Monday, August 30, 2004

Real contact with your congressman

Well, I got to hold Ben Chandler's feet to the fire.

Last Saturday, he attended the rally the Greater Lexington Democratic Women’s Club held. We wound up next to each other in the hot dog line, and I took him to task for his vote in favor of HR 3313, the ‘Marriage Protection Act’. He basically said that he had to keep his seat – it was a trap the GOP was trying to set for Dems – and that 90% of his contacts had asked him to vote the way he did. I said, ‘Those people weren’t going to vote for you anyway; they’re voting Republican.”

His answer: “If 90% of the people don’t vote for me, I’m not going to get elected.”

The so-called 90% are rabid fundies, who don’t represent most of the voters out there. Most of the voters I have met while canvassing are clueless about anti-gay initiatives, and wouldn't call or write their congressman unless their nuts were in a vise. The fundamentalists aren't going to vote for Republican-lite Democrats when they can have the real thing, so all he did was upset part of his own natural voter base.

Ben Chandler seems to think these fundamentalists do represent the majority of voters. He said he wasn’t interested in sponsoring anything like 'friend of the straight people' Dan Mongiardo did, but I am not very comforted in the thought that if he really is sympathetic, he's too chickensh*t to do what's right. The gay community will probably sit out the vote on his seat in November, just like they're planning to do with 'Dr. Dan', and Chandler may lose because of it. The race is that close.

The next day, I discovered that not only had we held up the hot dog line, but I’d called him ‘dude’ at least 8 times….

Making friends and influencing people,

Sarah G

Friday, August 27, 2004

In case you wonder where I've been...

...or even if you don't...

My partner and I have been holed up with our PCs trying to complete our manuscripts for Derby Rotten Scoundrels Too, the sequel to Derby Rotten Scoundrels.

The contributing authors all belong to the Sisters in Crime - Ohio River Valley chapter. Gwen and I have been members for about 14 months now.

Isn't it nice to know that the world is bigger than LBGTI politics? I'll be ranting again soon, I'm sure...

Sarah G

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Grassroots Astroturf is with us

Today's Daily Kos reports that canned letters praising GWB are being spammed to your daily newspapers as pretend 'Letters to the Editor'. It's pretty ingenious; you pick from several paragraphs, offered in their spin cafeteria, and they are inserted into the letter. They even mail it to your local paper based on your ZIP code.

While 'talking points' are nothing new, most papers still insist, like schools, that people submit original material.

I have already contacted several of the major KY newspapers about this, plus a few in other states. Readers may want to contact their own papers to prevent a flood of prewritten advertising from filling the editorial page.

Sarah G

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

You may have guessed...

...that I am somewhat dissatisfied with the actions of our soi-disant 'allies', the Democratic Party.

Guess what? You're right.

We do have allies within the party, certainly many more than among the ranks of the GOP, but only the most principled stick by us when the chips are down. For the majority, the LBGTI community is a constituency to get votes and money from - but an embarrassing one.

And we aid and abet that attitude with our behavior.

We treat ourselves as less worthy, and apologize for even bringing the subject of our treatment up. When we are threatened, we don't act to defend ourselves; we don't want to be visible. The campaign fighting the Kentucky amendment needs more people to canvass, but the community is deaf to their pleas. I have had less trouble getting straight people to volunteer; the gay community is afraid they will melt in the light of day - or standing on someone's doorstep. They act ashamed of themselves, which reinforces the views of the public.

The campaigns across the country trying to fight the rash of assaults in state constitutions are having trouble sending a direct message to the public, because they are afraid it will backfire on them. Instead, the Missouri folks tried claiming that the amendment was unnecessary because same-sex marriage was already illegal. This didn't work, because everybody knew that a court ruling could overturn it. I suspect the public viewed it as dodging the issue, and assumed that even gay people knew it was 'sinful' - reinforcing the party line of the Christian Right.

It is time for us to retake the high road from the bigots. We are the ones advocating equality, commitment, and protection of families. We are the ones not bowing to the spiritual slavers that have terrified the politicians. We are the heroes here. It's time to begin acting like them!

Sarah G

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Edwards Shoots Himself In the Foot

As you might imagine, I am in a bad mood about the landslide victory of the anti-gay amendment in Missouri. And concerned, of course, but probably not as concerned as the HRC folks who spearheaded the MO campaign. Or the poor people in Louisiana that are next on the sacrificial block of hate politics.

What I find more offensive is that John Edwards says he and John Kerry have "no objection" to the vote. "We're both opposed to gay marriage and believe that states should be allowed to decide this question."

Okay, so he's citing states' rights. I'm Southern; I understand the argument. Unfortunately, it sends a couple of strong messages to gays supporting the Kerry-Edwards ticket:

1) It's okay to remove HUMAN rights if enough people don't like you - they won't object;
2) They are only our friends and supporters when convenient;
3) They take your vote for granted.

Unfortunately, this is going to backfire on them. Considering the narrow margin between Kerry and Bush, they really aren't in a position to be encouraging any part of their constituency to stay home on November 2nd or to cast a protest vote for Nader. But voicing solidarity with the MO vote is going to do just that. Plus, the people most vehemently against gay marriage are not going to vote for Kerry-Edwards anyway, since they tend to be Bush supporters. Why else would the Republicans be pushing for state amendments across the country instead of shoring up Dubya's many deficiencies?

The gays in VA are moving out-of-state. This is what will happen in many other places if these amendments pass. Gays leaving will warm the hearts of many 'loving' Christians, but the long-term effects on the state Democratic parties will be devastating. The people the party is trying to appeal to aren't going to vote 'Republican-Lite' when they can have the real bigots.

Sarah G