Guest column by David Mixner – DADT: The Ultimate American Tragedy

DADT: The Ultimate American Tragedy

by David Mixner, Live from Hell’s Kitchen

My policy generally is not to write or speak while angry. Anger has a tendency to blur my ability to think rationally. But quite honestly at this moment I have no desire to be rational. The failure of the United States Senate to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” yet again is an American tragedy. Yesterday, our elected officials continued their path of shame on this issue by failing to join the rest of the civilized world in allowing members of the LGBT community to serve their country honorably. What a disgrace.

Despite efforts to make this vote about procedures and politics, every one of us know this vote was about freedom and justice. Most importantly it was about the right of every American citizen to serve their country with honor and dignity.

Absolutely pay no attention to those who talk about procedures and the need for more debate. That is just total nonsense and doesn’t hold up no matter how you examine it. These senators have had nearly 18 years and over 14,000 discharges to figure out this policy. They have had their impact study. The Pentagon has signed off in favor of changing this policy. There have been numerous hearings and more information disseminated on this issue than any sane person can consume in a lifetime. Those who hold up the smoke screen of procedures are hiding behind a cloud of politics are simply cowards or homophobia – or both.

Make no mistake about it. Those are the only two options at this stage.

First the White House with support of our national organizations have made a horrible strategic mistake in not voting on this issue in the first year of the Presidency. They should be held accountable in some form. We would have not had Senator Kirk (R-Ill), Senator Manchin (D-WVa) or Senator Brown (R-Mass) voting “no” because all those votes would have been “yes” from the previous senators who held those seats. Those votes would have been Byrd (D-WVa), Burris (D-Illinois) and either Kennedy/Kirk (Democrats from Massachusetts). That would have given us sixty and maybe even an extra vote or so.

Second, thank you for Senator Susan Collins for being the sole vote from the Republican Party. You gave us a lot of grief in leading up to the vote but in the end you did the right thing. And despite my differences with Senator Lieberman, he deserves enormous thanks for fighting hard for the passage of DADT. He has not given up yet and there is still an outside shot we might succeed.

Third, there should be a special place in hell for Senator Brown of Massachusetts and Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine. Both represent states that are overwhelmingly for repeal of DADT. The LGBT community and our allies should throw everything we have to defeat them in the next election. Fight Back USA? Like Fight Back New York we should hand them their walking papers. No one should contribute any funds to any group that will contribute to Democratic Senator Manchin of West Virginia. We should never forget his betrayal. Finally Senator Lincoln was at the dentist. I guess every reason we challenged her in the primary proved to be true.

Fourth, the vote was a cloture vote and not one on DADT. Why don’t we add it as an amendment to the President’s compromise keeping the Bush Tax Cuts and let us filibuster until it is added and passed! Let the Republicans explain to the CEO’s why their hatred of the LGBT community is holding up their tax breaks. Let’s give them hell. Let’s fight back and not roll over one more time and take another blow to our dignity and honor.

America had another dark moment in its history yesterday. However, the LGBT community will never give up no matter what the odds, how dark and how many obstacles placed in our way. We will fight in the courts. We will fight in the streets. We will fight at the ballot box. We will fight in our neighborhoods, schools and religious institutions. This much is certain – we will fight and we will win. Nothing you can do will stop our inevitable march to freedom.

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—  admin

Guest column by David Mixner – LGBT Community: What Now?

LGBT Community: What Now?

by David Mixner, Live from Hell’s Kitchen

As a community we must pause and give careful consideration to our strategy given the new political reality. We should not be shy about examining any aspect of our past leadership or strategy in an attempt to understand what will be the most effective approach in our future. Clearly the paradigm has changed on election day.

What is very clear is that is the national strategy of a delaying votes on our action items for freedom over the last two years turned out to be disastrous mistake. Many of us urgently begged for our President and our national organizations not to delay action or we would face a new Congress. Well, that is exactly what happened although no one could have forecast the landslide that took place.

