warren’s success with Prop 8 simply created a few hundred thousand dollars in extra legal bills to protect her family — something she can easily afford.
Queer media mogul Chris Crain defends Obama from all criticism and paints Obama’s detractors as “unrealistic” and “over the top.”
Crain, who apparently did quite well in selling off his gay newspaper holdings, has the luxury of being able to live with his Brazilian boyfriend most of the year — without a job.
HRC’s Joe Solomonese has taken great pains to defend the Democratic Party from criticism from the LGBT community. And it’s not too difficult for him to overcome the barriers created by anti-gay laws, given that he makes a quarter-million dollars a year.
But what of one of my friends here in Philadelphia — who earns, in a good year, perhaps 15% of what Solomenese does? He and his non-US-citizen boyfriend live in clandestine fear because DOMA doesn’t respect their relationship for immigration purposes.
He doesn’t have millions to hire his husband as an employee, or hundreds of thousands of dollars allowing him to live a life of leisure in his spouse’s country, “waiting for the right moment to make change happen.” Every day they have together, undiscovered by INS agents, is a lucky day. Their lives are filled with uncertainty. The old adages to “move to Canada” also don’t apply, since neither is a “skilled worker.”
What of the high school graduates who looked to the military as perhaps their only decent career option — only to face the prospect of being discharged despite honorable service records by the military’s anti-gay policy? They lack fancy black-tie dinner invitations, Ivy League degrees, inheritances, or multi-platinum singles. For them, each day is like a ticking time bomb.
What of the LGBT couples with children, whose legal status as parents can be put in jeopardy by demogoguery in the statehouse? They often don’t have large pools of wealth to relocate to expensive locales where their rights are better recognized. Each day that passes by is a lucky one if they aren’t harrassed by state employees or face the loss of custody of their children.
For these people, and many others, each day that passes by feels like an eternity. They do not have the power, wealth and access that comes with political jobs.
So why is it that their voices continue to be ignored and belittled, by those who arguably have the least to lose by continuing the status quo?
A little perspective is in order on this inauguration day. The suffering and challenges imposed by the priorities of the wealthy and connected political class should be acknowledged — and challenged — by all people of good conscience.