I think that John Aravosis over at America Blog and some other leaders of the gay community have gone too far in calling for a donor boycott of the DNC, as they have done today, because of their perceived lack of progress by the Obama administration on the major gay issues of the day. Aravosis lists in manifesto style a number of grievances in his “don’t ask don’t give” call for a boycott.
He then goes on to demand that the Obama administration immediately address the major concerns of the gay community. They want what they want when then want it I guess. The list includes all the major concerns of the gay community, including repeal or reform of DATA, DOMA and ENDA before we should once again begin sending our donations to the DNC. I guess we are suppose to not make contributions up until the 2010 elections if necessary even though common sense would tell you that most of these issues have little real chance of being resolved even if the Obama administration started today with new resolve to address them.
Aravosis has been rather out spoken in his on going attacks on the President’s agenda, gay and otherwise, since the election. But what appears to fuel the attacks on the President is Aravosis somewhat personal agenda and timetable on the lack of progress by the new administration on gay issues. Aravosis may of been pushed over the edge by comments made last week by the treasurer of the DNC who indicated in a leaked email that America Blog continuing attacks on Obama were at the heart of growing "gay problem". America Blog editor and co-boycott creator when ballistic in a response and Sudbay and Aravoisis have probably been stewing for payback every since.
Today we got the announcement of the boycott. Making me think that the boycott is more about John Aravosis personally and America Blog then a constructive ways to bring about changes in gay rights. After reading the anti Obama rants of Aravosis for a long time I find him to be rather predictable.
I expect that I will be looked upon as being homophobic or worse for questioning the boycott. Bloggers like Aravosis and Dan Savage are not often questioned from those on the left, but I simply disagree. What I see is high handed and counterproductive grandstanding, personal score settling and actions that can do real harm to the long term agenda of both gays and progressives. I'm reasonably sure most lefties will more then willingly jump on the boycott bandwagon. I would hope you'd think for yourself on the wisdom of this ploy.
I assure you I believe that gay rights are paramount and certainly something that the Obama administration needs to vigorously address. But I also think that this type of action hurts all Democrats and gives the enemies of the party fatter to attack the liberals in general and influence the future of votes by moderates. Much of the responsibility for the problem is also misdirected as the responsibility of the President or his administration when action by the Congress is certainly part of the any equation or action on the gay concerns that Aravosis lists. Obama can not arbitrarily undo most of these policies just because he wish it where so. He must build a consensus and he must work with the members of Congress and citizens.
As I have pointed out before at length the gay community has to realize that there are priority when one governs a nation such as ours at this troubling time in our history. Furthermore, one should have to look no farther then to the results of the recent gay civil rights ballot issues here in Washington and in Maine. In Washington more than 47% of voters oppose the ballot issue. In Maine a gay marriage issue outright failed after it was rejected by just over 50% of the voters. Whether right or wrongly the outcome in Maine, a State known for its independence, and the voting from Washington represents nearly half of the people in both States who we know are not sufficiently convinced that gay rights are important or even needed. This is unfortunate but also revealing in what is says about the political power that will have to be harnessed whenever you bring about change on issues that involve the hot button issue of gay rights. Progressive realize that it’s wrong to oppose gay rights but politically it is also necessary to get a majority of people to agree with you before you can actually implement the needed changes.
The other bit of reality needed here is a question of priorities. Should the need for reform on gay issues supersede and risk progress on the other major issue of the day including such things as health care reform or the war in Afghanistan, Iraq or the economy? Sure peoples rights are important but you must also have the political power to make such significant change. Demanding it or wishing it were so will not work if you don’t have the votes or support of the moderates and blue dog conservative law makers.
- But won’t your pledge hurt Democrats?
- But if you don’t give money to the DNC, won’t that help elect Republicans who are even worse on gay issues, and other issues Democrats care about?
- You have to admit, gay rights is controversial – wouldn’t it be political suicide for Democrats to push gay rights? No matter how disappointed you are, aren’t Democrats still better than Republicans?
- President Obama has only been in office less than a year, why the rush?
- But aren’t there bigger priorities than gay rights for the Democrats to deal with, like health care and the economy?