Legislation: The prospects of passing ENDA and repealing DOMA and DADT are slim to none. No matter what the military report says in December the Republicans in Congress are not about to allow LGBT citizens into the military. Our only hope is that the Department of Justice will drop its appeal (yeah, right) or the President issues a stop loss order. I wouldn’t hold our collective breath. Although we ‘control’ the Senate remember this is more a Senate of the Ben Nelsons and Max Baucuses then of our liberal friends. Nothing can get done without their support. Our opportunities have mostly vanished with our inaction over the last two years and we face a tough new world. If the courts continue to side with us, expect the ‘constitutional marriage amendment’ to be revived and we could be in trouble.

The Courts: If I was giving money today it would be to those pushing court cases. We seem to be doing better there than anywhere. Who knows if the shift in political climate will make judges more timid or not? The Bois/Olson Proposition 8 case takes on a new urgency. The appeal by President Obama of the Judge Virginia Phillips case could haunt us for years to come as a missed opportunity.

Politically: First and foremost, we most continue to put enormous energy into electing our own. Over 100 openly LGBT candidates were elected around the country on Tuesday. And in the Republican tidal wave, everyone of our Congress people were re-elected with an addition of one new member. There is no substitute for our own holding power.

The LGBT struggle for civil rights is not an appendage of any political party. Freedom has no Party. Our national organizations must remember that they do not work for the President or the Democratic Party. Our LGBT leaders work for and are accountable to us and no one else. We cannot allow outsiders to continue to define the strategy and then blithely follow it. Never again should we be afraid to exercise real power and play tough when we have the opportunity to advance forward. And please, no more condescending lectures about how we don’t understand how Washington works.

As we continue with the dialogue about what is next we should be respectful of all of our brothers and sisters. There is a lot to discuss. None of us has all the answers but we are doomed if we don’t carefully reflect on election day and what is next.

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—  admin

Mixner on Obama: ‘He has failed us miserably. This could have had been all over yesterday.’

Another must read from David Mixner:

As you listened to President Obama on MTV yesterday about DADT, you couldn’t help but feel he was whispering sweet nothings into your ear and seeing someone else on the side. Nothing in his words match his actions. In fact, the decision to appeal the DADT Federal Court decision is tragic with powerful consequences. The Department of Justice, in appealing the case, is morally wrong and cowardly.

The message being sent by Secretary of Defense Gates and the Obama team deeply is ingrained with homophobia. What it basically says is that being a LGBT soldier is such an abnormal concept that we need to be studied, examined and have a special process all just for us! That instead of abiding by the court decision the entire military will be thrown into chaos and the world will come unraveled. Isn’t it amazing that we never knew as a community that we had the power to threaten the entire military structure, the ability to conduct war and are so scary to the United States government?

This whole column is brilliants. Here’s the conclusion:

Empty promises of action in the future no longer work Mr. President. The odds of either a lame duck Congress or a new Republican dominated Congress tackling DADT after this year’s elections is not promising. You know it and so do I.

The President had a moment where he could have exercised greatness and powerful moral leadership. Instead, he chose ‘process’ and ‘politics’ over justice and freedom. He once again refused even to issue a ‘stop loss order’ while his precious process takes place. No matter what happens in the future, the President will never again regain his moral high ground on this issue. He has failed us miserably. This could have had been all over yesterday.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Mixner on Obama and marriage

David Mixner:

First and foremost, the LGBT struggle is one of the great civil rights movement of our times. Given that, quite honestly, there is simply no logical personal or political reason for President Obama to be against marriage equality. At this stage there can only be two conclusions: that he is a political coward or that he does indeed hold prejudice against LGBT citizens. Nothing else fits at this stage. No one can make any more excuses and no one can justify his position any longer. Looking at the facts, the statistics, the political reality and at the President’s current position one can only say “Shame on you, Mr. President. Shame on you.”

This weekend two factors forced me to focus on his lack of leadership on this issue. One was a brilliant article in the New Republic by Richard Just entitled simply “Disgrace” and the other was a chart published in The New York Times showing the massive change in support across the country for marriage equality. Combine that with a recent CNN poll that showed 52% of Americans believe now that marriage equality is a Constitutional Right and you see how ridiculous his position has become before the public.

The President should look to his fellow Democrats for courage. Overwhelmingly, Democrats now support marriage equality.

The [New Republic] article concludes with this amazing paragraph. Please read these lines very carefully. The highlighted parts are mine.

