While the Gays Were Distracted…

October 28, 2007 at 8:25 am 8 comments

While LGBT activists and bloggers were up in arms and screaming bloody murder over the Obama campaign inclusion of ex-gay re-closeted and anti-gay gospel singer Donnie McClurkin at a campaign event in South Carolina, anti-gay judge Leslie Southwick was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

While it may be necessary to point out to the Obama campaign that McClurkin’s presence is insulting and not fitting with Barack’s message of a new kind of politics, its far more important to remain focused on what’s going to have the bigger impact on our fight for LGBT civil rights.

As Libby Post points in an op ed on PageOneQ:

Unfortunately, our myopic perspective may just leave us with a federal judiciary that will have a much more negative impact on our future than whether or not Donnie McClurkin sings Obama’s praises in the south.

The confirmation of Leslie Southwick is just one more notch in the belt of the neo-conservative mission of making a strict constructionist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution the rule rather than the exception.

This effort didn’t start with Southwick’s nomination. It’s been going on for decades. Former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Bill Bradley detailed how well the conservative right has laid a foundation for its political sea change in a March 30, 2005 New York Times op ed piece entitled, A Party Inverted.

Bradley explained that in the 1970’s and 80’s, the Republican Party and their neo-conservative brethren built a strong base of foundations and think tanks to support their candidates and their socially conservative initiatives. The goal was to change the face of our elected officials from those who represent the people to those who represent their interests—all done with a folksy populism that fooled the electorate into thinking they were voting for the guy or girl next door. The down home, aw shucks, I’m just a regular guy persona of George Bush during the 2000 election was the cynical electoral culmination of this political tom foolery.

This isn’t the first time that LGBT activists have allowed themselves to miss the larger vision of the equality while mesmerized by a single tree. A perfect example is the groundswell of grassroots organizing that came into being after the House leadership said that gender identity would be removed from ENDA because it lacked the votes for passage. Where was that kind of interest and passion when it really would have made a difference? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced last December that she would be holding hearings and a vote on the trans-inclusive ENDA and rather than mount an intense grassroots lobbying effort then, many activists and some of the national organizations could not be bothered.

If we are ever going to move forward politically, we are going to have be smarter, more effective and less willing to allow ourselves to be distracted by seemingly urgent, but ultimately unimportant distractions.


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Is Bill O’Reilly Gay? White Right Cracking Up?

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. fitnessfortheoccasion  |  October 29, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    I think the Obama scuffle was important. We who support equality just need to keep a more equal eye (ba-da-bing!) on the various challenges that crop up, and try not to let important ones like bigoted judges slip through the cracks.

  • 2. wordsseldomsaid  |  October 29, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    thank GOD for jduges with morality…

    may we get many more like southwick!!!

  • 3. fitnessfortheoccasion  |  October 29, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    And the thing is you are completely devoid of morality. All you have is hate.

    You can’t slop noble words like morality over the ethical abyss that is homophobia and expect anything other than laughter.

  • 4. lealdaza  |  October 29, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    I’d just like to point out how incredibly stupid wordsseldomsaid is.

    GOD is all in caps–clearly she (I’m guessing she is a she) was typing her response when at the height of some PRAISE JESUS, speaking in tongues type of exercise. Can’t you just see her press the caps lock button and type God like her shit didn’t’ stink?

    And why is she thanking “GOD” for the “jduges” with morality? What the hell are jduges anyway? Some right wing, bigoted form of a judge?

    She doesn’t capitalize the S in Southwick and then goes on to add three exclamation marks the way a horny teenager would when sending an “I LOVE YOU!!!” to her pimply object of affection.

    What a stupid, stupid woman. We should pity her. God bless her!

  • 5. Eric  |  October 29, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    Michael—You know I love you & your blog, but the real issue here is that Democrats lacked the backbone to do the right thing here (bottling this nomination up). No amount of pressure from the gay community would have changed that–the progressive groups were laser-focused on this nomination. Dems failed us on this one.


  • 6. Michael Crawford  |  October 29, 2007 at 10:05 pm


    I agree that the Dems lacked the backbone to bottle up Southwick’s nomination, but that does not negate the LGBT communities responsibility to put pressure on them to do so. Holding Obama accountable for the McClurkin drama is may have seemed urgent, but in the larger scheme of things Southwick’s confirmation will have a much bigger impact on our civil rights.

  • 7. Heather  |  October 30, 2007 at 8:06 am

    Actually I followed the Southwick confirmation closely, and wrote my congressman daily to ask them not to confirm Southwick. So did my friends. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I’m not the only gay person who wrote congress about this issue. And at the same time it is equally important to point out what Obama was doing as well. I just can’t wait until some one is electable in this country with out throwing me or any one else under the bus to get there. Perhaps one day I won’t be a second class citizain, and actually get all the benifts from all the obligations I have in this country.

  • 8. Walt  |  December 2, 2007 at 11:16 pm

    wordsseldomsaid is either a woman or a closet homosexual. In either case, he/she is a moron.


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