But, while he may not realize it, Obama is already leading on gay marriage; he is just leading in the wrong direction. Every time Obama or a surrogate reiterates his position, it reinforces the idea that gay marriage is a bit too scary for the political mainstream. Worse, Obama’s stance seems to be a way of conveying to the country that he knows a lot of people still aren’t completely comfortable admitting gays and lesbians as full participants in American life, and that this is OK because he isn’t either. It is about the most cynical gesture you can imagine from an allegedly liberal leader—and we deserve better. I am speaking to you as an American, Mr. Obama.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Guest column by David Mixner: Mr. President, Enough Of The Politics, Step Up To The Plate

Mr. President, Enough Of The Politics, Step Up To The Plate

by David Mixner, Live from Hell’s Kitchen

After the Proposition 8 historic decision came down on Wednesday, my email box was flooded with people from every walk of life issuing press releases praising the victory. The Republican Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t be more excited for the LGBT community in our victory. Justice and equality was having a good day and everyone was basking in it.

Well, not quite everyone. Our President, our fierce advocate, continued with a game of giving us begrudgingly congratulations in a tepid unemotional and uninspired statement while sending his minions out to make sure the entire country knew that he was against marriage equality. If there was anyone that should sit down and read this opinion it would be this son of an interracial couple who had to go to Supreme Court to obtain marriage equality.

Unfortunately, he didn’t even mention the court case in his two line statement. However, David Axelrod found plenty of time to go on national television to make sure the country knew that Obama was against marriage equality. Then there was the cowardly “nameless source” who said the President would only deal with those actions at the federal level such as benefits and things.

This game has to stop. The President is either with us or against us. If he is neutral, so be it but then stop hurting us by saying over and over how marriage equality is between a man and a women. He should pay close attention to the line in Judge Walker’s decision that says,

“Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. ”

With this case he could no longer hide behind the fact that the Attorney General would have to intervene against us. The case does not involve the federal government. The issue is here to stay. As much as they wish, they can’t manage it politically for their convenience. Mr. President, that is no longer possible. The surge toward marriage equality is even going to be stronger in this coming Presidential election. In fact, the Supreme Court could even rule one way or another before the election.

For the President, an enormous amount is at stake surrounding this issue and it goes far beyond marriage equality. Is the President going to seize this moment in history and become a great leader or will others have to lead him? Is he going to be remembered as Harry Truman or more like those Senators in the 1960′s who walked a fine line attempting to appease all sides in that great epic struggle for civil rights?.

Now is the time, Mr. President for you to lead, not tomorrow but today. We want you by our sides. If not, you will be the one that will always be remembered for standing on the sidelines without courage. With or without your leadership, nothing is going to stop our inevitable march to freedom.

And in his earlier post about the Prop 8 decision, he shared this important point to underscore, given the historic decision brought to bear by allies from opposite ends of the political spectrum. That fact alone – that this marriage equality battle is not a conservative or liberal matter at all — it inoculates this decision from usual right-wing arguments.

My love, respect and honor always will be given to David Boies and Ted Olson. They have earned a place on the walls of our homes. These two straight men from different political histories have united in the cause of justice. They are true heroes. The American Foundation for Equal Rights will need our money and support to fight the appeals. Special thanks has to go to Chad Griffin who has been with this since day one.

You just click here right now and send them some money to make sure we have everything we need to win this case before the Supreme Court.

***

An aside — today I met up with David and former Clinton White House insider Richard Socarides for what I Tweeted snarkily as “At BlogHer, but leaving in a bit to meet w/Richard Socarides and David Mixner about next steps in The Homosexual Agenda and “There were evil laughs and Dr. Evil pinkies in full expression.”

I won’t disclose our secret plans, but David Mixner made a bold prediction for the record on the outcome of this Prop 8 case — he thinks it will be a SCOTUS win for us 6-3 (with the dissenters Scalia, Alito, and Thomas). Why? The key is Chief Justice John Roberts  – in the end he will vote with us because he doesn’t want “his court” to be on the wrong side of history. Bookmark this post so we can check back…in late 2011/early 2012. We all figure SCOTUS will get this case fairly quickly in the scheme of legal timetables.

That will be a boatload of trouble for President Obama’s current ridiculous position that this is a matter up to the states and that civil unions are an adequate separate-but-equal solution.
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—  John Wright